By Stella Tsolakidou of the Greek Reporter)
The trireme “Olympias”, a replica of the ancient warship that helped the ancient Greeks defeat the Persians in Salamis 2,500 years ago, is to go on display in London during the 2012 Olympic Games taking place in the city this summer.
This will be the ship’s second appearance in the British capital, following an exhibition held in 1993 to celebrate 2,500 years since the birth of democracy.
Afterwards, the ship will embark on a tour of the United States, organised by the company International Advantage Corporation in collaboration with the Hellenic Navy and the defence ministry.
The Navy General Staff announced said the company was carefully chosen through a lengthy evaluation process in order to ensure the necessary guarantees for such a tour.
Completed in July 1987, the “Olympias” is 37 metres long and has a 1.3-metre draught. Its construction was based on plans drawn up by British naval architect John. F. Coates and historian J. S. Morrison.
In the past, it has also been used in the 2004 Olympic Games torch relay to bring the Olympic Torch to Piraeus but, due to high maintenance costs, was put in dry dock on November 25, 2005 where it has remained ever since, technically as a part of the Battleship G. Averoff Naval Museum.
After appearing in London, the “Olympias” is scheduled to be transported to the United States, premiering with its arrival at historic York Town and beginning its tour in Norfolk and Jamestown, Virginia. It will also visit Annapolis in Maryland and then be the centerpiece of the US Navy’s 236th birthday celebration in Washington D.C. The final stop will be New York City, where the tour will finish with a send-off gala to be held on Veterans Day.
The ship’s tour – a collaboration between America and Greece – will portray the Trireme ’Olympias’ as a symbol of democracy and freedom, one of the major contributions of the Greek people to the world.