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Identified for its idyllic islands, blue and white buildings, lovely seashores and beautiful sunsets, Greece is without doubt one of the hottest locations to go to in Europe.

But it’s greater than only a vacationer vacation spot – Greece can be well-known for introducing many issues to the world, together with democracy, drugs, arithmetic and philosophy. Plenty of the world’s olive oil comes from Greece, and feta cheese is an unique product of the nation. 

On this article we’ll check out every thing Greece is understood for, together with landmarks, produce and moments in historical past.  

What’s Greece Identified For?

Greek Islands

Greece is dwelling to round 6,000 islands and islets, though solely 227 of them are inhabited. Every island has its personal identification and attraction, however typically the islands are famed for his or her picturesque cities, lovely seashores and glowing blue waters. Lots of them will be reached straight by ferry from Athens, and a few even have their very own airports. 

Probably the most well-known islands in Greece are in all probability Mykonos and Santorini (a part of the Cyclades islands), though there are lots of different islands to find. 

With six major island chains to discover – the Cyclades, the Ionian islands, the Sporades, the Dodecanese, the Saronic Islands and the North Aegean Islands – you might spend months island hopping in Greece and nonetheless not handle to see all of it. 

The Acropolis & The Parthenon

Constructed on a rocky outcrop above the town of Athens, The Acropolis is an historic monumental complicated that was devoted to classical Greek thought and artwork. 

Notable buildings contained in the complicated embrace the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia and the temple of Athena Nike. Many of the monuments had been constructed within the fifth century BC underneath Pericles and have survived throughout centuries by wars, bombardments, explosions, earthquakes, fires and different disasters. 

Blue and White Buildings

Greece is understood for its fairly outdated cities with whitewashed buildings and painted blue doorways. These colours are particularly widespread within the Cyclades Islands, reminiscent of Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Milos and Naxos. 

White and blue are the colours of the Greek flag, with white representing the sky and blue representing the ocean. However there are additionally sensible the reason why the homes are painted with these colours.  

Homes had been initially painted with white limestone as a result of it had antibacterial qualities, which helped to disinfect houses and forestall outbreaks of illnesses reminiscent of cholera. White can be a cooling shade, so it might stop houses from getting too sizzling in the summertime warmth. 

Doorways and shutters had been painted blue as a result of it was the most cost effective paint shade out there, and fishermen would use the paint left over from portray their boats. 

Ouzo

Ouzo is principally the native firewater in Greece. It’s an anise-flavored aperitif that comes from grapes and is commonly consumed after dinner. All through Greece you’ll discover ouzeries, the place ouzo is consumed alongside meze (small plates of meals).

Ouzo was first commercially distilled in 1856 and is solely produced by Greece and Cyprus. In 2006, the Greek authorities received the unique rights to make use of the product title ouzo, so it will possibly’t be made wherever else. 

This fiery drink is made out of the leftover remnants of wine manufacturing, and is usually distilled in copper pot stills. Its aniseed, black licorice taste could be very sturdy, a bit like sambuca or raki. 

Ouzo is normally served neat, with out ice, in a tubular, thick-bottomed glass known as a kanoakia. Typically folks will add water to dilute it, which turns it a milky white shade.

Feta Cheese

Greece is known for producing feta cheese, which is widespread everywhere in the world and is commonly crumbled on salads. This brined white cheese is made out of sheep’s milk or from a mix of sheep and goat’s milk. 

Feta is solely produced in Greece and has a mushy, crumbly texture, with no pores and skin. It’s particularly widespread in Greek dishes reminiscent of Greek salad and spinach and feta pie (Spanakopita). 

Souvlaki and Gyros

In tavernas throughout Greece you’ll see souvlaki on the menu, which consists of items of meat (normally pork, hen, beef or lamb) grilled on a skewer. Souvlaki is commonly served on a plate with fries, pita and salad. 

You’ll additionally see a number of takeaway spots promoting gyros, which include slices of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, served inside a pita bread with tomato, lettuce, onion, potato fries and tzatziki. Gyros are completely scrumptious and make for an amazing late evening snack after the bars are closed! 

Moussaka

Moussaka is a well-known Greek dish that incorporates layers of eggplant, potatoes and floor beef in a wealthy tomato sauce. The dish is topped off with creamy bechamel sauce and baked within the oven, forming the final word consolation dish. 

The fashionable model was initially created by the French-trained Greek chef Nikolaos Tselementes within the Nineteen Twenties and also you’ll see it on nearly each menu in Greece.

Meteora

Greece is dwelling to Meteora, which is an impressive rock formation that hosts a big complicated of Jap Orthodox monasteries. Situated on the Greek mainland near the village of Kastraki, Meteora options big rock pillars with six monasteries perched on prime of the sandstone cliffs.

This UNESCO World Heritage web site is without doubt one of the nation’s most well-known points of interest and its title means “lofty” or “elevated”. 

Smashing Plates

Greeks are recognized for smashing plates at celebrations, notably weddings. Initially plates had been smashed at funerals as a strategy to take care of loss, and the customized got here to sign each endings and beginnings. 

The Historical Olympic Video games

Along with contributing democracy, philosophy and drugs to the western world, Greece additionally gave us the Olympic Video games. 

The Historical Olympic Video games began in 776 BC and had been held each 4 years in Olympia. Athletes from Greek city-states would take part in a collection of athletic competitions and had been usually given olive leaf wreaths or crowns as prizes. 

The final recorded celebration of the video games was in AD 393 and it’s believed they got here to an finish underneath Theodosius II. The competitors was then resurrected a few years later within the type of the Trendy Olympic Video games, which first befell in Athens in 1896. 

Greek Mythology

Historical Greeks liked to inform myths and tales that featured deitites, heroes, monsters and numerous mythological creatures. Well-liked figures included gods like Zeus, Appollo and  Poseidon, in addition to goddesses like Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis. 

The myths had been used to elucidate the origins of the world in addition to what folks noticed round them. One widespread fable is Pandora’s Field, which tells the story of Pandora, the primary lady on Earth. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create her from clay, and gods bestowed her with numerous qualities. Some gods gifted her intelligence, femininity and ability, whereas others made her deceitful, cussed and curious.

She was given a treasured field and was advised to not open it. She wed a Titan known as Epimetheus and Zeus gave  a treasured field as a marriage present. He advised them by no means to open the field in the event that they needed to stay fortunately ever after, however ultimately Pandora’s curiosity acquired the higher of her.

She opened the field and out got here illness, starvation, ache, demise and different evils, which had been launched up on the world. She shortly closed the field and hope remained inside. The parable teaches us to withstand temptation and be pleased with what we’re given. 

Philosophy

Greece is known for producing many essential philosophers, together with Aristotle, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus. 

Historical Greek philosophy was first developed within the sixth century BC, when philosophers began to attempt to make sense of the world utilizing purpose. All of it started with Thales of Miletus, who got here up with a system known as the First Reason behind observable phenomena, and steered that the First Reason behind existence was water. 

His followers continued his research and initiated a type of purpose often called philosophy to elucidate all pure phenomena and life occasions, with out resorting to mythological explanations.

The actual watershed second although, got here with Socrates, who’s answerable for shifting the primary focus of philosophy from cosmology to ethics and morality. 

Arithmetic & The Pythagorean Theorem

Arithmetic as we all know it’s largely the results of research began by the Pythagoreans within the sixth century BC. They coined the time period arithmetic from the traditional Greek μάθημα (mathema), which implies “topic of instruction”. 

Probably the most notable Greek mathematician was Pythagoras, who developed the pythagorean theorem. Should you studied arithmetic in class it’s probably you had been taught this theorem: 

In any right-angle triangle the sq. of the longest aspect (the hypotenuse) is the same as the sum of the squares of the 2 different sides.

Greek Alphabet

When visiting Greece you’ll discover that the Greek alphabet appears to be like very completely different to the English alphabet, though street indicators normally have each English and Greek. 

The Greek alphabet has been in existence because the late ninth century or early eighth century BCE and is derived from the sooner Phoenician alphabet. It consists of 24 letters, that are ordered from alpha to omega:

Α α, Β β, Γ γ, Δ δ, Ε ε, Ζ ζ, Η η, Θ θ, Ι ι, Κ κ, Λ λ, Μ μ, Ν ν, Ξ ξ, Ο ο, Π π, Ρ ρ, Σ σ/ς, Τ τ, Υ υ, Φ φ, Χ χ, Ψ ψ, Ω ω.

Sanctuary of Delphi

Situated on the slopes of Mount Parnassus in mainland Greece, the Sanctuary of Delphi is an historic sanctuary that was dwelling to the god Apollo and his prophesying priestess, the Pythia. Right now the ruins are a preferred vacationer attraction and many individuals go to as a day journey from Athens. 

In historic occasions, Delphi was the spiritual middle of Greece and it was often called the “navel of the world”. Growth of the sanctuary started within the eighth century BC and pilgrims from throughout Greece would go to the location to participate in a ritual and obtain an oracle from the Pythia.

Highlights of Delphi embrace the Temple of Apollo and the traditional theater, which may accommodate round 4,500 spectators and offered an impressive view of your complete sanctuary and the valley beneath. 

Olives & Olive Oil

Olive oil is an integral a part of Greek delicacies and Greece produces a number of the greatest olive oil on the planet. Historical Greeks used olive oil for medicinal functions and in addition used it as a beauty to moisturize their pores and skin and hair. 

In response to archaeologists, olive bushes had been first cultivated in Crete within the Early Minoean period. Right now, olive bushes are discovered throughout Greece and the nation is without doubt one of the world’s greatest olive oil exporters. Greece produces greater than 430,000 tons of olive oil annually, and round 75% of that’s Further Virgin Olive Oil. 

Birthplace of Democracy

Greece is understood for inventing democracy and Athens had the primary recognized democratic system on the planet. In 507 B.C. Athenian chief Cleisthenes launched political reforms known as demokratia, which meant “rule by the folks”. 

The political system lasted for under two centuries and but it had profound results on the longer term governance of nations world wide. It was completely different from modern-day democracy in that grownup male residents (no girls or slaves) had been required to take an energetic half in authorities. 

Annually 500 residents had been chosen to serve within the authorities for a one 12 months time period. Throughout that 12 months they had been answerable for controlling the political course of and making new legal guidelines. When a brand new legislation was proposed, all of the residents of Athens had the correct to vote on it at an meeting.

A Ultimate Phrase…

Greece is a rustic with a really wealthy historical past and has definitely contributed many issues to the world. It’s additionally an extremely lovely vacation spot, with some actually spectacular islands and picturesque cities. 

Should you’re planning your first go to to Greece, you’ll be able to’t go improper with the basic Athens-Mykonos-Santorini itinerary. Discover the acropolis and the parthenon in Athens, watch the solar go down over Oia in Santorini and take in the solar on the seashores of Mykonos…it’s a visit you received’t neglect! 



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