The origins of the Greek language can be found on mud tablets on Crete Island. Today, modern Greek is derived from the Ancient Greek responsible for many famous texts, in connection to Hellenic branches of language from Indo-European. The earliest form of Ancient Greek still has yet to be fully transcribed. Throughout the 6th and 4th centuries BC, Greece was divided into several states, each with their own dialect. It was at this time that Greece became a hub for political, economic, and cultural enlightenment that is still studied and revered today.
With the advancement of the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman occupation, Greece became a modern state in 1829. As Greek society continued to expand and develop, many linguistic transformations occurred to ensure that the Greek language was accessible to every citizen and that historical principles were upheld. In 1976, Dimotiki Greek was formally adopted for educational and administrative purposes. However, when traveling through the various regions of Greece, many will recognize unique local oral dialects and accents.
Religion plays a significant role in Greek culture. 98% of the population is Christian Orthodox. There are also Muslim, Catholic, and Jewish communities. Many Muslims communities are found living in Thrace, whereas many Catholics and Jewish are among the resident communities on the islands of Syros. The Orthodox Church is the third largest sect of Christianity, with Saint Paul first coming to Greece in 49 AD.
Christianity would become the official religion of the Byzantine Empire under Emperor Constantine the Great. Throughout the Ottoman rule, the Orthodox religion was conserved as an important component of Greek nationality.
While the Greek government and the Orthodox Church are separate, this separation is not documented nor regulated by the Greek Constitution. The Greek Orthodox Church has great influence throughout Greek society.
Most festivals are celebrated in relations to religious traditions, however there are many superstitious traditions that vary by region. Some famous festivals and celebrations include name day, engagements, Carnival, Clean Monday, Easter, and Greek Independence Day.
In the Southern-Eastern region of Europe, Greece is a peninsular landmass with many mountains. Found in the Balkans peninsula, it has the largest coastline in Europe, spanning 13,676km. This is in large part to its 2,000 islands. Two-thirds of land is covered in mountains and is nearly surrounded by the Aegean Sea, Ionian, and the Mediterranean Sea. With an altitude of 2,917m, Mount Olympus is the highest peak and sight that has captured writers and travelers for centuries.
Many residents get to enjoy the countries many natural resources: abundance of plants, forests, lakes, rivers, caves, and volcanoes.
Businesses also take advantage of the rich collection of Greek natural resources: petroleum, magnetite, hydropower, and marble to name a few.
Ranging from salads to meat-centered main dishes, Greek food is known for its quality and taste. Sourcing many local ingredients and using fresh products, Greek food is a culinary delight. There are many specialties from local regions.
The Greek weather provides ample sunshine, which produces a variety of some of the best worldwide herbs and spices. Some well-known food products of Greece include olives, olive oil, honey, cheese, alcohol, vinegar, herbs, nuts, spices, and dessert sweets.
The first settlements in Ancient Greece date back to the Palaeolithic era (11,000-3,000 BC), according to excavation work done around Greece. These first civilizations were part of the Bronze Age.
Globally, most are familiar with The Classical Period of Greek history (6th- 4th BC) where Athens became an international spotlight for western civilization. Democracy, rhetoric, politics, arts, sports, and many other cultural impacts were born from this Greek age.
Throughout the years, there would be the Roman period, Byzantine Empire, and the Ottoman rule that would bring new cultures and people in contact with Greek life and culture and vice versa.In the 20th century, Greece would pass through the hands of Prince Otto from Bavaria (the first King of Greece), then George I of Denmark, islands given to Greece as a result of World War I, Asian refugees from Turkey during tumultuous times, and German and Italian exploits during World War II. Today, Greece is a Parliamentary Republic.
The arts have always been an important component of Greek Lifestyle. The Athens Epidaurus Festival takes place every summer and includes a variety of showcases from all types of performance and classical art.
Every November, Thessaloniki International Film Festivals draws many interested in seeing new directors present their latest works. There are many music festivals hosted in Greece each year and cover a wide range of musical genres.
Coffee is also a major part of Greek lifestyle. Chatting loudly in village squares, many locals meet to drink coffee and catch-up with each other. Greece is a country that believes in the values of the social bonds of community.
This carries over to its dynamic nightlife and romantic culture. Bars and nightclubs stay open late, many of these establishments might be cafeterias or restaurants during the day. There are many options for nightlife that capture different tastes in music, dance, DJs, or romantic moods.
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