15.6.17

Samothrace | Walk with me

"Walk with me" to restore the cultural paths of Samothrace – the unique island that combines fabulous nature with a cultural heritage!

What makes two non-profit organizations and a team of people volunteer to benefit a whole island in North Aegean in Greece. 

Samothrace, is widely known as the place of origin of the Nike of Samothrace, the famous statue in the Louvre. The campaign Samothrace | Walk with me aspires to make the island of “Nike” known as a cultural and hiking destination and place it again in the international tourism map, by implementing the program “Greek Paths of Culture”.


Greek Paths of Culture is an award winning initiative by ELLINIKI ETAIRIA t Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage (ELLET) aiming to give new life to paths of particular natural beauty and historical importance all over Greece. For Samothrace, this is more than just hiking project. It is an opportunity to make its story known, help the local community and attract people around the world to visit the island.

Our team is supporting this project without any profit for the volunteers involved. Our only motive is to assist with a long-lasting effect in the social and economic development of the people of Samothrace.

The idea  

When the Louvre completed the overwhelming restoration of Nike, the Victory of Samothrace, an idea was conceived by the Hellenic Cultural Center (CCHEL) of Paris - to connect the famous statue with its place of origin, the island of Samothrace!

Samothrace is an island in the north Aegean of just 178 square kilometers and less than 3000 habitants. The luscious nature surrounds cultural heritage, religion, mysteries, hydrotherapy, gastronomy and each path that will be restored will reveal its unique scenery and history.  

The name of Samothrace has its origin from the Greek word samos, that means “high place next to the coast” according to Herodotus. Indeed, the mountain Saos (1611m.) is the highest peak in Aegean after the mountains of Crete and Evia. Countless paths inside the mountain pass through rich waterfalls and natural pools, healing springs, prehistoric settlements, Genoa castles and byzantine churches. The 80% of the island is part of the European NATURA 2000 network the high biodiversity and the endemic species of the island are along with the cultural heritage, facts of its uniqueness.

Samothrace has once attracted important personalities of the ancient world, like Philip II and Olimpiada, parents of Alexander “The Great”, who were initiated to the Kavirian Mysteries ceremonies that took place at the Temple of the Great Gods. The Kavirian Mysteries were above race, age, sex and wealth and their multicultural character was what made the island famous, besides its natural beauty and great energy.  

 The local community and the volunteers along with your support will be able to reconstruct the cultural paths of Samothrace and give visitors the opportunity for a unique hiking experience.

First steps  

In 2014, after the restoration, the production of the documentary Samothrace by the CCHEL came to life. Locals as well as people who live on the island because they fell in love with it, like myself, and told their stories. This film depicts why a huge mountain in the middle of the sea is so special for the people who live on it. 

Walk with me  

Almost at the same period, the Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage (ELLET) and the Municipality of Samothrace joined CCHEL’s cause and decided to implement the Greek Paths of Culture – Samothrace | Walk with me initiative.  

Members of the Mountaineering Club of Samothrace and locals, guided the researchers of ELLET through the mountain SAOS and showed them some paths. Now the study, with 8 paths around the island, is completed ready to be implemented. This is an old dream for the inhabitants of Samothrace who want to take care of their mountain and show the visitors its beauty in a safe way. The Municipality will assure that maintenance of the paths is organized in viable and sustainable manner.

That’s why we need your collaboration! To make it happen!  

Along with many volunteers, we will revive those 8 main paths and a few secondary routes, roughly marked already by the goats that live free in the mountain.  

Βefore start hiking one will know the category, duration, difficulty, distance, if there is water or not and every detail about the path. Samothrace’s mountain is like the sea - you should not face it without knowing where you are going.   

Some of the paths begin or finish at Therma village, where the thermal springs are! These springs have been used from the ancient time and offer therapeutic effects. A hiking activity ending with a healing bath, can be a luxury deeply appreciated.  

Other routes start or finish at Chora, the 10th century traditional stone village, built amphitheatrically in a way that all houses have sunlight. Narrow streets, little shops, traditional cafes and small taverns with the most delicious local recipes can also be the end of a great hike.  

In total the eight routes, including the European E6 route, are 62 km and we are positive that hikers will really find these routes an experience not to be missed.

The program seeks the amount of 60.000€ to be used for:  

Project Research, design study  
Management and follow-up of the process
Signposting that includes metal signs for directions and cultural information 
Assurance of safe passages at difficult parts of the route 
Creation of map 
Transportation costs of materials
The project will be implemented with the help of the Municipality of Samothrace and volunteers, who love the island and wish to be part of a significant positive change for it.  

The international promotion of this program will be a great new opportunity to attract visitors to discover natural Greek beauty, local products and a different island life style in a healthy, eco-friendly way.  

We hope that Samothrace | Walk with me will restore some of the glory that Samothrace once had! Help us support a big cause for a small island!


Contributors

French Embassy in Greece

Friends of Louvre 

French Institute of Athens  

French Institute of Thessaloniki

French School of Athens  

Bonjour Athenes magazine  

Blue Magazine Aegean Airlines  

Emory University  

Clarity | Content & Communication  

Serafim Trahanis  

Alexandros Papachristoforou

Friends of the Centre Culturel Hellenic in Athens  

Association “Sustainable Samothrace” 

Samothrace’s Mountaineering Club 

Ethnological Museum of Thrace

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