Culture And Education

Historically, Greek Catholicism was the first Christian religion whose missionaries contacted Estonians. The first Orthodox Church was built in Tartu in the 11th century. By 1920, 158 Orthodox churches had been built.

At the University of Tartu one can study Greek language and culture.

Since 1995, the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation in parallel with the Greek State Scholarship Foundation has granted scholarships and financial support for scientific research and to students of Greek culture at the post-graduate level. In addition, in the framework of the Erasmus higher education programme of the European Council, student exchange opportunities have been established between partner universities in Estonia and Greece: the University of Tartu in Estonia and Greece’s National University of Athens and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The first student exchange was conducted during the academic year 1999/2000 and tight student exchange between the two countries has continued.

Over 30 Greek works of literature have been translated into Estonian, among them books by Aesop, Homer, Paradisis, Plato, Sophocles, as well as Cavafy, Elytis, Karagatsis, Hadzi, and Assimakapoulos.

The Greek Estonian Cultural Society NGO was registered at the end of summer 2013.

Estonian musical events in Greece in recent years:
Estonian musicians Sigrid Kuulmann (violin), Aare Tammesalu (cello) and Marko Martin (piano) took part in the ninth piano festival “Around the Piano” in Parnassos Hall in 2013. The “Tallinn – Vienna – Athens in 80′ minutes” program was delivered in cooperation with Austrian Trio VanBeethoven Vienna. They played Franz Joseph Haydn’s, Ludwig van Beethoven’s, Sergei Rachmaninov’s and Erkki-Sven Tüür’s work.

In 2011, Hortus Musicus gave a concert on the island of Rhodes.

In 2010 the Estonia Boys’ Choir gave concerts in Athens, Larissa, Melivia, and at the Dimitria Festival in Thessaloniki; Villu Veski and Tiit Kalluste performed on the island of Naxos; the duo UMA (Robert Jürjendal and Aleksei Saks) in May in Thessaloniki, at the Monastery of St. John near Larissa, and at the Athens Jazz Festival (which was attended in 2008 by Jaak Sooäär and Tuule Kann); the Tobias String Quartet as well as Andres Uibo and Aare Tammesalu performed in Athens.
Performances in 2009 included Villu Veski and Tiit Kalluste’s project “Voices of the Nordic Islands” (5 concerts in Athens and northern Greece); the Tobias String Quartet; and Sofia Joons and Maarja Nuut.

In 2008 Tõnis Mägi and Kärt, Jaak, Ants and Mart Johanson performed in Athens.

In the summer of 2012 the dance group “Kihnumua” participated in the folklore festival held on the island of Lefkada.

Greek folk music ensembles are frequent guests at the international folklore festival Baltica. The Greek music group in Estonia, Zorbas, celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2010.

Estonian films have been successful at Greek film festivals. At the Thessaloniki Short Film Festival in 2010, Anu Aun received the cinematic achievement award for her short film “Vahetus”. In 2008, Veiko Õunpuu’s film “Sügisball” (“Autumn Ball”) participated in the 48th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, winning the prize for best director. At the first Corinth Film festival, which took place in October 2008, Andres Maimik and Rein Tolk’s film “Jan Uuspõld läheb Tartusse” (“Jan Uuspõld Goes to Tartu”) won the best actor prize.

Greek audiences have also seen Imbi Paju’s documentary “Sisters Across the Gulf of Finland” (2010), and in earlier years Sulev Keedus’s “Georgica”, Peeter Simm’s “Georg” and “Good Hands”, Liivo Niglas’s documentary film “Brigade”, and the animated films of Mait Laas, Ülo Pikkov, Janno Põldma, and Priit Pärn.

There has been a Greek film at the Black Nights Film Festival every year. In 2012 the Black Nights Film Festival included a focus on the best Greek films of the past few years and the lifetime achievement award was posthumously given to one of the most prominent European filmmakers Theo Angelopoulos (1936-2012).

There have also been many exhibits organised that include Estonian participation: in 2011 an exhibit of Estonian gloves was displayed in Larissa and an exhibit by Anneli Tammik, Kaire Rannik, Ketli Tiitsar, Kristi Paap, and Maria Valdma was held at the Ilias Lalaounis Jewellery Museum; in 2008 an exhibit of Estonian nature photos at the American Community School of Athens; in 2007 Kristi Paap participated in the international jewellery exhibition “Challenging the Cathelaine” in Athens; in 2004 simultaneously at the Museum of New Art in Pärnu and at the Frisiras Museum in Athens the double exhibition “God Becomes Man”, in which Greek as well as Estonian artists participated; in 2003 the photos of Aarne Maasik as well as Jaan Toomik, August Künnapu and Liina Siib’s project “Cinema – it’s a lie!”.