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Greece

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Here under Greece, you will find travel information classified by city or regions of Greece, as well as general information.

Greece

Welcome to Greece, the country of archaeology, History, Olympic Games, moussaka and sirtaki. In addition to these main characteristics, Greece is also very popular thanks to its large diversity of activities and landscapes.

The country is located in Southern Europe, in the extreme south end of the Balkan Peninsula. The Hellenic Republic (Elliniki Dimokratia in Greek) has a population of 10.6 million, with more than 3 million residing in Athens, the capital. The country has a total area of 131,957 square kilometres, split into three geographical entities: Continental Greece, the Peninsula of Peloponnesus and 2000 islands. The 2000 islands represent one fifth of the total area. On the northern border lie Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and the European part of Turkey. On the west lies the Adriatic Sea and on the east lies the Aegean Sea. Most of the islands are located in the Aegean Sea, except Crete and Corfu, which are respectively located in the Mediterranean / Cretan sea and the Adriatic sea.



The Peloponnesus peninsula is located in the southern part of Greece. It is separated from the mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth. The northern mainland geography is dissected by high mountains that extend southwards towards a landscape of fertile plains, pine-forested uplands and craggy, scrub-covered foothills. At the opposite, on the Cyclades, on the Aegean Sea, it is very dry during the summer but the wind called “meltem” gives an impression of coolness.

The highest point is Mount Olympus at 2917m. It is not only the highest point, but was first a sacred mountain. It was the home of the Twelve Olympians, the principal gods and goddesses of Greek mythology.



Greece’s civilization dates back to 4000 years BC. At this period, numerous military and naval expeditions left from continental Greece to explore the Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts, from the Atlantic Sea to the Caucasus Mou ntains. In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great conquered an important part of the world and hellenized it. As centuries passed, the country was settled by the Roman and the Byzantine Empires until the 15th century, when the Ottoman conquered it. Greece stayed submissive to the ottoman yoke until 1828, the year of its independence. It took over a century to recover all its territories.

Thanks to this historical wealth, Greece is one of the most interesting countries for its archaeology. If you go to Athens, you really have to go to its heights to visit the Acropolis, the “sacred rock” of the capital, and its temples: the Erechtheion, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Propylaea and the most famous, the Parthenon. This one is the characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization. Built between 447 and 438 BC, it was dedicated to Athena Parthenos, the patron goodness of Athens. In 1987, the Acropolis was inscribed to the World Heritage by UNESCO.

Greece is also the country where the Olympic Games were born. The first edition was held in 776 BC and they took place every four years in Olympia. For the first edition, only one race (the sprint) was run. But later, we could see appear the discus and javelin throw, broad jumping, and wrestling. The Olympic Games were held for more than 1,000 years. They were then abolished by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius in 394 A.D. Thanks to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the modern Olympic Games were reborn in 1896 in Athens to promote understanding and friendship between nations. In 2004, the Greek capital hosted once again the XXVIII Olympiad. It was the occasion for the country, one of the poorest in the European Union, to prove it was able to bear such a huge event, with all the obligations and the constraints it brings.

Once you are in Greece, take great delight in tasting the local food. For every meal, go to different taverns and taste all the typical dishes. You will appreciate the “tzatziki”, a kind of yogurt mixed with garlic, olive oil and cucumber or the “moussaka”, an eggplant gratin cooked with lamb meat. For the dessert, you can’t miss the “baklava”, a biscuit cooked with butter, honey, cinnamon, almond and sugar. Very good but very sweet! Wash down with a glass of “ouzo”, an aniseed-flavoured drink and then, you are ready to dance the “sirtaki”, the Greek folklore. Listening to the music, you will travel through the oriental influences and feel the happiness, the lightness and the melancholy of an engaging and deep people.

by Flore Merlin

Next: Athens










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