Greece is the southernmost country in Europe with the longest coastline that borders the Aegean Sea, the Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. The country of Greece is also known for its primeval history and for being the cradle of Western civilization.
Greece used to be ruled by some of the most popular rulers in history, so the country is brimming with ancient ruins, rich culture, and gorgeous landscapes.
The country also has friendly locals, scrumptious food, and some of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet. We have found some of the best Greece facts that will help you learn more about Greece’s culture, geography, and history.
Here Are Some of Most Amazing Greece Facts That May Surprise You
1. Greece is not the original name of the country
The original name of the country is not Greece but Hellas. Neither is the official name of the country Greece but the Hellenic Republic.
The country’s name in its native language is Hellas, but Greece was adopted into the English language from the Latin word ”Graecus”. This Latin word was adopted first by the Romans and was later adopted into the English language.
2. Greek is the oldest language that is still spoken to this day
The Greek language is one of the oldest languages spoken in this modern-day and age.
The Greek language dates back longer than any other Indo- European language, with written records that have been traced back to 3500 years ago. Some of the alphabets resemble the English alphabets, while some are completely new, cursive, and have their own unique characteristics.
3. Greeks value family life above all
Family life is a very deep and important part of Greek culture. Older children who have gotten married also live with their parents.
The life expectancy of the Greeks is longer than in other countries, and it is believed that their diet has a lot to contribute to their long lives.
The varied selection of olives, fish, lamb, chickpeas, fruits, vegetables, and squid keep Greeks healthy and fit. Olive trees have been grown and cultivated in Greece for over 6,000 years. Olives are highly popular, and nearly every village in Greece has its olive grove.
4. Greece is home to many UNESCO world heritage sites
There are eighteen UNESCO world heritage sites present in Greece. All these sites have important cultural or historical significance.
The Acropolis of Athens, Mount Athos, the Medieval City of Rhodes, Delos, the Old Town of Corfu, and many other historically significant sites have been deemed UNESCO world heritage sites for having outstanding universal value for the world.
5. The Greek language is a part of many other languages
The Greek language is an old language that dates to 3500 years ago. Therefore, people can observe some similarities of the Greek word in their languages.
The commonly used words made or adopted from the Greek language are telephone, democracy, geography, physics, athlete, and mathematics. Not only that, but some Greek characters are also used in the sciences for scientific notation purposes.
6. The food, tourism, and textile industry play a major part in the economy
Most of the economic income comes from the textile and tourist industry of the country. Greece is a beautiful country consisting of lush islands and crystal blue waters.
There are historical sites and tranquil natural spots for tourists in the country.
In addition to sightseeing, tourists can enjoy many activities offered in the region to make the most out of their trip in Greece. Almost 33 percent of people in Greece are employed in the tourism sector.
7. Greek food is deemed to be healthy and delicious
Greek food mostly consists of a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, olives, lamb, seafood, chickpeas, and olive oil. Greeks use aromatic spices like oregano, rosemary, thyme, and mint in most dishes.
Olive oil is used generously in most dishes or as an accompaniment for bread. You can enjoy mezedes, snacks that are eaten before a meal or with drinks, at a local bar or tavernas.
Moussaka, Tsatsiki, and Spanakopita are popular Greek dishes that use either olives, feta cheese, yogurt, olive oil, or fresh vegetables.
8. Greece has a royal family
Greece has a royal family, but since the monarchy was abolished in Greece in 1974, the King does not have the governing power to rule the country.
The head of the current royal family is King Constantine II, who was born in 1940, and Queen Anne-Marie. They have an extensive family consisting of five children and nine grandchildren.
King Constantine was a talented sportsman in his youth in the 1960s. He took part in the Olympics for Greece in 1960 when he won gold for his sailing abilities before his ascension as King in 1964.
King Constantine II made a name for himself as the first Greek winner of a gold Olympics medal in modern times. King Constantine II is also the younger brother of Queen Sophie of Spain.
