Greece is one of the oldest civilizations in the world!
Here are 10 fascinating facts about Greece that you should know before your trip.
1. 3,000 years of the Greek language.
Hence, the Greek language is one of the oldest languages in Europe. It holds immense significance in the Western world’s history, literature, science, mathematics, and religion. Homer’s poems, including Iliad and Odyssey and Socrates’ Platonic dialogues were written in Greek. Even the New Testament of the Christian Bible was written in Koiné Greek.
2. Tourists galore!
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Tourism makes up 16% of Greece’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP.) Every year, approximately 16.5 million travelers stop by Greece. It’s more than Greece’s population of 10.75 million.
3. Island in the sun.
In Greece, there are more than 2,000 islands. Out of those, only 170 islands are populated with the largest island being Crete.
4. Blue notes.
You’ll see that many architecture in Greece are painted in turquoise blue, aka: kyanos. This is the most evident in the Greek islands. It derives from the ancient belief that the blue color keeps away evil spirits.
5. Go vote!
Voting is required by law for every Greek citizen who is 18+ years old. No one can opt out of voting.
6. Government corruption.
In 2009, government corruption cost Greece approximately $1 billion. Its credit rating is the lowest in the EU, which makes its national debt bigger than Greece’s own economy. Locals have been frustrated, leading to many riots and social unrest especially in Athens.
7. Family ties.
There are many retirement homes in Greece because grandparents typically live with their children’s families until they pass away. It’s also normal for young Greeks to live with their families until they marry and have their own families.
8. Burial ground.
Since the Greek Orthodox Church forbids cremation, after a person passes away, the body is always buried. Due to the shortage of land in Greek cemeteries, the body is unearthed five years after the burial. Then bones are washed with wine then placed in an ossuary.
9. The first Olympic Games.
Greece is known for the birthplace of Olympic Games, which took place in 776 B.C. Coroebus, a Greek cook, was the first Olympic champion for winning the sprint race.
10. Feta feta!
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Made from a sheep’s milk, feta is Greece’s national cheese. Its consumption began during the Homeric age. It’s no surprise that the average per-capital consumption of feta cheese in Greece is the highest in the world. Since 2002, feta has been a protected designation of origin product in the EU.