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Friday, 24 April 2015

Greece

HISTORY

The Great Laura, the first monastery on Mount Athos, was built in 961 AD. There are now twenty monasteries on the Greek mountain. The 3,000 monks living there have forbidden all females, whether human or animal, from setting foot on the Athos peninsular.

The traditional date of the start of the Greek War of Independence is March 25, 1821, though the war actually began February 23, 1821. The date was chosen in the early years of Greek sovereignty so that it falls on the day of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, strengthening the ties between the Greek Orthodox Church and the newly-found state.

The design of the Greek flag was adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus on January 13, 1822.


Greece was occupied by the Ottoman Empire for a period of 400 years. The country's sovereignty and full independence from the Ottoman Empire was confirmed in a London Protocol on February 3, 1830, as the final result of the Greek War of Independence.

The independence of Greece was recognized by the Treaty of London on May 7, 1832. Greece was made a kingdom by the United Kingdom and Russia, under the German Wittelsbach dynasty. Otto of Wittelsbach, Prince of Bavaria was chosen as the first monarch.

Eleftherios Venizelos was elected Prime Minister of Greece on October 6, 1910, a title he'd hold for six more terms.

A coup d'état by the royalist leadership of the Greek Armed Forces took place in Athens on October 10, 1935. It overthrew the government of Panagis Tsaldaris and established a regency under Georgios Kondylis, effectively ending the Second Hellenic Republic.

On October 28, 1940, the Fascist Italians, with support from Nazi Germany, approached the Greeks to join their side in WWII. The Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas Metaxas declined. Historians believe that if the Greek's had not refused, WWII could have lasted longer with dramatically different outcomes.

In the following Greco-Italian War, Greece repelled Italian forces into Albania, giving the Allies their first victory over Axis forces on land.

GEOGRAPHY

Greece has more than 2,000 islands, of which about 170 are populated.

Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the eleventh longest coastline in the world at 8,498 miles in length.

Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, of which Mount Olympus is the highest peak at 2,917 m (9,570 ft)..

FUN GREEK FACTS

Greece has the longest national anthem in the world, with 158 stanzas.

St Andrew and St George, the patron saints of Scotland and England, are also patron saints of Greece.

About seven per cent of the world's marble comes from Greece.

Greece's most important industry is shipping (worth €251.1 billion in 2015). It accounts for 6.5% of the country's GDP and, employs about 290,000 people (7% of the workforce).

Greek shipping companies control the world's largest merchant fleet of over 5000 ships including, among others, one third of the world's tankers and one quarter of all bulk carriers by tonnage. The Greek flag is the first-most-used internationally for shipping.

The Greek merchant navy is the largest in the world, at 16.2% (2011 figures) of the world's total capacity.

Greece is the world's leading producer of sea sponges, especially in the sea off Kalymnos island.

The Greek national cheese is Feta, which is eaten more in Greece than any other country.

In Greece it is rude to wave with your palm facing the other person.

About 16.5 million tourists visit Greece each year, which is more than the country’s entire population (around 11 million).

Source Daily Express

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