Greece is a country of over 11 million people, spread across the mainland on the Balkan Peninsula and thousands of islands sitting in the Ionian and Aegean Seas. The national capital is Athens, which amongst other things is famed for being one of the oldest cities in the world. When most people think of Greece they picture ancient architecture, azure blue water, party islands and olives. It’s all true, but there’s a whole lot more to the place than that!
Greece is home to some of the most remarkable and well known buildings on the planet, such as the Partheon and Panatheniac Stadium, plus it’s where you’ll find famed islands like Mykonos and Corfu, known for their nightlife and stunning coastal scenery. And yes, there’s no denying that olives are abundant across the country, as is fantastic food like spanakopita, moussaka and bougatsa to name just a few of the local delicacies. However if you take the time to dig a bit deeper and explore the culture, towns and dramatic landscapes a little more, you’ll soon discover it would take several lifetimes to really appreciate what Greece has to offer.
Being at the far south-east of Europe, Greece has always been a melting pot of cultures. To the northwest you have Europe, head south and you’re in Africa and just a short hop to the east is Asia. This has brought with it influences from every corner of the globe, which in turn has also meant for the proliferation of Greek culture to other countries. Some of these cultural elements have shaped the world we live in today. For example, democracy has its origins in ancient Greece, many of our mathematic rules were conceived by early Greek minds like Pythagoras and Euclid, and the greatest sporting event on the planet – the Olympics – started in the 8th century BC in Olympia, Greece.
With a history spanning thousands of years and such a rich and diverse culture, it’s no wonder there’s so much to see, do, taste, hear and learn about Greece.
Here are some interesting facts about Greece:
– Ancient Greeks invented theatre. Only men and boys were permitted to act and most cities had a playhouse or theatre
– The highest mountain in Greece is Mount Olympus (2,918m)
– Chariot racing was an event in the ancient Olympics
– The national anthem of Greece is known as the ‘Hymn to Liberty’
– The city with the largest Greek population outside of Greece is Melbourne, Australia
– Greece is the third largest producer of olives in the world, behind Spain and Italy
– Greece has approximately half the length of coastline of Australia