It is nearly impossible to comprehend the magnificently eclectic and robust concoction that has become today’s Grecian society without exploring the region first-hand.
The first traces of a city-state on Crete date back to the Neolithic Period, beginning in 6000 B.C. Minoan and Mycenaean Kingdoms were followed by the Dorian invasions and the Dark Ages. From 500 to 146 B.C., Greece enjoyed its most prosperous and well-known Classical and Hellenistic Periods during which Plato, Socrates and Democracy thrived and the Parthenon and Acropolis were built in Athens. Roman annexation followed and can be seen in the transitional art and architecture, along with the blending of mythologies. Greece was overrun by Byzantines and Turks throughout the modern era and a cultural revival and War of Independence in 1821 sparked the reunification and appreciation of Greek culture that is still miraculously thriving today.
Greece by Land…
Aside from major attractions like the Parthenon, Greece provides a plethora of other sites and activities unique to the nation’s cultural heritage. For a spiritual experience, visit the town of Meteora in the northern Thessaly region. These spectacular cliff-top monasteries were originally reached by curiously placed ladders and ropes. Today people can reach the sky-high pinnacles by climbing the etched stone stairs or by the growing popular sport of rock climbing. You can also get close to the gods, as the Greeks put it, by visiting the archeological wonder at Delphi, considered to be the center of the known world by Ancient Greeks. Nafplio, the former capital of Greece, is also a wondrous and enlightening adventure. Centuries of history decorate and surround the city. Close by is the ancient Mycenae civilization and the famous theater at Epidaurus.
Or by Sea…
There are nearly 1400 Greek islands to explore. Much of Grecian history is based upon the maritime and merchant centers of the seven island clusters. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey venture through beaches and ports you can visit today. Crete and Santorini, with its volcanic caldera, are by far the most popular destinations. Make a stop on the notorious party island of Mykonos, part of the Cyclades Greek Islands, to party, dance and drink in a fashion that would make Dionysus proud. Relax in the lush greenery and white sand of the Ionian Islands, which emanate a more European feel. Every island region has something unique and intriguing to offer, so don’t be afraid to leave this part of your itinerary open for exploration!
Greece is bursting at the seams with history, culture, food and wine. Every corner of this ancient nation is abundant with once-in-a-lifetime escapades. This is a trip you do not need to structure too much to feel completely immersed in Greek life. Although, it is wise to remember that the summer months of July and August attract hoards of people making accommodations hard to come by and can also be uncomfortably hot. Enjoy a more pleasant and relaxed journey in May and June or at the end of the summer peak season.
The Greek Experience
Greece is situated in South-eastern Europe, positioned on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. The country lies at the meeting point of Europe, Asia and Africa.
It is heir to the heritages of ancient Greece, the Roman and Byzantine Empire, and nearly four centuries of Ottoman rule.
Greece is considered as the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophical thought, the Olympic Games, Western literature, political science, major scientific and mathematic principles, and Western theatrical drama including both tragedy and comedy.
It is a country of beautiful contradictions, a constant journey in time, from the present to the past and back again. Walk through the olive groves, through ancient sites. Move to clusters of sparsely inhabited islands. Roam from the beaches to rocky mountainous terrains and explore breathtaking scenery. In Greece, you are standing at crossroads of cultures, colors and civilizations; you feel the grandeur of history and the warmth of being at the southernmost part of Europe.
You can discover the evolving process of thought, influence and experience.
- A country with a uniquely affluent historical past, inhabited by people who gaze confidently and optimistically into their future.
- A country that although statistically small, is huge in its diversity.
- A landscape that has given us thousands of postcards images but remains incredibly vibrant and impossible to capture.
- A destination in which, each visitor can find his own special place in which to leave the body and mind to marvel.
Greece is a country of beautiful contradictions, a constant journey in time, from the present to the past and back again. In Greece the mixture of images becomes more than just imagination and turns into reality. Greece has a particularly long and eventful history with a diverse cultural heritage that both shaped and has been shaped by cultures throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Through this vastness of historical peculiarities rises a significant symbol in which the countrys identity gets captured, the Acropolis of Athens.
The greatest and finest sanctuary of both modern and ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena, dominates the citys centre. The Acropolis significance is captured through its position as a democratic emblem. The Acropolis is the one historical site you can’t miss. A place on which democratic foundations were formulated and implemented, while surrounded by critical philosophical thought, the Acropolis is considered to be a cornerstone in the emergence of Western civilization.
When visiting the Acropolis, sightseers informed of its history, will feel as captivated as if they were the first to discover the Holy Grail. While on the Acropolis you are left to admire the beautiful city of Athens in all of its glory, your mind can wonder back in time and you can imagine yourself as living as the ancient Athenians did.
Being a part of something so important, even if for a brief afternoon, is definitely worth pursuing. Greece should be considered as a travel destination for everyone. You can lean from traveling to Greece, to this Mediterranean country. The history the people, the ideas and everything Greek culture stands for, will definitely change your perspective on life.