The old-world charm of Greece remains undefeated even with the modern infrastructure being built within its borders. Its landscape it dotted with iconic temples and a plethora of statues that depict the world- famous Greek Mythology. Aside from its historical wonders, the country is also known for its top- class museums, vivacious music, gastronomic delights, majestic sceneries and some of the best settings for outdoor activities, such as volcano hiking, rock climbing and kite-surfing. Greece is indeed a magnet for adventure, art and architecture. If you happen to thrive in locations that offer an experience of the old and new, then the country would be more than enough to arrest your being.
Important and Interesting Facts about Greece
- Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. It also shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the northeast.
- The country consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands (including the Dodecanese and Cyclades), Thrace, Crete, and the Ionian Islands.
- The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676km (8,498 mi) in length, featuring a vast number of islands (approximately 1,400, of which 227 are inhabited).
- Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest, at 2,917m (9,570 ft).
- Greece enjoys more than 250 days of sunshine—or 3,000 sunny hours—a year.
- Greece has one of the richest varieties of wildlife in Europe, including 116 species of mammals, 18 of amphibians, 59 of reptiles, 240 of bird, and 107 of fish. About half of the endemic mammal species are in danger of becoming extinct.
- In ancient times Delphi was the most important site in ancient Greek religion, home to the sanctuary and oracle of Apollo. The ancient theatre of Delphi was built on a hill giving spectators a view of the entire sanctuary and the spectacular landscape below. It was originally built in the 4th and could seat 5,000 spectators. Today it is one of the top tourist attractions in Greece.
- As one of the oldest cities in the world, Athens is a city of ancient wonders and archeological sites as well as a modern day metropolis with a unique Mediterranean culture.
- The ancient sanctuary of Olympia stands at the foot of Mt Kronos. The original site of the Olympic games, Olympia is one of Greece’s most important archeological sites.
- Greek islands and mainland are a hiker’s paradise with numbered routes, and well-organised systems of trails.
- Rhodes has been inhabited since the Stone Age
- The city of Rhodes (the capital of the island of Rhodes) is the most popular location for tourists in Greece. The city is famous for housing one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Colossus of Rhodes (from which the word “colossal” is derived). This gigantic 98-foot (303-meter) statue of the god Helios, whose legs straddled the harbor, was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 B.C.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Greece
- No one in Greece can choose to not vote. Voting is required by law for every citizen who is 18 or older.
- About 7% of all the marble produced in the world comes from Greece.
- Greece has more international airports than most countries because so many foreign tourists want to visit.
- The word “barbarian” comes from Greek barbaroi, which means people who don’t speak Greek and therefore sound like they’re saying “bar-bar-bar-bar.”
- Greece is the leading producer of sea sponges.
- Greek ships make up 70% of the European Union’s total merchant fleet. According to Greek law, 75% of a ship’s crew must be Greek.
- Greece has more archaeological museums than any other country in the world.
- Greece is currently the most sexually active country in the world. (Durex Global Sex Survey)
- Greece has the highest smoking rates in Europe.
- Greece came third in Europe, when asking “Do you believe in God” — 83% said yes.
- Greeks do not wave with an open hand. In fact, it is considered an insult to show the palm of he hand with the fingers extended. Greeks wave with the palm closed.
- After giving a compliment, Greeks make a puff of breath through pursed lips, as if spitting. This is meant to protect the person receiving the compliment from the “evil eye.”
Historical and Cultural Facts About Greece
- The first (proto-) Greek-speaking tribes, are generally thought to have arrived in the Greek mainland between the late 3rd and the first half of the 2nd millennium BC – probably between 1900 and 1600 BC. When the Mycenaeans invaded, the area was inhabited by various non-Greek-speaking, indigenous pre-Greek people, who practiced agriculture as they had done since the 7th millennium BC.
- When the Roman Empire split in two in A.D. 285, the eastern half, including Greece, became known as the Byzantine Empire. In 1453 A.D., Greece fell to the Ottoman Empire. Greece wouldn’t achieve independence until 1829.
- In ancient times, Greece was the birthplace of Western culture.Modern democracies owe a debt to Greek beliefs in government by the people, trial by jury, and equality under the law. The ancient Greeks pioneered in many fields that rely on systematic thought, including biology, geometry, history, philosophy, physics and mathematics.
- Theatre was born in Greece. The city-state of Classical Athens, which became a significant cultural, political, and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was institutionalised as part of a festival called the Dionysia, which honoured the god Dionysus. Tragedy (late 6th century BC), comedy (486 BC), and the satyr play were the three dramatic genres to emerge there.
- The first historian is considered to be the Greek writer Herodotus (c. 484-425 B.C.), the author of the first great book of history on the Greco-Persian Wars.i Herodotus’ book is a major symbol in the novel The English Patient.
- For the ancient Greeks, the Olympic games existed since mythical times, but no definitive time of their inauguration can be identified with any certainty. The first Olympiad was held in 776 BCE, and this is the year that provides the first accurate chronology of Greek history. The Olympics were held every four years during the second (or possibly the first) full moon in August, and the festivities lasted five days.
- The ancient Greeks were a deeply religious people. They worshipped many gods whom they believed appeared in human form and yet were endowed with superhuman strength and ageless beauty.The Iliad and the Odyssey, our earliest surviving examples of Greek literature, record men’s interactions with various gods and goddesses whose characters and appearances underwent little change in the centuries that followed.
- Food in Ancient Greece consisted of grains, figs, wheat to make bread, barley, fruit, vegetables, breads, and cake. People in Ancient Greece also ate grapes, seafood of all kinds, and drank wine.
- Greek clothing was very simple. Men and women wore linen in the summer and wool in the winter. The ancient Greeks could buy cloth and clothes in the agora, the marketplace, but that was expensive. Most families made their own clothes, which were simple tunics and warm cloaks, made of linen or wool, dyed a bright color, or bleached white. Clothes were made by the mother, her daughters, and female slaves. They were often decorated to represent the city-state in which they lived. The ancient Greeks were very proud of their home city-state.
- Considered the most important holiday on Greek calendar and one of the richest in folklore, the celebration of Orthodox Easter (Pascha) is unique throughout Greece. From Crete to Macedonia, Easter customs become a herald of the spirit’s and nature’s rebirth, while Easter celebrations constitute a vivid aspect of the folk culture, rich in meaning and symbolism.
- Greeks are warm and hospitable. When meeting someone for the first time, they shake hands firmly, smile, and maintain direct eye contact. . Good friends often embrace; they may also kiss each other on each cheek. Male friends often slap each other’s arm at the shoulder.