Fun Facts About Greece

Ancient Greek children would throw their baby teeth onto roofs as a form of good luck and for those who enjoy theater performances – Greeks invented theatre!

Greeks are widely revered for establishing democracy, an innovative form of government in which all citizens could vote freely and independently.

1. The Greek language is the oldest living language in the world

Greece is often considered to be the birthplace of Western civilization and hosts some of its first Olympic events and ancient ruins, but did you know it is also home to one of the oldest living languages on Earth? Greek has been around for more than 2,500 years making it one of the longest standing alphabetic languages worldwide.

At its origins, Greek has been recorded in writing since 1450-1350 BC via an inscribed clay tablet known as Linear B dating back to 1450-1350 BC. This makes Greek one of the oldest living languages with written evidence, as well as one of the earliest Indo-European ones to do so. Greek alphabet continues to be widely used today and provides inspiration for Latin, Cyrillic Armenian, Coptic writing systems among others.

At present, there are multiple dialects of Greek spoken worldwide. Modern Standard Greek and Katabatic are two widely-spoken varieties used literary and juridical purposes respectively, and several regional spoken dialects that have never been written down exist as well. Greek has five vowel phonemes that mark nouns for gender, number, case and tense; adjectives agree with nouns they modify according to gender number and case marking.

Greeks are famously famous for their hospitality and love of travel, evidenced by the word filoxenia which translates as “love of stranger.” This sentiment comes from their ancient belief that all visitors were sacred beings under Zeus’ protection. Additionally, Greeks enjoy spending time socially together; giving each other presents on namedays, Christmas, or other special occasions is part of Greek culture.

2. The Greek alphabet is 2,500 years old

When thinking of Greece, one may immediately imagine its most famous landmarks such as Acropolis and its surroundings – such as Olympic Games – or its many islands. Here are a few interesting Greek facts for your consideration.

1. The Greek alphabet dates back 2,500 years. Though not invented by Greeks themselves – Phoenicians from modern-day Lebanon deserve that honor – Greeks did create their own variation by merging Phoenician letters with those they created themselves to produce what we know today as our alphabet system.

Greek alphabet serves as the basis for many other Western scripts; even its usage can be found in Latin alphabet and Coptic Alphabet alphabets.

2. The Olympic Games began in 776 B.C.

The Olympics is one of the world’s most revered sporting events and an excellent way to recognize athletes for their efforts and celebrate achievements – but did you know they originated several hundred years earlier in Greece?

3. The Greek National Anthem Is The Longest Anthem In The World

Dionysios Solomos wrote the National Anthem of Greece which contains 158 verses – making it one of the world’s longest national anthems and designed to praise freedom while inspiring its people.

4. Greeks Are Superstitious.

Greeks are well known for their superstitions. When giving someone compliments they may huff out a breath to protect from an evil eye and they paint their roofs bright blue to ward off evil spirits. Furthermore, many Greeks believe it’s bad luck to wear high heels publicly so always make sure to bring flip-flops when visiting Greece.

3. The Greek language is the second most spoken language in the world

With more than 7,000 languages around the world, Greek stands out as an exceptional and long-lived one. Its alphabet has not changed significantly over time; letters range from alpha (a) to omega (o), with both upper case and lower case letters featured in an alphabet that covers upper and lower case letters. Greek has even provided inspiration for many modern tongues such as English!

Greek culture is famous for producing ancient philosophers such as Plato, Pythagoras and Socrates; theater; the Olympic Games; writing; literature and architecture. Greece now boasts numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Parthenon in Athens or Knossos Palace on Crete as well as popular tourist spots with some of the best beaches worldwide.

Greece is considered the birthplace of democracy from a political standpoint. As one of the first countries in history to institute a system that distributed power directly to its people, Greece continues to inspire democratic nations around the globe such as America today. You can witness its legacy first-hand by visiting Athens’ Pnyx where Athenians once congregated to cast votes in past.

Greeks are well known for their hospitality. This can be seen through concepts like filoxenia and filotimo, which translate as “love for foreigners or strangers”. Ancient Greeks believed visitors were sacred and protected by Zeus; therefore it was everyone’s duty to welcome them with open arms. Today Greeks still uphold this tradition and welcome all to their homes for a hearty meal with ouzo as their national drink.

4. The Greek language is the official language of Greece

Greece is well known for its ancient history and ruins, culture and food, beautiful island landscapes and beaches – but did you know Greek is also its official language? In fact, Greek has long been considered to be the cornerstone of Western civilization, inspiring so much in regards to art, politics and philosophy.

Greek has slowly evolved over time into its current state. There are different variations and iterations of this ancient language; Modern Greek, Katharevousa and Hellenistic are three commonly-used varieties – with Hellenistic being used for writing the New Testament of the Bible.

Pythagoras, an influential Greek mathematician who popularized philosophy and mathematics worldwide, introduced this field of knowledge and coined his famous Theorem of Pythagorean Theorem around 500 BC while founding a religious sect on Samos Island.

Greeks are famed for their sense of humor, often seen spitting at each other to protect from an evil eye. Additionally, they were pioneers in waste management by creating their first community dump around 500 B.C.

Noticeable on the Greek flag are nine blue-and-white stripes representing its national motto of “Eleftheria i Thanatos,” or “Freedom or Death”. Located in Athens and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Greece prohibits shoes that could damage historic sites like the Parthenon from wearing damaging footwear; therefore it’s wise to leave behind your stilettos when visiting some of their amazing ruins. In addition, there are stunning islands and beaches such as Santorini, Crete, Zakynthos (Navagio Beach due to the large shipwreck it holds) for you to discover as well as over 6000 islands and islets spanning its coastline – these will all add up!

5. The Greek language is the most spoken language in Europe

Greece is well known for many things, from ancient philosophers such as Plato, Pythagoras and Socrates; Olympic Games; theater; and beautiful islands to democracy which originated with them using ballot boxes to select their leaders; city states were ruled by law; they displayed great justice and fair play while boasting one of the oldest educational systems ever seen in ancient civilizations.

Modern-day Greece is famous for its stunning beaches; Mediterranean-influenced cuisine; and vibrant nightlife scene featuring everything from traditional bouzoukia and DJ-spun nightclubs. Greeks are well known for their hospitality; this spirit can be captured with two words that summarize this country: filoxenia and filotimo (pronounced fi-lox-een and fil-otimo respectively), meaning “loving foreigners,” while filotimo refers to treating everyone with dignity and respect.

Greece is home to over five languages spoken, but English remains the dominant foreign tongue, spoken by over 48% of the population; German follows at 9%; while Italian has also become increasingly prevalent; currently accounting for an 8% share.

Other languages spoken in Greece are Albanian with approximately 2,500 speakers; Western Romance language of Aromania or Vlachs related to Romanian with approximately 40,000 speakers; and Russian with 128,000 speakers in Greece. Furthermore, an estimated 160,000 Roma (Gypsy) speakers live throughout Greece.

Although Greek is the official language of Greece, the country is home to a wide array of expatriates from across the world who speak different dialects of their mother tongues. There are significant communities of Greeks living in the US, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Argentina and the Middle East – as well as Greek being taught widely at schools around the globe and Greek words still playing an integral part in science, math literature and etymology.

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