Greece

Category: Resorts » International » Europe | Author: biker | Views: 4216 | 28-05-2012, 00:26
Greece

Official name: Hellenic Republic;

Сapital of Greece: Athens;

Area of Greece: 132,000 sq. km.;

Geographical location of Greece : the south-east of Europe;

Climate: Mediterranean;

Population: 11 million people;

The biggest cities: Athens, Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Patras, Heraklion, Peristeri;

Ethnic groups: Greek 98%, Turkish 1%, Albanians, Armenians and Vlachs = 1%;

Official language of Greece: Greek;

Religion of Greece : Orthodox - 98%;

Currency of Greece: Euro;

Internet-domain: .gr;

Telephone code: +30;

Local Time: UTC +2 (in summer +3).

 

 

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Greece

Flag of Greece

Greece

Map of Greece 

Greece

Coat of arms of Greece 

 

Information about Greece 

Greece is one of the most visited countries in the world. No wonder everyone would like to take a trip to the origins of the ancient civilization, to feel the atmosphere of myths and fearless heroes, to touch the ruins of ancient temples, which are known from the school history course. Greece also attracts tourists with its beautiful nature - the alternation of rocky mountains with broad valleys, numerous picturesque islands, straits and cozy coves. The level of tourism industry is at the highest level with reasonable price. 

 

Greece Greece Greece

The geographical position of Greece

Greece is situated in south-eastern Europe, in the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula. Greece borders with Albania, Macedonia (the former Republic of Yugoslav), Bulgaria and Turkey. It is washed with the Mediterranean, Ionian and Aegean Seas. It consists of the mainland (Attica, Peloponnese, Central Greece, Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace), and number of islands (the islands of the Ionian and Aegean seas). In total, it has more than 2,000 islands, which occupy nearly 20% of the territory. Mountains (mostly of medium high) take the fourth part of the territory. The highest point is the Mount Olympus (2917 m.). Plains dominate in the west coast and on the Peloponnesus. The longest river is Alyakmon (300 km). The large lakes are Trihonis, Volvi and Vegoritis.

Photos of Greece

Greece Greece Greece
Greece Greece Greece

 

The climate of Greece

Greece has Mediterranean climate: in summer it is hot and in winter there are heavy rains. The best time to travel - the end of March - mid-June, early September - the end of November.

 

Flora and fauna of Greece

The flora of Greece is unique and diverse. Forests (mainly coniferous and deciduous) occupy about 44% of the area, many of them concentrated in northern part , in the mountains of Thrace, Macedonia and Epirus. On the territory of the country you can see many tropical plants, including date palms. The hallmark of Greece is an olive tree. Greek olives belong to the best in the world. There are many wild flowers in Greece. Especially it is beautiful in spring when the valleys and mountain slopes are covered with colorful flower carpet of anemone, gladiolus, cyclamen, lilies, irises, tulips, etc. In Greece there are many national parks: Olympus, Parnassus, Ichi, Prespa, Vikos-Aoos, Parnifa and Samaria (Crete).
In Greece you can find wild boars, ducks, rabbits, badgers and porcupines.


Larger animals can be seen in the mountains: mountain goats, brown bears, wolves and lynxes. Many animal species listed as endangered, including the monk seal and the Mediterranean Sea turtle. In Greece there are many reptiles: snakes and lizards. The seas are full of fish and shellfish.


Greece Greece Greece
Greece Greece Greece
Greece Greece Greece
Greece Greece Greece

 

History of Greece 

Greece has very rich and interesting history, as one of the oldest civilizations in the world has flourished on its territory. The history of modern Greece must be considered in two areas: the history of the continental area and the history of the island Crete before Mycenaean conquest. In 2700 BC the mighty Minoan civilization (King Minos - semi-legendary ruler of Crete) developed in Crete. Cretans - Minoans possessed a significant part of the Mediterranean coast (including the ancient Hellas). From this fact we can see that there is some truth in the legend that the Athenians had annually to send their young boys and girls as tribute to Crete for the Minotaur. Between 1525 and 1500 a terrible earthquake destroyed Crete and nearby islands. Weakened state was easily attacked by the Mycenaean (proto Greek) civilization.

