Want to learn more about Greece? We have listed 10 facts about Greece that you might not know before reading this.
Greece has more than 250 days of sunshine
On average, Greece has more than 250 days of sunshine and as many as 3000 hours of sunshine per year. It varies somewhat from year to year, and certain Greek places get more sun than others.
Crete, Rhodes, and Karpathos are some of the sunniest destinations in Greece with the highest number of sunshine hours per year.
Only 227 Greek Islands are inhabited
There are around 3,000 islands and islets in Greece. Only 227 of these Greek islands are inhabited while the rest does not have any permanent settlements.
The island that has the most inhabitants is Crete with over 600.000 people living there permanently. Evia, Rhodes, Lesbos, and Corfu are other islands where there are more than 100.000 inhabitants.
Drachma used to be the local currency before the Euro
Greece joined the EMU on January 1, 2001. One year later, the currency was adopted physically with banknotes and coins replacing the Greek Drachma.
By the time of adoption, one euro was equal to 340.750 GRD. The Drachma was introduced as currency in Greece in 1832, which then replaced the earlier currency called Greek Phoenix.
Olympus is the tallest mountain in Greece
Olympus is a legendary mountain where the gods of Ancient Greece are said to have lived. With a height of 2918 meters above the sea, Olympus is also the highest mountain in Greece.
The Dolphin is the national animal of Greece
The dolphin has long been seen as a national symbol of Greece, and even as early as Ancient Greece, dolphins were depicted in various artworks.
During Ancient times, dolphins were seen as a sign of friendship and cleverness.
There is a blue zone in Greece
Ikaria is one of the earth’s blue zones where the highest concentration of centenarians can be found. In total, there are seven places that have been deemed a blue zone.
What they all have in common is that they have a significantly higher number of people living to 100.
Greece is the world’s largest producer of natural sponges
There are plenty of natural sponges in the sea surrounding Greece. These sponges have been harvested for centuries.
The Greek sea sponges are harvested in a sustainable way by divers, using specifically made knives to preserve and keep as much of the sponge’s root, so that it can re-grow and live longer.
Greece has been an independent nation since 1832
The nationwide fight to become independent was initiated already in 1821. However, it wasn’t until 1832 that Greece was formally recognized as a sovereign state.
For nearly 400 years, the Ottoman Empire occupied large parts of modern Greece. Despite that, the Greeks managed to keep their culture, language, and traditions.
Around 40% of Greece’s population lives in Attica
Attica is an administrative region in Greece, which mostly includes the metropolitan area of Athens. In total, there are 3,8 million people living in the region of Attica, whereof 95% are living inside the metro area of Athens.
Name days are more important than birthdays
The name day is widely celebrated in Greece, and many celebrate this day more than their actual birthday. Each day in the Orthodox calendar is dedicated to the name of a saint or martyr.
All persons with a Greek name have a designated name day, which is based upon which saint or martyr the name originates from.
For example, on January 7, the Greek Orthodox Church commemorates John the Baptist, which means that those who are named Ioannis or Ioanna have their name day on this date. The same goes for Yannis and all other derivatives that originate from John the Baptist, which is known as Ioannis or Vaptistis in Greek.