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US Chief of Staff, EU Commissioner in Athens

European Commissioner for Energy Issues Guenther Oettinger arrived in Athens on Friday and will meet with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at 14.30 at the Maximos Mansion (government's headquarters).

Zincirli Mosque: An Ottoman Monument in Serres

The Zincirli Mosque, or Mosque of Chains, in the northern Greek town of Serres has been turned over for public, yet non-religious, use after nearly a century of neglect and dereliction.

The townspeople got their first glimpse of the unique architectural gem that since 1913 had only seen from the outside.

The Mosque became a lumber warehouse after the town's liberation in 1913, and served as an army depot during WW II, later becoming a municipal warehouse. Through the years of neglect plants began to grow even on the roof.

It later came to the attention of archaeologists that, however, moved at Greek civil service rates. Thirty years passed since the building was purchased in 1964 by the then ministry of state until the beginning of renovation works.

Most of the restoration was funded by the second EU Support Framework, but it was the townsfolk that pushed the work along, seeing the Ottoman monument as a part of the city's heritage.

The mosque is considered an excellent example of the architectural style influenced by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.

The mosque was opened to the public in an auspicious ceremony in the presence of officials from the culture ministry, archaeological authorities, and the periphery of Serres. The clergy was absent, having for years quietly resisted the renovation of a Muslim site, which some in the town so as a “Turkish throwback.”

Three thousand visitors paraded through the building in the first ten days, viewing the resplendent architectural gem and the exhibition of pictures from the town's past, before its liberation in 1913.

Premature Pensions in Check

A new circular is putting the brakes on premature pensions that allowed persons to leave work 5-12 years earlier, affecting 150,000 persons that have been successively insured by OAEE and other social security funds.

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