For members of the older generation many of their names may still be familiar: the Angelica, the Phryni, the Minos. But even for those whose first visits to the Greek islands came long after these passenger ships were either decommissioned or sold to ply other routes across the globe, they cannot fail to capture the spirit of a rapidly developing Greece in the second half of the 20th century.
Passenger ships, of course, form a vital part of Greece’s transport infrastructure, linking the disparate islands of the Greek archipelago with the mainland. But at the same time, each ship has its own character, being far more ‘alive’ than any bridge or tunnel could ever be. In the story of Greece’s postwar development they are crucial actors, carriers of goods and people, vessels of hope and optimism.
Much of this history will be on display this summer in Ermoupoli, on the Cycladic island of Syros, at the exhibition “Greek Coastal Service 1945-1995”. Images will be featured of almost the entire fleet of 144 ships that once linked the islands with the port of Piraeus, offering a detailed look at the evolution of Greek coastal shipping. The exhibition begins with images of the handful of vessels to survive WWII and covers the period until 1995, after which passenger shipping companies were listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, marking the beginning of a new era. Click here for a gallery of some of the images.
The exhibition follows the release of the eponymous book by author and maritime historian George M. Foustanos, a leading authority in the field who was recently awarded by Piraeus’s Propeller Club for his contributions to the study of the history of Greek shipping. Many of the photographs featured in the exhibition were taken by Foustanos himself and are part of the collections of online maritime museum Greek Shipping Miracle.
The exhibition is being organized in collaboration with the Municipality of Syros.