viewers, On this page we give the answers to the most common
questions about ancient and modern Greece which our customers have
asked us during our tours.
What happened when the ancient Greeks consulted the
Oracle of Apollo at Delphi?
Those who wanted advice from the Oracle would be required
to pay a levy and sacrifice an animal on the altar.
A male priest would then put the petitioner's question
to a priestess (pythia), whose trance-like reply
would take the form of riddles. These riddles would
then be interpreted by a priest in a manner that was
still not straightforward, but open to a number of interpretations.
did traditional Greek drama come from?
developed in the sixth century B.C. from ritual role
playing during festivals of Dionysus, the god of revelry
and wine. At first, the participants danced in groups
and were often dressed as animals. Later, singing and
dancing choruses were joined by actors wearing masks
with exaggerated features to indicate the characters
they were playing so they could be clearly seen by everyone
in the audience. The first proper plays were tragedies
in the form of episodes from myths and epic poems. Comedy
did not appear on the Greek stage until 480 B.C.
FIRST STONE THEATRE.
The first stone theatre ever built, and the birthplace
of Greek tragedy, was the theatre of Dionysus, which
was cut into the southern cliff face of the Acropolis.
The remains of a restored and redesigned Roman version
can still be seen there today.
What do we call Golden Age of Pericles?
was born in about 495 B.C. and became the greatest statesman
in Athenian history. He was a visionary, with an interest in
the arts and sciences, who transformed the look of the city
to such an extent that the period between 461 and 429 B.C. became
to known as the Golden Age of Pericles. By 461 B.C. he
had become the leader of a democratic party, and by 443 B.C.
he was both ruler and military leader of Athens. Having transferred
the Treasury to Athens from Delos, he persuaded the Athenians
to invest in a program of building and rebuilding which brought
together the best contemporary architects, sculptors, artists,
scientists and builders. The results can still be seen today.
Most notable are the buildings on top of the Acropolis, with
the Parthenon representing Pericle's outstanding legacy.
Why is classical Greek architecture
so widely admired?
and religious buildings in ancient Greece were designed and
built with the express intention of embodying perfect form and
proportion. The degree of success their architects achieved
is illustrated by the fact that their classical style has survived,
has seldom fallen out of fashion and has often dominated aesthetic
taste. Superb examples were built in Revolutionary France, Georgian
England, the newly formed United States and 19th C Athens, where
Neoclassical architecture completely dominated public building
When are the National / religious Holidays in Greece?
and tourist shops may well stay open on these days,
but public services, shops, museums and archaeological
sites will be closed.
1 / 3
New Year's day
Greek Carnival season, 3 weeks before the beginning
Ash Monday (41 days pre- Easter)
Independence day - Military parade in Athens
Good Friday, Easter, Monday
Whit Monday (50 days after Easter)
Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin
Ochi (OXI) Day - Military parade in Thessalonica
Christmas/ Boxing Day
did the tradition of the Marathon run come from?
In 490 B.C., the Greeks were facing
invasion by Darius the Great King of Persia, whose warships
landed in the bay of
Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Greeks surrounded
the enemy troops and drove them back to the sea, losing
only 192 men during the fighting, while 6,400 Persians
perished. News of the victory was taken back to Athens
a distance of 42 km (26 miles) by a runner in full armor,
who collapsed and died immediately afterwards. The modern
marathon has its roots in this heroic effort. In the
Olympics of Athens 2004 the athletes ran the same course
as in 490 BC.
Who were the seven wise men of antiquity?
The seven wise men of antiquity who
lived in Greek territories
in the 6th century BC and became known for their social
or political wisdom and prudence are:
of Miletus, Pittacus
of Mytilene, Solon
of Athens, Bias
of Rhodes, Chilon
of Sparta and Periander
What is the emblem
of Athens Olympic games?
The Athens 2004 Olympic
Games' emblem was an olive wreath - the "kotinos"
with which the Olympic winner was crowned in classical
times. It is a symbol linked with the Olympic ideals,
peace and the city of Athens, whose sacred tree
was the olive tree. Its circular shape projects
universal meanings of the unity of the world, the
circle of life and the link between time past and
sports were contested in Athens 2004?
In Athens, athletes
from nearly 200 countries competd in 28 sports in
296 events. The sports were: aquatics (diving, swimming,
synchronized swimming and water polo) · archery
· badminton · baseball · basketball · boxing · canoe-kayak
· cycling · equestrian · fencing · field hockey
· gymnastics · handball · judo · modern pentathlon
· rowing · sailing · shooting · softball · soccer
· table tennis · taekwondo · tennis · track and
field · triathlon · volleyball · weightlifting ·
Where and When is the Olympic flame lit?
The opening ceremony of the
Olympic Games is marked with the arrival of the
Olympic Flame which is taken on every occasion from
(Era's alter) Greece, the
original site of the Olympic Games. The same year
as the Olympic Games, but at the end of March. Runners
take it from Olympia to the airport, on to the host
country where runners take it from city to city.
time do Greeks eat?
Greeks tend to eat late, and they seldom eat light.
Restaurants are usually open from about noon onwards
for lunch and from 7 seven o'clock for supper, but that
is usually to catch the tourist trade. Owners
know the Athenians will not be out in force for some
time. Many of the day's specials are prepared in the
morning or at lunchtime and a dish such as moussaka
may be served lukewarm rather than piping hot - but
that is the Greek way. Typical for this hedonistic city
are late dinners at 9p.m. and nightclubs that fill around
Q Who were
the twelve gods of Olympus?
Aphrodite: The goddess of love and beauty. Apollo: The
god of the sun, of music and of prophecy. The twin bother
of Artemis and the son of Zeus and Leto. Ares: The god
of war. Artemis: The goddess of the moon and of hunting.
The twin sister of Apollo. Athena:
The goddess of wisdom, believed to have sprung fully
formed from the head of Zeus, armed and wearing her
helmet. She is often depicted with an owl. Demeter:
The goddess of the harvest and the mother of Persephone.
Hestia: The goddess of the Hearth. Hephaestus: The god
of fire and of the forge, and the husband of Aphrodite.
Hera: The queen of the gods wife of Zeus and mother
of Hephaestus. Hermes: The messenger of the gods. Depicted
with winged sandals or a winged cap. Poseidon: The god
of the sea, represented by a trident. Zeus:
The lord of the gods.
Q What about modern Greece?
lies at the southeast end of Europe. Its land mass (50 944sq miles)
is punctuated by mountains, fragmented by the sea and skirted by
a very long broken coastline. The country's most distinctive characteristic
is its many islands: between Thassos and Crete (600km/373ml) there
are 427 islands, of which 134 are inhabited. Modern Greece is divided
into nine regions which are sub-divided into departments (nomi).
The total population is about 11.000.000.
Notes: Greece under Roman occupation from 146 B C. - Greece under
the Byzantines. After the division of ad 395 the territory
of the Eastern Roman Empire comprised the Balkans, present- day
Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt. Although Latin was soon replaced as
the official language by Greek., the language of the Church and
the Near East. The Byzantine Empire developed into a Greek Christian
theocratic state, in which the Emperor and the Patriarch were interdependent
(symbolised by two- headed eagle, the emblem of the Empire).
Greece under the Franks (13c-15c).
Greece under the Turks (15c-19c).
The conquest of Greece by the Turks, which began the capture of
the Balkan territories followed by Constantinople, the capital of
the Byzantine Empire, in 1453 by Sultan Mehment II. 1821
Started the Independence war against Ottoman Empire. In 1827
the UK, Russia and France decided to intervene to enforce an armistice
'' without however taking any part in the hostilities''. The allied
fleet went to parley with the Turkish fleet anchored off Pylos
More... in Navarino Bay and ended up destroying
it. In October 1828 a French military expedition was dispatched
under General Maison, which drove out the Turks while the Russians
threatened Constantinople. The Treaty of Adrianople in 1829 accorded
autonomy to Greece, its independent status was recognised by the
Great Powers in 1830. 1830
Independent Greek State established under
the treaty of London. 1863
The Ionian islands, became part of Greece. 1881 Greece recovered
Thessaly from the Turks. 1882-1893 Building of the Corinth
canal. 1912-1913 Balkan War. Macedonia and Epiros liberated
from the Turks by the Greek army under Venizelos. Crete became part
of Greece. 1914-1919 First World War. Greece brought into
the war by Venizelos on the side of the allies. Thrace and Smyrna
awarded to Greece in 1919. 1919-1922 Great Catastrophe. New
conflict with the Turks, resulting in 1.500.000 Greeks fleeing from
Asia Minor to Europe 1940 28th of October, the beginning
of the Second World War. 1941-1944 German occupation.
1945-1949 Civil War. 1967-1974
Accession of Greece to the European Union.2001
Full member of European Union
about the Macedonian Issue ?: The
Ancient Macedonians (Greek:
Μακεδόνες, Makedónes) were an ancient
tribe which inhabited the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon
and lower Axius, north of the Mount Olympus in Greece.
Historians generally agree that the ancient Macedonians,
whether they originally spoke a Greek dialect or a distinct language,
came to belong to the Koine Greek speaking population in Hellenistic
times. The Macedonian Royal family known as the Argead dynasty
claimed ultimate Greek descent from Argos and Macedonians since
Alexander I, were admitted in the
Ancient Olympic Games, an athletic
event in which only people of Greek origin participated.
Following the two Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913
and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, most of its European
held territories were divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia.
The territory of the present-day Republic of Macedonia was then
named Južna Srbija, "Southern Serbia".
After the First World War, Serbia became part of the Kingdom of
Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1929, the Kingdom was officially
renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and divided into provinces called
banovinas. Southern Serbia (Vardar Macedonia), including all of
what is now the Republic of Macedonia, became known as the Vardar
Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
The lands governed by the Republic of Slavic Macedonia
were previously the southernmost part of the Socialist Federative
Republic of Yugoslavia. Its current borders were fixed shortly after
World War II when the Anti-Fascist Assembly for the National Liberation
of Macedonia declared the People's Republic of Macedonia
as a separate nation within Yugoslavia. After the end of the Second
World War, when Tito became Yugoslavia's president, the People's
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was established. The People's
Republic of Macedonia became one of the six republics of the
Yugoslav federation. Following the federation's renaming as the
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1963, the People's Republic
of Macedonia was likewise renamed, becoming the Socialist Republic
of Macedonia. It dropped the "Socialist" from its name in 1991 when
it peacefully seceded from Yugoslavia.
Macedonia is a geographical
and historical region of Greece. Macedonia is the largest and second
most populous Greek region. