Plácido Domingo and Androulla Vassiliou starred the reception at the National Observatory of Athens

As darkness fell over Athens, Plácido Domingo, the eminent opera singer and President of Europa Nostra, and Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, starred the reception at the National Observatory of Athens on 15 June. They both praised the exceptional restoration of this 1842 Neoclassic building, which won a European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in 2010 , and addressed some poetic and meaningful messages to the audience of 400 people.

The National Observatory of Athens, Athens GREECE

The National Observatory of Athens, Athens GREECE.

“If you look up to the heavens from this magical place, you will once again realise how many stars light up the night sky. All these small and large stars make me think of the thousands and thousands of amazing heritage sites across Europe. Just like the stars, they light up their local communities and Europe as a whole. They contribute to the sense of beauty and wonder in the everyday life of all Europeans”, said Plácido Domingo. “The National Observatory of Athens is a perfect symbol to define a Europe proud and confident because of the huge wealth of its culture, science, creativity and innovation”, he stressed.

“When Baron Sina built his observatory in 1842, he could have scarcely imagined that it would become the modern, multifunctional space it is today, complete with a museum, a library, several research institutes, and more. The National Observatory of Athens is indeed a perfect example of how cultural heritage can be adapted to today’s needs and keep on living”, added Commissioner Vassiliou.

The President of Europa Nostra also seized the opportunity to pay tribute to his predecessor, HRH the Prince Consort of Denmark. “We could not have found a more suitable place for our first encounter, here in Athens, in front of a superb Neoclassical building designed by a famous Danish architect, Theophil Hanzen. Many thanks for being with us for the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Europa Nostra”, affirmed Plácido Domingo.

This reception was kindly hosted by the Mariolopoulos-Kanaginis Foundation for the Environmental Sciences, a member organisation of Europa Nostra, and was honoured by the attendance of its President, Professor Christos Zerefos, and the President of the National Observatory of Athens, Professor Kanaris Tsinganos, who made inspiring speeches.

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