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When you think of going on holidays noting conjures up a more fun image than a luxury greek vacation. A country with a long and celebrated history, incredible weather, over 2000 beautiful islands and beautiful natural landscapes. Here you can spend the day amongst some of the worlds, most famous historical buildings and then catch a ferry to a beautiful island in which you can search for private beaches and party the night away, Greece sure does live up to the brochure holiday that you read about before booking a flight. With all the sights, beaches and sun to enjoy you might forget to look up other facts about the country you are going to visit.
For that reason, we have come up with a list of facts and information about Greece and Greek culture that you may have overlooked or never considered, it might not be of major benefit to your holiday plans, but it might just give you some extra insight into the country you plan on spending your holidays.
The official language of Greece is naturally enough Greek. Although English is not officially a language in the tourist zones and many of the cities you will be completely fine getting by without needing to use a translator. The earliest recorded written Greek text dates to the 8th century B.C.
Two stone tablets found on the Greek island of Crete are the first examples, from these tablets, researchers have studied the development of the language into its modern form. You may notice on your holiday’s local dialects that are solely oral in nature and do not have any written form, don’t panic however as this won’t affect you and is simply just a trait among the development of Greek language.
One of the major draws to Greece for many of its visitors is the incredible history of Greece and its impact on the wider world. The most impactful and important period of Greek culture is known as the classical period when city-states developed in the region, developing the foundations of western civilisation, democracy and governance.
The two most important city-states were Athens and Sparta. These two areas along with other smaller areas developed in culture, art philosophy, architecture and almost all other facets of modern life. It is in this period that many of the architectural and cultural monuments you will discover dotted all of Greece was built, from the Acropolis in Athens to the street of Rhodes island.
There were then periods of Roman, Byzantine, ottoman and finally Nazi Germany influences on the development of Greek culture into what it is today. With such a varied and interesting history, you will see a mix of influences on Greek society. This along with all the sights, tours and museums you can visit will keep you occupied as you learn the history of Greece if it is something you plan to do.
Greece is in the Balkan peninsula and has the longest coastline in Europe stretching over 13,000 kilometres, this is due to its numerous islands of which there are about 2000. The coastlines are affected by three different seas, the Aegean, Ionian and the Mediterranean. With this coastline and weather conditions, you won’t be short of many beaches to look out for on your visit.
Alternatively, the country is also very mountainous, the highest peak is Mount Olympus. This provides an abundance of outdoor activities that you can get up to while there, from trekking to mountain climbing and everything in between. Be sure to check out the many national parks and what they have to offer also. Due to the unique formation of the country, there are many flora and fauna that is native to the country making your excursions into the wilderness that more exciting as there will be a lot to see that you cannot discover anywhere else in the world. It really is a country completely unique to others, even the plants are different.
Greece’s mainland is split into six regions and the rest is made up of the many islands in the country. In each of these, you will find unique characteristics in the areas some of which spread between regions, this can be mountain ranges to national parks. Crete is the largest and one of the most popular islands in the Greeks huge collection of islands to visit.
Religion is hugely important in Greek culture with over 98% of people identifying themselves as Orthodox Christians. Outside of Russian, only Greece has a population with such a high number of Orthodox Christians.
Dating from the Byzantine period orthodox grew and become separate from the roman catholic church due to disputes between leaders in Rome and Constantinople. Greece happened to be in the centre of the dispute and its religious leaders sided with the latter. Due to the churches attempts to maintain Greek culture during different periods of occupation, it maintained its popularity and strength among the Greek people thus preserving its status in Greek culture. Although the church and state are separate, the church still holds great importance on great society and within politics.
These are just some facts to give you an understanding of Greek history, culture and society and what to expect on a visit if you decide to go there on a trip or holidays. Many people are surprised at the diversity in the region so hopefully, this article gives you a better understanding of what to expect.