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Identified for its idyllic islands, blue and white buildings, lovely seashores and lovely 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 also be well-known for introducing many issues to the world, together with democracy, medication, arithmetic and philosophy. A whole lot 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 the whole lot Greece is understood for, together with landmarks, produce and moments in historical past.
What’s Greece Identified For?
Greece is house 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. A lot of them may be reached instantly by ferry from Athens, and a few even have their very own airports.
Essentially 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 essential island chains to discover – the Cyclades, the Ionian islands, the Sporades, the Dodecanese, the Saronic Islands and the North Aegean Islands – you could possibly 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 historical monumental advanced that was devoted to classical Greek thought and artwork.
Notable buildings contained in the advanced embody the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia and the temple of Athena Nike. A lot of the monuments have been constructed within the fifth century BC below Pericles and have survived throughout centuries by means of 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Greece is understood for its fairly outdated cities with whitewashed buildings and painted blue doorways.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 well-liked within the Cyclades Islands, equivalent to 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 explanation why the homes are painted with these colours.
Homes have been initially painted with white limestone as a result of it had antibacterial qualities, which helped to disinfect properties and stop outbreaks of ailments equivalent to cholera. White can also be a cooling colour, so it will forestall properties from getting too scorching in the summertime warmth.
Doorways and shutters have been painted blue as a result of it was the most cost effective paint colour out there, and fishermen would use the paint left over from portray their boats.
Ouzo is mainly the native firewater in Greece. It’s an anise-flavored aperitif that comes from grapes and is usually 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 gained the unique rights to make use of the product identify ouzo, so it could 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 may be very sturdy, a bit like sambuca or raki.
Ouzo is normally served neat, with out ice, in a tubular, thick-bottomed glass referred to as a kanoakia. Typically individuals will add water to dilute it, which turns it a milky white colour.
Greece is known for producing feta cheese, which is well-liked everywhere in the world and is usually 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 smooth, crumbly texture, with no pores and skin. It’s particularly well-liked in Greek dishes equivalent to 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 usually served on a plate with fries, pita and salad.
You’ll additionally see plenty 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 a terrific late evening snack after the bars are closed!
Moussaka is a well-known Greek dish that accommodates 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 Twenties and also you’ll see it on virtually each menu in Greece.
Greece is house to Meteora, which is a powerful rock formation that hosts a big advanced of Japanese Orthodox monasteries. Positioned 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 identify means “lofty” or “elevated”.
Greeks are recognized for smashing plates at celebrations, significantly weddings. Initially plates have been smashed at funerals as a solution 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 medication to the western world, Greece additionally gave us the Olympic Video games.
The Historical Olympic Video games began in 776 BC and have been held each 4 years in Olympia. Athletes from Greek city-states would take part in a collection of athletic competitions and have been typically 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 below 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.
Historical Greeks cherished to inform myths and tales that featured deitites, heroes, monsters and varied mythological creatures. Widespread figures included gods like Zeus, Appollo and Poseidon, in addition to goddesses like Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis.
The myths have been used to clarify the origins of the world in addition to what individuals noticed round them. One well-liked delusion is Pandora’s Field, which tells the story of Pandora, the primary girl on Earth. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create her from clay, and gods bestowed her with varied qualities. Some gods gifted her intelligence, femininity and talent, whereas others made her deceitful, cussed and curious.
She was given a treasured field and was instructed to not open it. She wed a Titan referred to as Epimetheus and Zeus gave a treasured field as a marriage reward. He instructed them by no means to open the field in the event that they needed to dwell fortunately ever after, however ultimately Pandora’s curiosity obtained the higher of her.
She opened the field and out got here illness, starvation, ache, demise and different evils, which have 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.
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 referred to as the First Reason for observable phenomena, and recommended that the First Reason for existence was water.
His followers continued his research and initiated a type of purpose referred to as philosophy to clarify all pure phenomena and life occasions, with out resorting to mythological explanations.
The true watershed second although, got here with Socrates, who’s answerable for shifting the principle 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”.
Essentially the most notable Greek mathematician was Pythagoras, who developed the pythagorean theorem. In the event you studied arithmetic in class it’s doubtless you have 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.
When visiting Greece you’ll discover that the Greek alphabet appears to be like very completely different to the English alphabet, though highway indicators normally have each English and Greek.
The Greek alphabet has been in existence for the reason that 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
Positioned on the slopes of Mount Parnassus in mainland Greece, the Sanctuary of Delphi is an historical sanctuary that was house to the god Apollo and his prophesying priestess, the Pythia. At present the ruins are a well-liked vacationer attraction and many individuals go to as a day journey from Athens.
In historical instances, Delphi was the spiritual heart of Greece and it was referred to as the “navel of the world”. Growth of the sanctuary started within the eighth century BC and pilgrims from throughout Greece would go to the positioning to participate in a ritual and obtain an oracle from the Pythia.
Highlights of Delphi embody the Temple of Apollo and the traditional theater, which might accommodate round 4,500 spectators and offered a powerful view of your complete sanctuary and the valley under.
Olives & Olive Oil
Olive oil is an integral a part of Greek delicacies and Greece produces among the finest olive oil on the earth. 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 line with archaeologists, olive bushes have been first cultivated in Crete within the Early Minoean period. At present, olive bushes are discovered throughout Greece and the nation is without doubt one of the world’s largest olive oil exporters. Greece produces greater than 430,000 tons of olive oil every year, and round 75% of that’s Additional Virgin Olive Oil.
Birthplace of Democracy
Greece is understood for inventing democracy and Athens had the primary recognized democratic system on the earth. In 507 B.C. Athenian chief Cleisthenes launched political reforms referred to as demokratia, which meant “rule by the individuals”.
The political system lasted for less than two centuries and but it had profound results on the longer term governance of nations all over the world. It was completely different from modern-day democracy in that grownup male residents (no ladies or slaves) have been required to take an lively half in authorities.
Every year 500 residents have been chosen to serve within the authorities for a one 12 months time period. Throughout that 12 months they have been answerable for controlling the political course of and making new legal guidelines. When a brand new regulation was proposed, all of the residents of Athens had the fitting to vote on it at an meeting.
A Closing 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 really spectacular islands and picturesque cities.
In the event you’re planning your first go to to Greece, you may’t go mistaken with the traditional Athens-Mykonos-Santorini itinerary. Discover the acropolis and the parthenon in Athens, watch the solar go down over Oia in Santorini and absorb the solar on the seashores of Mykonos…it’s a visit you gained’t overlook!