According to historical sources, the population of mainland Greece began around 4000 years ago and the first people were Pelasgians. At the beginning of the second millennium, they were attacked by proto-Greek tribes (ancestors of the Greeks). Later the powerful Mycenaean civilization flourished in the territory of Greece. Mycenaeans built many cities of the ancient Hellas; their capital was the city of Mycenae. No wonder that nowadays in the vicinity of the modern small town of Mykonos, concentrating so big number of ruins of ancient palaces and tombs, burial places of Mycenaean kings. Mycenaean period is characterized by many wars including the Trojan War, which weakened so much the once-powerful civilizations that it was not able to resist the invasion of Dorian tribes. The period of the Dorians is known in history as Dark Ages, as the culture of the Dorians was at the lower level, and they even did not have writing. The restoring of culture began in the late 18th - 17th centuries BC, during this period  the immortal works  "Iliad" and "Odyssey" by Homer were written, also at this period begins the colonization of new territories (the Black Sea coast, Italy, Sicily and Libya). At the same time   the fragmentation of the country started. Between 700 - 500 years BC the system polis (city-states system) was established. Power in the city belonged not to the kings, but to the assembly of the elders (mostly the wealthiest citizens). Nevertheless, we can assume that it was the birth of democracy. The most powerful city-polis was Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Phoebe. Naturally, the competitions between the cities appeared which caused the weakness of civilization. After 146 BC Rome and later Byzantine Empire conquered Greece. Since the beginning of the second century AD until the 19th century, Greece was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. In 1821, Greece started a war for its independence and in 1829 it was proclaimed the Greek kingdom. During the next 150 years, Greece experienced monarchy, a military coup, student demonstrations and repression. In 1975 the Constitution of Hellenic Republic was adopted. Nowadays, Greece is a member of the Euro Union.
Greece Greece Greece

 

Culture of Greece 

Greece is the cradle of the world's cultural heritage. Numerous monuments and ruins witness of powerful ancient civilization. Ancient Greek culture includes poetry, drama. philosophical and historical treasures. Who does not know the great ancient philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle? The modern literature, art, architecture and democracy are based on the Greek culture. Greece gave the world the immortal "Iliad" by Homer, Plato and Socrates, as well as the Olympic Games. The traditional crafts such as embroidery, weaving and production of tapestries have been preserved up to our days. The Greek language belongs to the oldest in the world. It has been spoken about 4,000 years, and the Greek alphabet has the 3,000 years history.
Greece Greece Greece
Greece Greece Greece
Greece Greece Greece
Where to go in Greece
  • Athens – is the main tourism city of Greece, the birthplace of classical Greek civilization. The main attraction and the hallmark of the city is the Acropolis and the Parthenon temple. In the vicinity of the Acropolis there is the Temple of Nica Apteros, the theater of Herodes Atticus and the Theater of Dionysus, where the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides were staged. In the Archaeological Museum you can see the masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture. We also recommend you to visit the temple of Athena, the ruins of the temple Olimpeon, an ancient area of the Agora, Plaka (the historic center of Athens), the Hill Likabett with the Chapel of George, as well as numerous museums: the National Archaeological Museum, Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, National Art Gallery, the Byzantine Museum and other.
  • Thessaloniki - the capital of Greek Macedonia, founded in 314 BC. To the main attractions belong the temples of St. Dmitri and St. Sophia, as well as unique excavation of the ancient palace of the Roman ruler Galerius. In the vicinity of the city there is unique medieval monk complex of Meteora, situated on the steep cliffs. It is the cradle and the centre of Orthodox monks. Monasteries are known for their collections of icons, old manuscripts and art objects.
  • Olympia - a city located in the northwest of Peloponnese. The Olympic Games in honor of the god Zeus were held here in ancient time. Unfortunately, the city had a tragic fate: in 426 AD it was burned, and in 522 and 551 years earthquakes destroyed all the surviving buildings. Today you can see the remains of the sanctuary of Pelops, the temples of Hera, Zeus and 12 treasures. Visit the archaeological museum. With the restoring of the Olympic Games (1896) the Olympic flame is again lit here in an ancient temple.
  • Fokine (a few miles from Athens) - the most visited sites: Delphi (the navel of the earth), the ancient city of Amfissa and Galaxidi. Visit the famous temple of Apollo, theater, stadium, museum, bath in the water of Castalian source (it is believed that this water has a rejuvenating effect).
  • Mycenae - a fortress in the northern part of the Peloponnese, the ancient capital of the Mycenaean civilization. No wonder that around of the modern small town of Mykonos, concentrating so many ruins of ancient palaces and tombs. The most famous sights are the "Lion Gate", the tomb Aganemnona and the royal palace.
  • Epidaurus (eastern Peloponnese) – it is very interesting to see the architectural complex  dedicated to the god of healing and son of Apollo  Asclepius and the stone amphitheater for 1400 seats , which is famous for its excellent acoustics.
  • Island of Crete – the dream island where all the ancient myths come alive. There is the Samaria Gorge here, the longest and picturesque in Europe (14 km.). It has also more than 4,700 caves and grottoes; maybe in one of these caves lived a legendary monster Minotaur. According to the legend a little Zeus was born and spent his childhood here. The main attraction of the island are the excavations of the palace of Knossos, also visit the Valley Lasithi, where you can see  the manufacturing of the  olive oil of superior quality and the mountain monastery of the 14th century. The tourism infrastructure is well-developed on the island. 
  • Island of  Corfu - greets tourists with its pristine bays, lagoons, nature reserve with wild animals and mountain picturesque fishing villages.
  • Island of Skiathos - the National Marine Park with monk seals and other marine animals is located here.
  • Island of Lesbos - attracts tourists with its mild climate and mineral springs.
  • Island of Rhodes (Island of the Romantics) – is famous for the ruins of the Colossus of Rhodes (one of the seven wonders of the world). Also on the island you can see about 3,000 other statues. We recommend you also to visit the Grand Master's Palace, which contains the famous mosaic of Medusa Gorgon.
  • Island of Suntory – the  island has volcanic origin, is known for its beautiful nature, clean sea, golden beaches, picturesque towns and villages, many windmills and white ensemble of houses.
    Also, the island is famous for its excellent local wine.
  • Mykonos Island - a popular holiday destination for young people. There are many cafes, restaurants and discos there. It is also famous for its beaches for nudists.

