Greece is an interesting country, with a long history and traditions, the cradle of many sciences. And she seems to be even familiar from school history courses and famous ancient Greek myths. And according to the joking famous phrase that “everything is there.” But at the same time it turns out that reality is somewhat different from the ideas and superficial knowledge inspired by mythology. Upon learning interesting facts about the legendary Hellas, many will be surprised.
about the country
Greece has preserved centuries-old traditions and ancient history is highly valued.
This is confirmed by the following facts:
A favorite saying: “When other peoples were still climbing trees, the Greeks were already suffering from cholesterol.” Somewhat arrogantly, but at the same time fair: according to scientists, the Greek language is more than 4 thousand years old, and the written language is more than 3000 years old.
Amazingly, the Greeks supplied the besieged Turks with lead so that they would not destroy the most ancient monuments. It was during the war of independence with the Ottoman Empire. The Turks surrounded in the Acropolis began to extract lead from the elements of the oldest columns. To stop such vandalism, the Greek soldiers themselves began to supply bullet material to enemies. It is illogical, but revealing.
The word barbarian came from the Hellenes, who so contemptuously called the tribes that did not know their language. By the way, the population is still divided into Hellenids (indigenous people) and Pontians (ethnic emigrants from other countries).
This is the attitude to one’s own history and state. And now a little more about him:
- The territory consists of the mainland and 1 400 islands, of which 227 are inhabited, the most famous and visited are Rhodes, Crete, Thessaloniki.
- The population is 10.75 million people (of which 40% live in the capital Athens), while annually about 17 million tourists come, and the tourism business brings 16% of GDP to the treasury.
- Currently, the majority of the population is literate, knows at least 2 foreign languages (the school curriculum includes English and one more optional), and back in the 50s of the last century, many did not know how to read and write.
- Publicly available sources mention 3 or 5 seas washing the mainland and insular parts of the country. In fact, there are more of them. Only the Mediterranean Sea includes the Balearic, Tyrrhenian, Ionian, Adriatic, Ligurian, Aegean, Cyprus, Cretan, Libyan seas and Alboran. There are other “historical” seas, which are not indicated on modern maps. If we take into account all the inland seas that separate the islands from each other, then Greece can be considered the world leader in the number of seas washing it.
- Also, the country occupies a leading position in the import of olives (3rd place in the world), marble (7% of the world market) and European shipping (70% of EU ships, with most of the crew being Greeks).
- The terrain is mountainous (80% of the land is mountainous), there are no navigable rivers, the distance from any point in the country to the sea is no more than 140 km. There are 250 sunny days a year, which allows the use of alternative energy sources (there are no nuclear power plants here, and thermal power plants operate on coal mined by a quarry).
- From an architectural point of view, Greece is not only unique – it itself has the right to be called a historical and architectural monument. Various evidences of the former greatness are found literally at every step, in some cities – every 100 meters!
Found the oldest buildings and statues are carefully restored. So it was with the treasury of the Athenians in Delphi, its age dates back to the 7th century. BC e.
Another example: during the construction of the only metro in the capital, many ancient sculptures were found; after restoration, they decorated modern stations.
Interesting fact: the famous marble mementos from the Acropolis are actually a modern fake. They are specially scattered so that tourists can take the “ancient” stone for themselves. This is how they protect true historical values from attempts by souvenir lovers.
The Greek islands, coastlines and seas are very beautiful. And clean: the locals are sensitive to order in the streets, littering is not accepted here. The transport network is well developed: a record number of airports in the world, public (state) transport runs until 23-00, excellent roads (paid and free) and many taxis. True, their services, like gasoline, are very expensive. But you can hitchhike, and over long distances.
It is curious: the indigenous people practically do not follow the rules of the road, moreover, both drivers and pedestrians. But tourists are not forgiven for such violations. It also has the lowest crime rate in Europe, no homeless people, almost no beggars. Here the mobile phone forgotten in the cafe is returned, and on the coast you can safely leave things unattended and go swimming. And people are very sociable and benevolent, always ready to help tourists, and sincerely, and not out of “duty” to the guests.
Tradition and culture
When going on a trip, it is always useful to learn a little about the country you are going to. This will help you orient yourself and behave correctly. Even those who have not yet chosen the Greek coast for vacation will be interested in some facts:
The height of the tourist season is in the winter months, with carnivals taking place here from January to March, which may well compete with the Brazilian ones.
Greeks are very sociable, they can invite an unfamiliar person to visit. According to local traditions, this means friendship. To refuse such a visit is to offend the owner. Advice: be sure to take a watermelon or sweets with you, they don’t come here empty-handed.
