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Interesting facts about Greece

Interesting facts about Greece

Land & People

  • Modern Greece is only the centre of the Ancient Greek civilisation, which comprised Southern Italy, the coastal areas of Turkey and the Black Sea, as well as some colonies in North Africa, Southern France and Spain.
  • 80% of Greece is mountainous and 50% is covered by forests. There are about 3000 islands, only a few hundreds of which are inhabited.
  • Greece counts some 7,000 (limestone) caves, forming 24,000 km of underground galleries.
  • The country's highest mountain, Mount Olympus (2,919m) was said to be the home of the Gods in ancient Greek religion.
  • Greece has by far the lowest number of fatal transport accidents per capita in the European Union.
  • Greek people have one of the lowest death rate for cancer in Europe.

  • In a 2007 UNICEF report on child well-being in rich countries, Greece had the lowest percentage of teenagers smoking cigarettes or cannabis, or living in a step family structure.
  • According to the WHO (2002 stats), Greek men and women have the highest incidence of obesity in Europe (and not just in the EU).

Culture, History & Sciences

  • The Minoan civilisation, that appeared in Greece around 3650 B.C.E., predates the first Chinese civilisation by almost a millenium.

  • Numerous modern Western given names come from Greek, such as Agatha (=> honourable), Alexander (Alexandros => protector of man), Andrew (Andreas => manly), Chloe (Khloe => blooming), Christopher (Khristoferos => bearer of Christ), Dennis (Dionysios => follower of Dionysius), Gregory (Gregorios => watchful), George (Georgios => farmer), Helen (=> sunshine), Iris (=> rainbow), Jason (Iasthai => healer), Katherine (Aikaterine => pure), Lucas (=> from Lucanus, Italy), Margaret (Margaríta => pearl), Melissa (=> honey-bee), Nicholas (Nikolaos => victory of the people), Peter (Petros => rock), Sebastian (Sebastianos => revered), Sophia (=> knowledge), Stephen (Stephanos => crown), Theodore (Theodoros => God's gift),Timothy (Timótheos => God's honor) ...

  • Ancient Greek history, culture, mythology and literature has widely influenced modern Western culture. They have inspired many Hollywood films, from the earliest to the latest blockbusters, as well as Japanese and Dinsey animations. For instance : Pandora's Box (1929), Orphée (1950), Helen of Troy (1956), Hercules (1958), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), Clash of the Titans (1981), Ulysses 31 (TV anime, 1981), Hercules (1983), Saint Seiya (TV anime, 1986), The Odyssey (TV miniseries), Hercules (animation, 1997), Helen of Troy (TV miniseries, 2003), Troy (2004), Alexander (2004), Ulysses (2008)...

  • The world-famous Belgian pralines Leonidas were named after the homonymous 5th-century B.C.E. king of Sparta.


  • Shipping has been one of the most important industry in Greece since ancient times. The Greek-owned fleet is the largest in the world with a total of 3,850 ships of over 1.000 gt capacity and a total capacity of 98.195.100 gt, translating to 15,5% of the international shipping capacity. Aristotle Onassis (1906-1975) was the most famous shipping magnate of the 20th century.
  • Part-time work is almost inexistent for men in Greece.
  • 85% of Greek people own their accommodation - the highest rate in the EU.
  • As of early 2013, Greece had 27% of job seekers, the highest unemployment rate among developed countries. In 2011 Greece also had lowest employment rate in the OECD, with barely 55.6% of the population in employment. The latter is not a consequence of the euro crisis though. The employment rate was even lower in the 1990's and simimar in the early 2000's.
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