There is no doubt that 2014 was an eventful year for Greece. Earthquakes, terrorists, and historic archaeological discoveries were just some of this year’s most significant moments for the country. Here’s a list of the 10 most significant moments of this year.
Chistodoulos Xeros Escape
Christodoulos Xeros convicted member of the terrorist organization November 17, escaped custody on January 7, 2014 after been granted leave to visit his family. He reappeared two weeks later, on January 20, with a two page manifesto and video posted on Athens Indymedia. Since then Greek police believe that he has been involved with another terrorist group called Cells of Fire, while he appears to have participated in a bank bombing that took place in Athens on April 2014.
On Sunday, January 26, 2014 a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit the island of Cephalonia. The shocks were also felt in Athens and as far away as Karditsa and Larissa. Numerous aftershocks followed, with the strongest measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale. Although the strong earthquake that hit the island did not cause any injuries, the aftershocks caused major problems to Cephalonia’s infrastructure. Furthermore, seven people were injured, while thousands of residents were forced to stay with relatives or in ships sent to be used as temporary housing.
Reopening of Parthenon Marbles Debate
On Saturday February 8, 2014 at the Berlin Film Festival during a press conference for his film “The Monuments Men,” Hollywood actor George Clooney urged the UK to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. “I think that is a good idea. I think that would be a very fair and very nice thing. Yeah, I think it is the right thing to do,” he said. The Marbles were removed from Acropolis between 1801 and 1812 by Lord Elgin. Clooney’s statement helped make the Parthenon Marbles debate known around the world, while his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin-Clooney has offered legal support to Greece.
World Cup 2014
The Greek national football team arrived in Brazil this summer in order to take the World Cup home. Even though they were not able to win first place the Greek team managed to reach the Quarterfinals, playing against Costa Rica. Despite the players’ best efforts Costa Rica’s defensive efforts took them to the penalty shootout where they converted all penalties. Claudio Ranieri will be replacing Fernando Santos as coach of the Greek national team in order to help them in the Euro 2016 qualifying rounds.
Twenty-six Golden Dawn members are currently in jail, awaiting trial. In 2013, after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, Greek authorities started arresting Golden Dawn members and MPs with the charges of participating in a criminal organization. The neo-nazi party’s MPs were stripped of their immunity in order to be arrested. Some of the Golden Dawn members and MPs who were arrested in 2014 were: Giorgos Germenis, Stathis Boukouras, Panayiotis Iliopoulos, Ilias Kasidiaris, while Eleni Zaroulia and Nikos Michos have been put under house arrest.
Nikos Maziotis Arrest
On July 16, 2014 known terrorist Nikos Maziotis was arrested after a shootout with Greek Police in Monastiraki, central Athens. Four people were injured during the shootout, two tourists, a police officer and Nikos Maziotis who sustained a gunshot to his upper arm. Before his arrest, the terrorist had been wanted by Greek Police for participating in several terrorist attacks and bank robberies since 2012. Maziotis was the leader of a terrorist group called Revolutionary Struggle. At least two of the group’s hideouts were discovered after Maziotis’ arrest.
Amphipolis Tomb Discovery
On August 11, 2014, archaeologists revealed their discoveries at the tomb of Amphipolis to the public. While excavating Casta Hill, in northern Greece, archaeologists came upon an ancient royal tomb from the era of Alexander the Great. Over the next few months many discoveries were revealed such as the two Sphinxes guarding the tomb’s door and the two Caryatids that were inside the tomb. At the moment, the person that was buried in the tomb has been found and a DNA sample is being analyzed in order to determine who he/she might have been.
Menis Koumandareas Murder
Famous Greek writer Menis Koumandareas was found murdered on Saturday, December 6, 2014 in his home in the neighborhood of Kypseli, Athens. According to police the reason behind his murder was robbery, while it is possible that the 83-year-old writer knew the perpetrator. Menis Koumandareas was born in Athens in 1931. He wrote numerous books and earned several awards for his prose.
Nikos Romanos Hunger Strike
Nikos Romanos started a hunger strike on November 10, because Greek authorities refused to give him educational furlough so that he could attend on-campus courses at the technical university where he was admitted after passing the Pan-hellenic exams. Romanos who is currently serving a 15-year-and-11-month sentence for armed bank robbery ended his hunger strike after 31 days when the Greek Parliament voted on a new amendment that allows him to attend university courses under electronic supervision.
Ferry on Fire near Corfu
A ferry carrying 411 passengers and 55 crew caught fire during its Greece to Italy route on Sunday, December 28.
The Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic, which belongs to the Greek ferry line ANEK, sailing from Patras in western Greece to the Italian port of Ancona, was 33 nautical miles off the small island of Othonoi when it sent a distress signal.
The number of deaths resulting from the burning ferry-boat “Norman Atlantic” has reached 11 while there are several still missing.