Fun Facts About Greece
- Greece isn’t really the name of the country – In fact, the country’s official name is the Hellenic Republic, and also Hellas, which is the original word for Greece.
- Greeks (or else Hellenes) speak Greek (or else Hellenic).
- Greece’s capital is Athens (Αθήνα) and it is one of the oldest cities in the whole world.
- Τhe Parthenon was built to honor Athena the Greek goddess associated with wisdom, strategy, and warfare. Athena was regarded as the patron and protectress of various cities across ancient Greece, particularly the city of Athens, from which she most likely received her name.
- Most Greeks under 40 will know English.
- 98% of the total population are ethnic Greeks and the rest of the population are minorities, mainly from Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, and North Macedonia.
- In Greece, people celebrate the “name day” of the saint that bears their name.
- Greece is the birthplace of the Olympic games. The first Olympic Games took place in 776 B.C. The first Olympic champion was a Greek cook named Coroebus who won the sprint race. Just before the Olympics started, all city-states agreed to a temporary truce if in war.
- Greek has been spoken for more than 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest languages in the world! The Greek Language has also influenced the English language and other languages with several thousands of words.
- Santa Claus is Greek. Saint Nicholas was a rich Greek from that used to donate his money to the poor.
- Greece’s currency, the drachma, was 2,650 years old and Europe’s oldest currency. The drachma was replaced with the Euro in 2002.
- Greeks love to dance and have more than 63 folk dances.
- The National Anthem Hymn to Liberty (’Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν’’ ‘Imnos is tin Eleftheri’an) contains 158 verses. Greece and Cyprus share the same National Anthem.
- Greece has more islands than you can count. It’s estimated that Greece has from 1,200 to 6,000 islands, depending on the minimum size to take into account. But only between 166 and 227 are inhabited. The largest of the Greek islands is Crete (Κρήτη – Cri’ti) which is at the southern edge of the Aegean Sea.
- Greece is one of the sunniest countries in the world. The whole country has more than 250 days of sun on average. Some islands even see around 300 days of sun per year! (Don’t forget to take with you sun cream)
- Tzatziki, Feta Cheese, Moussaka, Gyros, Spanakopita, Souvlaki, Greek Salad, Calamari, Kleftiko and many more dishes are all Greek foods that you should try when you visit Greece.
- Mount Olympus is the highest point in Greece, and it was believed to be the home of the Olympian Gods and Goddesses – Zeus (Δίας ή Ζεύς), Hera (Ήρα), Poseidon (Ποσειδώνας), Hades (Άδης ή Πλούτωνας), Athena (Αθηνά), Apollo (Απόλλωνας), Artemis (Άρτεμις), Ares (Άρης), Aphrodite (Αφροδίτη), Hephaestus (Ήφαιστος), Hermes (Ερμής), Dionysus (Διόνυσος) – Demeter (Δήμητρα), Estia (Εστία). Mount Olympus rises to 9,750 feet. If you’re the mountaineering type, you can visit Olympus and even reach its peaks.
- Greece has one of the largest varieties of wildlife in all of Europe.
- The Greek flag is a flag with nine horizontal stripes, with a white cross on a blue square field in canton. The used colors in the flag are blue, white. According to popular tradition, the nine stripes represent the nine syllables of the phrase Freedom of Death (Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος – Eleftheri’a e Tha’natos), the five blue stripes for the syllables Freedom (“Ελευθερία) and the four white stripes or Death (ή Θάνατος). Blue and white, symbolizes the colours of the Greek sky and sea.
- One of the history’s greatest warriors and leaders of all time was Greek – Alexander the Great (Μέγας Αλέξανδρος – Me’gas Ale’ksandros)
- Some of the greatest philosophers came from Ancient Greece. – Heraclitus (Ἡράκλειτος, Herakleitos – The greatest of all, in my opinion), Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. (Πυθαγόρας, Σωκράτης, Πλάτων καί Αριστοτέλης)
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Myth about the name of Athens
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