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What to do in Greece

 

  1. Beach Holidays

    Clean Sea, sandy beaches and sunny days create perfect conditions for beach holiday. But it is important to know that the most of the beaches belong to the municipalities, so the using of sun beds and parasols costs € 4 per day.

    The best beaches are located on the peninsula of Halkidiki (Kassandra and Sithonia), Katerini Paralia, Loutraki, Vouliagmeni, as well as on islands Crete, Corfu, Lesbos, Rhodes, etc. It should be noted that all the beaches of Greece are clean and the water is so clear and transparent that the swimming with mask and flippers will be great enjoyment.

  2. Tours - Greece is the cradle of ancient civilizations in the world, so it has a big concentration of unique historical and architectural monuments.  Athens, Thessaloniki, Mycenae, Olympia and the islands of Crete and Rhodes are especially interesting. See "where to go and what to visit".

  3. Water Sports

    Windsurfing
    . The world`s centre of Windsurfing is the island of Rhodes. It has also the oldest windsurfing center, where you can rent equipment and take professional lessons.
    Yachting. The numerous islands of Greece and the calm water offer an unforgettable trip on a yacht (yacht hired for the day costs about 300 euros a day).
    Diving. The coastal waters of Greece have variety of marine life, and keep many secrets of ancient shipwrecks. But do not forget that for the lifting and removal of the ancient values yu can be sentenced to two years of prison.
    Popular dive sites:
    South-East coast of Athens;
    Island of Santorini;
    Reef Monastery - divers have been  feeding  the fish for years. Therefore, a little bread will attract hundreds of fish that will eat out of your hands;
    Rock Kolovri – according to Greek mythology, the famous ship of Odysseus has been  transformed here into a rock. The Depth is from 25 meters to 80 meters;
    Rock Bride (Rock of the Bridge) - the depth is about 25 meters. Among the corals of different shapes and colors you can see a large number of fish protein (squirrelfish), groupers, moray eels, octopus, lobster, tuna, swordfish, shrimp, and sometimes barakkud;
    Island of Crete - the depth is about 30 meters. There are many caves with lobsters, stingrays, moray eels, octopuses and other underwater animals there.
  4. Shoping - Greece is famous for cheap and quality natural furs. The city of Kastoria is one of the leading European centers for the production of high quality fur products.
  5. Health and Beauty Tourism

