With an area of 50,949 square miles (131,958 square kilometers), Greece is roughly the size of Alabama. The population of Greece is more than 10 million people.—comparatively, the population of Alabama is around 4.5 million. Approximately 16.5 million tourists visit Greece each year, more than the country’s entire population. Tourism constitutes nearly 16% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
So we come to the first fact on our list of things to know about Greece. The Greek flag is includes nine blue-and-white horizontal stripes, which some scholars say stand for the nine syllables of the Greek motto “Eleftheria i Thanatos” or “Freedom or Death.” Blue represents Greece’s sea and sky, while white stands for the purity of the struggle of freedom. In the upper left-hand corner is the traditional Greek Orthodox cross.
9. The Parthenon
The Parthenon (“Place of the Partheons,” from parthenos or “virgin”) was built almost 2,500 years ago and sits on the Acropolis above the city of Athens. It actually featured colorful sculptures and a large gold-and-ivory statue of Athena. It took 15 years to build.
We move onto the next fact on our list of things to know about Greece. Ostracism allowed Athenian citizens to temporarily exile people thought dangerous to the public. If it was voted that ostracism was necessary, each citizen inscribed a name on a piece of pottery or ostracon in a secret ballet. The person with the most names had to leave town in 10 days for 10 years.
7. A Special Dish
One of the dishes enjoyed by ancient Greek men at feasts was roast pig stuffed with thrushes, ducks, eggs, and oysters. Most feasts were for men only, though there were female entertainers (this was not considered a respectable occupation for women).
We move onto the next fact on our list of things to know about Greece. Greeks do not wave with an open hand. In fact, it is considered an insult to show the palm of he hand with the fingers extended. Greeks wave with the palm closed. 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”.