Greece is a country in southeastern Europe with thousands of islands throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. Influential in ancient times, it’s often called the cradle of Western civilization. Athens, its capital, retains landmarks including the 5th-century B.C. Acropolis citadel with the Parthenon temple. Greece is also known for its beaches, from the black sands of Santorini to the party resorts of Mykonos.
Greek colonies and communities have been historically established on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, but the Greek people themselves have always been centered on the Aegean and Ionian seas, where the Greek language has been spoken since the Bronze Age. Until the early 20th century, Greeks were distributed between the Greek peninsula, the western coast of Asia Minor, the Black Sea coast, Cappadocia in central Anatolia, Egypt, the Balkans, Cyprus, and Constantinople. Many of these regions coincided to a large extent with the borders of the Byzantine Empire of the late 11th century and the Eastern Mediterranean areas of ancient Greek colonization. The cultural centers of the Greeks have included Athens, Thessalonica, Alexandria, Smyrna, and Constantinople at various periods.
During most of the Middle Ages, the Byzantine Greeks self-identified as Rhōmaîoi (Ῥωμαῖοι, “Romans”, meaning citizens of the Roman Empire), a term which in the Greek language had become synonymous with Christian Greeks.The Latinizing term Graikoí (Γραικοί, “Greeks”) was also used,though its use was less common, and nonexistent in official Byzantine political correspondence, prior to the Fourth Crusade of 1204. The Eastern Roman Empire (today conventionally named the Byzantine Empire, a name not used during its own time became increasingly influenced by Greek culture after the 7th century when Emperor Heraclius (r. 610–641 AD) decided to make Greek the empire’s official language.
Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With over sixty inhabited islands, historic sites that span four millennia, idyllic beaches and towering mountain ranges there is a wide variety of tourist attractions in Greece to explore. And despite the debt crisis with credit downgrades and protest by day, Greece as a travel destination is as popular as it has ever been.
Mount Athos (/ˈæθɒs/; Greek: Ἄθως, [ˈa.θos]) is a mountain and peninsula in northeastern Greece and an important centre of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. It is governed as an autonomous polity within the Hellenic Republic, namely the Monastic community of Mount Athos under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
Mount Athos has been inhabited since ancient times and is known for its long Christian presence and historical monastic traditions, which date back to at least 800 AD and the Byzantine era. Today, over 2,000 monks from Greece and many other countries, including Eastern Orthodox countries such as Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia, live an ascetic life in Athos, isolated from the rest of the world. The Athonite monasteries feature a rich collection of well-preserved artifacts, rare books, ancient documents, and artworks of immense historical value, and Mount Athos has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1988.
Though land-linked, Mount Athos is practically accessible only by boat. The Agios Panteleimon and Axion Estin ferries travel daily (weather permitting) between Ouranoupolis and Dafni, with stops at some monasteries on the western coast. There is also a smaller speed boat, the Agia Anna, which travels the same route, but with no intermediate stops. It is possible to travel by ferry to and from Ierissos for direct access to monasteries along the eastern coast.
Lindos is a town on the Greek island of Rhodes. It’s known for its clifftop acropolis, which features monumental 4th-century gates and reliefs from about 280 B.C. The Temple of Athena Lindia sits above an earlier temple. On the site’s lower level is the 14th-century Castle of the Knights of St. John. Among the town’s whitewashed buildings, the Virgin Mary of Lindos Church has 15th-century frescoes.
Lindos was founded by the Dorians led by the king Tlepolemus of Rhodes, who arrived in about the 10th century BC. It was one of six Dorian cities in the area known as the Dorian Hexapolis. The eastern location of Rhodes made it a natural meeting place between the Greeks and the Phoenicians, and by the 8th century Lindos was a major trading centre. In the 6th century it was ruled by Cleobulus, one of the Seven Sages of Greece. The importance of Lindos declined after the foundation of the city of Rhodes in the late 5th century BC.
Above the modern town rises the acropolis of Lindos, a natural citadel which was fortified successively by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Knights of St John and the Ottomans. This makes the site difficult to excavate and interpret archaeologically. The acropolis has views of the surrounding harbours and coastline.
Mystras or Mistras, also known in the Chronicle of the Morea as Myzithras, is a fortified town and a former municipality in Laconia, Peloponnese, Greece.
Taygetos, near ancient Sparta, it served as the capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea in the 14th and 15th centuries, experiencing a period of prosperity and cultural flowering during the Palaeologan Renaissance, including the teachings of Gemistos Plethon. The city also attracted artists and architects of the highest quality. The site remained inhabited throughout the Ottoman period, when Western travellers mistook it for ancient Sparta. In the 1830s, it was abandoned and the new town of Sparti was built, approximately eight kilometres to the east. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the Sparti municipality.
In late 1248, William II of Villehardouin, ruler of the Frankish Principality of Achaea, captured Monemvasia, the last remaining Byzantine outpost on the Morea. This success was soon followed by the submission of the restive Tsakones on Mount Parnon, the Slavic Melingoi tribe of Mount Taygetos, and the inhabitants of the Mani peninsula, thereby extending his sway over all of Laconia and completing the conquest of the peninsula, which had begun in 1205, in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade. Laconia was incorporated into the princely domain, and the young prince passed the winter of 1248–49 there, touring the country and selecting sites for new fortifications such as Grand Magne and Leuktron; finally, near his residence of Lacedaemon (ancient Sparta), on a spur of Mount Taygetos, he built the fortress that came to be known as Mystras.