9. Greece has a beautiful landscape
Greece has a lush geographical landscape. Almost 80% of the Greek lands are covered with mountains, and the country has a beautiful coastline with beaches like the Elafonissi Beach on the island of Crete.
Greece has ten national parks to safeguard natural and historical sites. The marine parks in Greece are built to provide safety to Europe’s most endangered sea species, namely monk seals and loggerhead turtles.
The country has a vast coastline with clear blue water home to sponges, anemones, and seahorses, which hide in the seaweed.
10. Most Greeks live in the urban areas
Most of the population in Greece lives in urban areas such as Athens and Thessaloniki. Almost 79.7% of Greece is urban.
Athens is the country’s largest city, with almost 3.7 million people residing in the metropolis. There is a major problem of smog plaguing the country. Pollution and acid rain have also damaged the Parthenon.
11. Greece provides free public education
Greece is a country that provides free education to its citizens. Children go to primary school or elementary school for six years in the country, similar to the UK’s schooling system.
Public education is free for all and also includes free textbooks. Education till the ninth grade is compulsory for all children under the age of 15.
Most Greek children also study a foreign language along with their studies. The foreign languages usually taught in Greece are French, German, and English.
12. Greece has had great philosophers and historians
Greece was the place of great thinkers, scientists, and historians. Thales of Miletus is considered the first philosopher and is thought to be the first person to present the belief that the origin of the world does not lie in mythology.
The first historian, Herodotus, belonged to Greece. He wrote extensively about the Greco-Persian wars.
13. The Acropolis of Athens was almost one of the 7 Wonders of the World
The Acropolis of Athens is a historical site in the country of Greece.
It is an ancient citadel that is situated above the city of Athens in a rocky landscape. The location is a collection of ancient buildings of important architectural and historical significance. The most famous ruin at the Acropolis is the Parthenon, the former temple of the Greek goddess Athena.
14. The Greek flag is highly symbolic
The country’s flag only consists of two colors, blue and white. The Greek flag has nine blue and white stripes placed horizontally, which symbolize the nine syllables of the Greek motto ‘Eleftheria I Thanatos.’ The Greek motto symbolized in the flag means “Freedom or Death.”
The blue color of the flag represents the blue waters of the country and the sky, whereas the white represents purity or struggle for freedom. The upper left corner of the Greek flag has the traditional Greek Orthodox cross
15. Greece is an economically struggling country
Greece is a European country that has the worst economy among the European countries. Ever since 2009, the country has been facing an economic crisis that it cannot recover from.
The European Union and the International Monetary fund have fined the Greek governments with austerity programs. The corrupt Greek government in Greece cost the country almost one billion dollars in 2009.
10 Most Beautiful Island in Greece – Travel Video
Greece is one of those magical places, filled with hundreds of exotic islands and archipelagos boasting extraordinary scenery, picturesque warm-water beaches, and a glorious Mediterranean climate. Whichever island you stay on, you’ll get a taste of traditional Greek culture.
With excellent tavernas, handsome hiking trails, and the world’s best sunsets, there’s an island for everyone – beach bums, foodies, adventurers, and active holiday makers alike. Here’s a look at the most beautiful islands in Greece:
Greece is a country full of historical sites and beautiful landscapes to visit. The country offers fantastic food along with fun tourist activities for foreign visitors in the moderate Mediterranean climate.
You can enjoy authentic feta cheese, baklava, and new Greek cuisine no matter which Greek island you decide to visit in the country. Greece also offers plenty of opportunities for trekkers who wish to explore the Greek hiking trails, sea lovers who can enjoy the clear waters along the long Greek coast, and tourists looking for tranquility and peace in the calm Greek landscapes.
We hope that you learned new Greece facts in this article that will help you develop a better knowledge of the gorgeous southern European country.
Hi I’m Jay. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and live in Los Angeles, California. I have travelled to 23 countries so far and planning to go explore more countries soon! My Favorite trips so far have been to Israel, Japan, Rome, Iceland and Australia. I started this site to share my love of travel with everyone and build a community of like-minded, free thinking, free exploring people.