    Greece has the perfect conditions for health tourism: sea climate, solar UV, sea water, rich in salts and trace elements and medical mud. Many resorts are famous for their mineral springs:
    Lautraki - health resort town. Local sources help in the treatment of heart, digestive system, liver and renal failure and urolithiasis diseases.
    Kamena Vourla - the famous spa resort. It has rare radioactive springs. The nervous system diseases are well treated here.
    Edipsos has more than 80 springs. Temperature of them ranging from 28 C to 86 C.
  6. Skiing

    Parnassus is the largest and well-equipped ski resort. The height of skating is 1600 - 2300 meters, the total length of trails - 14 km.
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Cuisine of Greece


 

Greek cuisine, as well as the entire Mediterranean is a really delicious and healthful. The main feature of Greek cuisine is the fact that almost all the dishes are cooked in olive oil. Meat and vegetable are cooked with lots of spices, giving a special piquancy to the dish. One of the main ingredients is seafood: calamari, shrimp, mussels, octopus, lobsters... Fried or baked fish is served with olive oil and lemon juice.

Everywhere in Greece you can find "Souvlaki" (kebab in pita bread) and "Spanakopita" (a pie with spinach and cheese). The popular hot dish is "Mouzakas" (baked eggplant with meat and sauce). "Horiatika salad" (Greek salad) which consists of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese and olives is served everywhere. 400 years of Turkish rule has been reflected on the culinary customs of Greece. In restaurants you can find many Turkish dishes such as kebabs or "Ttsatsiki" (octopus in a sauce of yogurt and cucumber).

 

Greece Greece Greece
Greece Greece Greece

 

What to buy in Greece

  • Fur and leather products (prices are at least twice cheaper than in Turkey);
  • Orthodox icons which are made in the Byzantine style;
  • Natural sponges;
  • Olive oil;
  • Wine made in Santarem;
  • Local perfume - soap, cream... (based on olive oil and sold everywhere - in the souvenir shops and supermarkets);
  • Woven sandals, sewed by skilled hands of Greek artists (they look  very good and practical in hot weather).

 

Greece Greece Greece
Greece Greece Greece

 

Interesting facts about Greece

  • Greece is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, political science, drama and western literature.
  • Greece is the third largest producer of olives in the world. It is interesting that the many cultivated olive trees have been growing since ancient times. Some of them were planted in the thirteenth century, and continue to give fruit.
  • More than two thousand islands belong to Greece, but only 170 of them inhabited.
  • Modern textbooks on mathematics are based on the works of Greek mathematicians such as Pythagoras, Euclid, Archimedes, and Apollo.
  • The Greek is a nation that consumes the most cheese.
  • The first cookery book was written in Greece in the IV century BC.
  • The national anthem of Greece has 158 verses.
  • An interesting fact is that thousands of words of the most languages in the world came from the Greek. English has the most Greek words.
  • By the way, shaking the head in Greek means "yes" and nodding - "no". The sign “ok” means homosexual.
  • Plato was not only a philosopher but also an Olympic champion. Twice he won the pankration competition - a mixture of boxing and wrestling without rules.
  • The word "Barbarian" has originated from ancient Greece. They called in such way all foreigners who did not speak Greek (incomprehensible speech of foreigners poured into the sounds of "bar-bar" for Greeks).

 

Conclusions 

Greece is a perfect destination for tourists. It attracts a huge number of visitors with its historical heritage and beautiful nature. Greece is the cradle of ancient civilization and heroic myths. It has a high concentration of historical monuments. Beautiful landscapes and mild climate have also contributed to the development of tourism. The small village on the slopes of mountains, houses between olive groves, the picturesque shores of bays - all this creates an unique atmosphere. The country attracts tourists with its interesting excursion program, relatively low prices and high level of service.

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Tags: Greece, Hellenic Republic


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