Reviving memories of its battle for independence from Ottoman Turkish rule 200 years ago, Greece is preparing to defy the coronavirus with bicentennial celebrations on Thursday that it hopes will mark a turning point after a very difficult decade.
Greece emerged from the biggest bailout in economic history in 2018 after years of painful austerity that drove it deep into poverty. One in two young Greeks was unemployed and more than half a million people left the country to find work abroad.
No sooner had the economy started to recover, than the coronavirus pandemic hit and Greece slipped back into recession.
However the conservative government, which announced the independence day celebrations as a sign that Greece was back soon after it came to power in 2019, is determined to press ahead, even if events have been scaled back sharply.
“Especially for young people, I believe such symbolic dates can really mark a break from the past,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said this week.