When you think of going on holiday, nothing 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 world’s 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 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, and it might not be of major benefit to your holiday plans. Still, it might give you some extra insight into the country in which you plan to spend your holidays.
The official language of Greece is naturally enough Greek. Although English is not officially a language in the tourist zones and many cities, you will be wonderful getting by without 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 language’s development into its modern form. You may notice on your holiday’s local dialects that are solely oral and do not have any written form, don’t panic, however, as this won’t affect you and is just a trait among the development of the Greek language.
One of the major draws to Greece for many visitors is Greece’s incredible history and its impact on the wider world. The most impactful and important period of Greek culture was the classical period, when city-states developed in the region, developing the foundations of Western civilization, democracy, and governance.
The two most important city-states were Athens and Sparta. Along with other smaller areas, these two developed in culture, art, philosophy, architecture, and almost all facets of modern life. Many of the architectural and cultural monuments you will discover dotted Greece in this period were built, from the Acropolis in Athens to the street of Rhodes Island.
With such a varied and interesting history, you will see a mix of influences on Greek society. There were then periods of Roman, Byzantine, ottoman, and finally, Nazi Germany influenced the development of Greek culture into what it is today. This, along with all the sights, tours, and museums you can visit, will keep you occupied as you learn Greece’s history 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 kilometers, due to its numerous islands, which are about 2000. The coastlines are affected by three different seas, the Aegean, the 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, and the highest peak is Mount Olympus. This provides an abundance of outdoor activities 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 offer. Due to the country’s unique formation, many flora and fauna are native, making your excursions into the wilderness more exciting. There will be a lot to see that you cannot discover anywhere else in the world. It is a country unique to others; even the plants are different.
Greece’s mainland is split into six regions, and the rest comprises the many islands in the country. In each of these, you will find unique characteristics in the areas, some of which are spread between regions; these can be mountain ranges or national parks. Crete is the largest and one of the most popular islands in Greek’s huge collection of islands to visit.
Religion is hugely important in Greek culture, with over 98% identifying as Orthodox Christians. Outside of Russia, only Greece has a population with such a high number of Orthodox Christians.
Dating from the Byzantine period, the Orthodox grew and became separate from the roman catholic church due to disputes between Rome and Constantinople. Greece was central to the debate, and its religious leaders disagreed. Due to the church’s attempts to maintain Greek culture during different periods of occupation, it maintained its popularity and strength among the Greek people, thus preserving its cultural status. Although the church and state are separate, the church still holds great importance in society and 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 go there on a trip or holiday. Many people are surprised at the diversity in the region, so hopefully, this article gives you a better understanding of what to expect.