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Saturday, August 4, 2012

17 Interesting Things about Greece

Here are some interesting facts about Greece:

  1. Greece is about the size of Alabama, however it has more than twice as many people.
  2. No one in Greece can choose not to vote. It's required by law for everyone over 18 years old.
  3. Nearly 80% of Greece is mountainous.
  4. Common English words from Greek include “academy,” “apology,” “marathon,” “siren,” “alphabet,” and “typhoon.”
  5. Greece has more than 2,000 islands, of which approximately 170 are populated.
  6. Continuously inhabited for over 7,000 years, Athens is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is also the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, political science, Western literature, historiography, major mathematical principles, and Western theories of tragedy and comedy.
  7. Greece enjoys more than 250 days of sunshine—or 3,000 sunny hours—a year.
  8. Greece is the leading producer of sea sponges.
  9. Many Greek structures such as doors, windowsills, furniture, and church domes are painted a turquoise blue, especially in the Cyclades Islands. It is used because of an ancient belief that this shade of blue keeps evil away. They called the color kyanos, which the words “cyan” and “cyanide” are derived from.
  10. In Greece, people celebrate the “name day” of the saint that bears their name rather than their own birthday.
  11. Greece holds one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. It was called the Colossus of Rhodes. It was a 98-foot tall statue of the God Helios and was destroyed in an earthquake in 226 B.C.
  12. The first Olympic games took place in 776 B.C.
  13. Greece is home to monk seals, an endangered species with only 250 left in the world.
  14. Greeks do not wave with an open hand. In fact, it is considered an insult to show the palm of the hand with the fingers extended. Greeks wave with the palm closed.
  15. After giving a compliment, Greeks make a puff of breath through pursed lips, as if spitting. This is meant to protect the person receiving the compliment from the “evil eye.”
  16. A Spartan specialty was a black soup made from salt, vinegar, and blood. No one in the rest of Greece would drink it.
  17. Greek workers get at least one month of paid vacation every year.

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