Myrtos Beach is in the region of Pylaros, in the north-west of Kefalonia island, in the Ionian Sea of Greece. Myrtos beach lies between the feet of two mountains, Agia Dynati and Kalon Oro.
The surrounding sediment at Myrtos Beach is generally made up of marble material, a metamorphosed limestone. The beach is made up of round, white cobblestones. The sediment gradually becomes smaller as you approach the shoreline. Because the slope angle has an abrupt drop near the edge of the shoreline, the wave energy is very high and causes the gradation trends from cobbles to pebbles along the beach.
Longshore drift, along with wave energy, has shaped the shore. As waves curve along the beach they also pick up the finest bits of marble; this creates sediment plumes that follow the curve of the beach with the direction of the waves giving the water a shade of turquoise.
Myrtos has been described as “one of the most dramatic beaches in Greece”, with its “mile-and-a-half long arc of dazzling white pebbles.”
It was used as the location for the mine explosion episode in the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
Myrtos has been voted 12 times the best Greek beach while it regularly features in best beaches lists.
Delphi (/ˈdɛlfaɪ, ˈdɛlfi/; Greek: Δελφοί [ðelˈfi]),[a] in legend previously called Pytho (Πυθώ), in ancient times was a sacred precinct that served as the seat of Pythia, the major oracle who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The oracle was international in character and also fostered sentiments of Greek nationality, even though the nation of Greece was centuries away from realization. The ancient Greeks considered the centre of the world to be in Delphi, marked by the stone monument known as the omphalos (navel). The sacred precinct was in the region of Phocis, but its management had been taken away from the Phocians, who were trying to extort money from its visitors, and had been placed in the hands of an amphictyony, or committee of persons chosen mainly from Central Greece. According to the Suda, Delphi took its name from the Delphyne, the she-serpent (drakaina) who lived there and was killed by the god Apollo (in other accounts the serpent was the male serpent (drakon) Python).
Delphi and the Delphic region
Today Delphi is a municipality of Greece as well as a modern town adjacent to the ancient precinct. The modern town was created by moving its predecessor off the sacred precinct so that the latter could be excavated by the French School of Archaeology working in conjunction with Greek authorities. The two Delphis, old and new, are located on Greek National Road 48 between Amfissa in the west and Livadeia, capital of Voiotia, in the east. The road follows the northern slope of a pass between Mount Parnassus on the north and the mountains of the Desfina Peninsula on the south. The peninsula, triangular in shape, juts into the Gulf of Corinth. The pass is entirely one river valley, that of the river Pleistos, running from east to west, forming a natural boundary across the north of the Desfina Peninsula, and providing an easy route across it.
The Meteora is a rock formation in central Greece hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area.
Beside the Pindos Mountains, in the western region of Thessaly, these unique and enormous columns of rock rise precipitously from the ground. But their unusual form is not easy to explain geologically. They are not volcanic plugs of hard igneous rock typical elsewhere, but the rocks are composed of a mixture of sandstone and conglomerate.
The conglomerate was formed of deposits of stone, sand, and mud from streams flowing into a delta at the edge of a lake, over millions of years. About 60 million years ago during the Paleogene period a series of earth movements pushed the seabed upward, creating a high plateau and causing many vertical fault lines in the thick layer of sandstone. The huge rock pillars were then formed by weathering by water, wind, and extremes of temperature on the vertical faults. It is unusual that this conglomerate formation and type of weathering are confined to a relatively localised area within the surrounding mountain formation. The complex is referred to an exhumed continental remnant of Pangean association.
This type of rock formation and weathering process has happened in many other places locally and throughout the world, but what makes Meteora’s appearance special is the uniformity of the sedimentary rock constituents deposited over millions of years leaving few signs of vertical layering, and the localised abrupt vertical weathering.
Excavations and research have discovered petrified diatoms, which have contributed to understanding the Palaeo-climate and climate changes. Radiocarbon dating evidences human presence dating back 50,000 years.The cave used to be open to the public, but is currently closed indefinitely, for safety inspections.
Mykonos (/ˈmɪkənɒs, -noʊs/, UK also /ˈmiːk-/; Greek: Μύκονος [ˈmikonos]) is a Greek island, part of the Cyclades, lying between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. The island has an area of 85.5 square kilometres (33.0 sq mi) and rises to an elevation of 341 metres (1,119 feet) at its highest point. There are 10,134 inhabitants according to the 2011 census, most of whom live in the largest town, Mykonos, which lies on the west coast. The town is also known as Chora (i.e. ‘Town’ in Greek, following the common practice in Greece when the name of the island itself is the same as the name of the principal town).
Mykonos’s nickname is “The Island of the Winds”, due to the very strong winds that usually blow on the island. Tourism is a major industry and Mykonos is known for its vibrant nightlife and for being a gay-friendly destination with many establishments catering for the LGBT community.
In Greek mythology, Mykonos was named after its first ruler, Mykonos (Μύκονος), the son or grandson of the god Apollo and a local hero. The island is also said to have been the location of the Gigantomachy, the great battle between Zeus and Giants and where Hercules killed the invincible giants having lured them from the protection of Mount Olympus. According to myth, the large rocks all over the island are said to be the petrified corpses of the giants.
t being a Greek island, the economy of Mykonos is closely linked with the sea. However, with the rise of tourism, it plays a minor role during summer.
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