Locals may be late for a meeting, cancel it literally 5 minutes before the appointed time, or fail to come to work, such forgetfulness and slowness is the norm here.
Tourists should be prepared for unusual opening hours: most supermarkets and shops close early (around 6 pm), in the evenings only small kiosks and cafes are open (mostly until midnight). They don’t work here at night and during siesta, and it is not accepted to make noise, otherwise you can expect the police to arrive.
Siesta lasts from 14-00 to 16-00, many shops are open only in the mornings or after lunch, on Sunday – a day off. It is not customary to disturb others after midnight, everyone is asleep, but they get up at about 5 am.
The Greeks speak loudly and actively gesticulate.
Interesting and useful fact: if a local nods, it means no. Consent is expressed by a sharp movement of the head back and the sound “ne”. And the well-known gesture “ok” means a hint of homosexual orientation and is offensive. By the way, locals can swear or argue quite loudly and emotionally, but there are practically no fights.
In Greece, they are very sensitive to the family: there are almost no divorces (according to statistics – no more than 5 per 1000 marriages), the older generation lives in families of children, interethnic marriages are not welcome. But in some moments the morals are very free: young people can live together for several years, and women are quite capable of making friends with their husband’s mistress. Marriages are concluded exclusively in the church, there are no registry offices.
99.9% of the population is baptized Orthodox. Baptism is generally one of the main holidays in the family. And all the closest relatives are considered a family, so festivities for 250 people are just a meeting of all relatives, this is normal. At the same time, all family members know the pedigree well.
About holidays: no one celebrates birthday, only name day (baptism day). Incredible: Children may not be given a name until christening day. And the surname of the newborn can be carried either by the father or by the mother (by agreement). When women marry, they do not change their last name.
It is interesting that in Greece everyone is “you”, even outsiders. Apparently this is another ancient heritage: in ancient times, even a slave to the emperor said “you”, so it was accepted. And acquaintances greet each other with two kisses on the cheeks, both women and men.
These are the cultural traditions in this country.
Studying interesting facts about Greece, it is impossible to do without describing the peculiarities of the national cuisine:
- Only here you can try a real Greek salad (its recipe differs significantly from the modification we are used to) and learn about 60 varieties of local cheese (this is the minimum, each island also has its own recipe).
- Tea is practically not served in Hellas, coffee is popular here, and they drink it in liters. The most commonly used alcoholic drinks are beer and the local variety of wine mixed with brandy – Metaxa.
- Meat is an obligatory part of the diet; beef, lamb, pork, chicken are served. Fish and seafood and snails are no less popular. And for lovers of fruits and sweets, this is paradise. Even in a cafe, dessert (like a glass of water) is served free of charge, as a bonus to the ordered dishes.
- Fast food is very popular: an analogue of shawarma in the Greek version and French fries. It should be noted that fast food is of excellent quality. There is an analogue of a buffet – a lot of fish and meat dishes with different sauces.
- There are taken 4 times a day: an early morning light breakfast, a second breakfast (actually a small snack), a hearty siesta lunch and a late dinner. Curiously, cooking at home is not particularly accepted: everyone prefers to spend time after work in cafes and restaurants.
It should be noted that the dishes served are delicious. Even local olives are much tastier: fresh, large, juicy. Interesting fact: the unique natural conditions significantly prolong the life of olive trees. Even those that were planted in the 13th century bear fruit here!
Informative about Hellas
Learning about Greece is interesting not only for adults, but also for children. Here are some facts you might be interested in:
This country is the ancestor of many sciences, for example, mathematics, philosophy, medicine. And Greek mythology is very interesting and informative.
Many words are borrowed from the Greek language. Here’s an example: the word colossal is a modified name for the Colossus of Rhodes, a very high (303 meters) statue of the god Helios.
Hellas is also the homeland of the Olympic Games and democracy.
In schools, after the end of the school year, textbooks are burned, it is customary to study only with new textbooks.
Most of the teachers in schools are men, this is an honorable profession.
The flora and fauna are very interesting and abundant here. And there are also many wild animals, some of which can only be found on the Greek islands (one of the salamander species, the Kri-kri mountain goat, some insects and plants).
Only on the island of Rhodes can you observe the rarest phenomenon – butterflies of different species, collected in one place as an incredible living collection. Their habitat is called the Valley of the Butterflies.
Many migratory birds winter on the islands.
The water in the seas is clean and transparent, you can watch the behavior of underwater inhabitants for hours.
It is better to enter the sea water in special swimming shoes, because you can find a prickly sea urchin near the coast. And while swimming, some fish can swim up and pinch the leg. It doesn’t hurt, but rather unexpected.
Only 10 facts about Greece, and how many interesting things have already been told to children! And such knowledge will not interfere with adults.