The city of Thessalonica realised it’s partnership with the historical city of Calcutta on the 21 January 2005. The protocol of the Twinning of these two great cities was signed by the mayor of Thessalonica, Mr. Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, and the mayor of Calcutta, Subrata Mookerjee, during the celebratory meeting of the city council of Thessalonica after the respective introduction of the chairman of the consort, Mr. Sotiris Kapetanopoulos, and the greetings of both mayors. Right in the middle of the hall, the Indian mayor handed over the city key of Calcutta to Mr. Papageorgopoulos and the mayor of Thessalonica, in turn, donated to the mayor of Calcutta a golden miniature copy of the shrine of Philip 2nd. Afterwards, the two mayors mentioned the historical implications and meaning of this event. Mr. Papageorgopoulos pointed out that the Twinning mentally unites two cities, which are separated by thousands of kilometres, but nevertheless share many common features. The city of Calcutta constitutes the largest harbour of India, but also Thessalonica can be proud of the primacy of its harbour. Also, both cities are cities of universities, with thousands of students, dozens of museums, cultural areas, theatres and music halls. As Mr. Papageorgopoulos characteristically underlined:
“The aim of the Twinning of our cities is the establishment and the continuous development of a bond of sincere and mutual collaboration and solidarity and has already roots, but also a bright future, as we wish to set up specific and high aims for subjects such as culture, science and spirituality, as well as for trade and commerce and business dexterity. We have committed ourselves to supporting one another in future and to become the pioneers who will open new ways towards mutual development in every respect. We will lay the way with regard to the service of the local societies, as more international highways of collaboration will open in future.”
Later on the mayor of Calcutta, Mr. Mookerjee, rose to speak and mentioned the important history of Thessalonica and the potentially of collaboration between the two cities regarding culture, sports, public health and other sectors. As well he declares his delight that the Sanskrit language is being taught in the University of Macedonia, signalizing that Greek history is being taught in the University of Calcutta. Mr. Mookerjee spoke of his wish that the Twinning will establish its roots and that it may have a positive effect as well on the next generation. The ceremony was attended by members of the administration and the city council, representatives of the authorities of the city, and by the honorary consul for India in Thessalonica, Mrs. Yvonne Alexandridou. The Indian mayor and his escort of five visited the archaeological and Byzantine museum, laid a garland at the Indian cemetery of Thessalonica and paid a visit to the archaeological area of Verginas.
On the occasion of the Twinning, the outstanding Indian painter Chadin Das was invited together with his wife and exhibited his works at the ancient archaeological museum (Geni Tzami) together with the painter Lazaros Pontos of Thessalonica, and presented to the art-lovers of Thessalonica a taste of the glamorous culture of his distant country.
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