Greece is a southern European country surrounded by the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. It lies between Albania and Turkey. Summers in Greece are hot and dry while winters are wet and quite cold. Bluish green mountain ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands add to the beauty of Greek terrain. Nearly 70% of Greece is hilly, stony and mountainous. The country consists of 9,841 islands, 114 of which are inhabited and thus, it enjoys a coastline of nearly 15,000 km! Ancient Greek culture facts help us know about world famous Greek mythology which is in fact, the foundation block of modern Greek lifestyle. Here are some interesting facts about Greece.
Cultural Facts of Greece
- Pythagoras, the father of numbers, was the first one to present the idea that the earth is round and that planets rotate along an axis.
- People in all parts of the world know the names of Greek gods and goddesses because Greek literature, Greek philosophy, Greek plays are popular all over the world.
- The great Greek mathematician, physicist and astronomer Archimedes who is known for his exclamation, “Eureka!” was born in 287 BC in Sicily. He found out the accurate value of Pi.
- The Greek philosopher Socrates, born in 496 BC is considered as the founder of Western philosophy. Works of Plato and Aristotle are seen to be influenced by principles laid by Socrates.
- Since ancient times, Greeks are known as extremely religious people. Animals, especially domestic animals, had to be sacrificed to Gods and then only, they were supposed to be ready for consumption.
- Greeks are known for warm hospitality. Celebrating namedays (birth date of the saint after whom one is named) is more common than celebrating birthdays. Exchanging gifts with family and friends takes place usually on ‘namedays’.
- Nepotism is common in Greece as family members are always expected to help one-another in times of need. Strong emotional bonds between family members play an important role in Greek culture. Family bonds make the social structure strong.
- Greeks are very proud of their cultural heritage. Religion plays an important role in the life of Greek people. Every holiday or festival has religious background. Easter (not Christmas) is the major religious holiday in Greece. Greek politics is greatly influenced by the Church.
- The goddesses Demeter and her daughter Persephone were considered as Goddesses who governed the growth and death of the earth’s vegetation. Greeks always prayed to them before eating bread and to God Dionysus, the God of wine and festivity, before drinking wine. Demeter was considered as goddess of vegetation and fruitfulness.
- According to Greek culture facts, some specific foods were preferred and some were avoided by Greeks as they considered some foods cleaner than the others. For example, the Pythagoreans avoided beans, because beans were considered as unclean! Greeks love to drink Turkish coffee and it is one of the oldest and most favorite drink of Greeks.
- About 98% people in Greece are Greek Orthodox. Muslims, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews constitute the remaining 2% population of Greece. The modern Greek language and the language used during the Classical period is almost the same. It is the language of the Bible. The modern Greek language is based on the idiom used by Homer.
- The first recorded Olympic Games were organized in Olympia in 776 BC. The 12 m high statue of Zeus in the temple of Zeus in olympia was made of gold and ivory. The Olympic winners were presented with a simple olive wreath crown made from the wild olive tree near the temple of Zeus. Greeks believed that the olive tree was planted by Hercules. Olympic games helped in the unification of national, spiritual and racial beliefs.
After reading the above Greek culture facts, you must have understood why Greeks are proud of their contribution to world civilization. Greek culture facts reflect the rich Greek history and heritage. Those interested in Greece travel should take a look at the facts about Greek religion, family and lifestyle before making the trip.