by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS， May 12 (Xinhua) -- The creation of a "bridge" between the networks of ancient cities in Greece and China will greatly benefit both countries， said Mayor of Greece's historic Marathon City， Ilias Psinakis.
Talking to Xinhua during a recent interview in his office here， Psinakis said he sees a bright future for Greece and China through closer bilateral collaboration across all sectors of the economy and society.
Overlooking the starting point of the original marathon race course 42 km northeast of Athens， Psinakis spoke of his vision about the "rebirth" of Marathon City and Greece with the help of China and others.
"We represent two ancient civilizations...We can offer each other so much. Both countries and peoples will benefit from our closer cooperation in many fields，" he said.
The Greek mayor is to travel to Shanghai at the end of May to present to his Chinese counterparts the idea of bringing ancient cities closer together through sports events， cultural exchanges， tourism and business.
In a first step， starting this year for the Nanjing Marathon， a sacred flame will be lit at Marathon City and travel the world to cities hosting marathon races.
In 490 BC， according to legend， the Greek soldier Pheidippides ran nonstop to Athens to deliver the great news that Persians had been defeated in the Marathon Battle. Upon arriving， the messenger collapsed and died， inspiring the modern marathon race which has made Marathon City famous worldwide.
Psinakis， a successful celebrities manager and showman before his involvement with politics， intends to make the best use of the "international brand name of the marathon" and help in the economic recovery of debt-laden Greece， he said.
The "Marathon man，" as his supporters call him， has been waging a modern Marathon battle for the past two years since his election: breathing new life into the municipality， and Greece， which is suffering from a six-year debt crisis that brought the country to the brink of default.
Under his initiative， in March this year at the Acropolis museum was launched the modern Amphictyony of Ancient Greek Cities， reviving the alliance between cities in antiquity aimed to defend their common interest.
The modern Amphictyony aspires to become a bond linking Greek cities with a rich history and culture with other ancient cities across the globe， aiming to promote cultural heritage and tourism and opening the way for deeper international cooperation in education， health， technology， trade and other fields.
The Marathon mayor said he looked forward to cooperation between the newly-established modern Amphictyony of Ancient Greek Cities and similar networks of ancient cities in China.
"We need to connect the two networks and collaborate on every level. It will be beneficial for both sides，" Psinakis said， expressing confidence this new bridge would play an important role in the further development of Sino-Greek relations and Greece's rebirth.
He said attracting tourists was a major solution for the debt-ridden state. "This is our main weapon: the tourism industry. We do not have gold or petrol，" Psinakis said.
"However， we have friends who love Greece. Chinese people love Greece， they learn ancient Greek history at school， they respect our civilization and we respect their civilization，" he stressed.
Psinakis said he wanted to promote Marathon by highlighting the best features of the city and communicating them to the world. He dreams of rebuilding and passing to the next generations the paradise Greece he remembers from four decades ago when he was a young man.
"The economic crisis is here to stay for a long time. If we all try， and I am trying from the position I am in， we can make it happen，" he said.
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