Introduction

Greece (the Hellenic Republic) is situated in the southeastern region of Europe with bordering countries of Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey. With modern day Greece having her roots set deeply in Ancient Greece, the country is noted as a nurturing center for the development of the western civilization. The official language in Greece is Greek, although due to the high influx of tourists on an annual basis many young Greeks are multi lingual speaking two, three or even four other languages. The local currency in Greece is the Euro, and the capital city is Athens. Although the Greek territory comprises over 600 islands and islets, only 227 of them are inhabited and many of these inhabited islands are home to only a few families. In total it is estimated that there are over 11 million inhabitants in Greece.

People

People who are from or who live in Greece are referred to as Greek. Within Greece, family structure is still very prominent and it is still very common to find households containing extended families where the elder members are respected for their wisdom and knowledge. With family ties still being evident in daily lives, Greeks work hard to preserve the honor of their family name. Most Greeks prefer to be conservative in their dress style; however, their mannerisms outwardly appear to be warm, friendly and very sociable.

Geography

Greece has created a name internationally for having some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, but many fail to notice the wonderful rugged and mountainous landscapes within Greece that are equally important. The positioning of Greece in the southwest of Europe results in the country's coastline gracing the shores of three seas with the Mediterranean Sea to the south of the country, the Aegean Sea to the east and the Ionian Sea to the west. As with many other Mediterranean countries, Greece has a very amicable climate with summertime being noted as hot and dry and winters mild and wet. Naturally, the highlands remain much cooler with snow during the winter months.

History

Greece is a country steeped in some of the world's most fascinating history. Archaeologists have unearthed artifacts dating back as far as 11,000 BC. It is not until the fourth to sixth centuries BC that we reach the Classical Era of Greek history. During this timeframe Greece created some of the world's most famous and unrivaled mathematicians and philosophers. Greece faced much domination throughout its history from the Macedonians and the Romans with the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman rule. It was not until the Independence War in 1821 that spanned across ten years that Greece finally established an independent Greek state. A monarchy was formed and a governor was appointed. However, only a few years later he was assassinated, leading to an uprising. Germany and Italy would later invade Greece, and Greece was governed by the dictatorship of Metaxas. In 1975, a democratic republican constitution was formed and the monarchy abolished.

Famous Attractions

Greece has such a rich variety of attractions to see during your time there that your only problem will be not having enough time to see them all. Athens, the capital city of Greece, is soaked in cultural events and historical sites. When there, be sure to visit the Acropolis to witness one of the most impressive sites in the world. Crete, Mykonos and Zaknythos are only a few of the fabulous islands that can be reached from mainland Greece. Whether you want to soak up the sun on the beach or party the night away until the early hours, the islands are for you. If you wish to be catapulted back in time, why not visit the city of Prygos or take a guided tour of Olympia.

Nightlife

Greece is famous internationally for its nightlife. Generally, Greeks commence their nightly outings between 10 and 11pm. Streets are full of open, warm and welcoming bars and cafes where you can go to relax and unwind or meet up with close friends for a fun filled night. Nightclubs are plentiful in Greece and are known to house some of the best deejays in the world, attracting tourists on a regular basis. Nightclubs offer various styles of music from hip-hop to dance, and even traditional Greek music can be found. For serious party hoppers, why not head out to one of the party islands? Specific islands transform themselves in summertime to host some of the best all-night parties in the world. With the wide diversity of people from across the globe, fun is to be had by all.

Culture

Cultural diversity is a very common within Greece. Greeks in general honor many of their traditions and belief systems to this date. Many Greeks are known for being superstitious, especially around religious events, although the superstitious beliefs vary from island to island. The vast majority of Greeks are Greek Orthodox in religion. Family culture remains a strong aspect of the Greek culture resulting in its becoming the basis for social structure. Family bonds are valued and family members always come through for other members in time of emotional or financial need.

Cuisine

Greek cuisine is the typical food found within Greece. The dishes are based on a Mediterranean style with influences from Italy, Levant, Anatolia and the Balkans. Olive oil figures predominantly within the Greek cuisine as do olives, cheese, yogurt, vegetables, lamb and pork. More recently, dishes are also being based on fish, poultry and rabbit. No Greek dinner is complete without one of their famous desserts. Pastries made from layers of filo pastry sweetened with honey are a huge success with the locals as are cakes made from yogurt. Many Greeks like to accompany their desserts with custard. When it comes to desserts, in Greece their mentality is - the sweeter the better. For tourists looking for dishes other than Greek cuisine, they will be able to find the normal fast food outlets that invade every country, or they may choose to dine on more ethnic dishes.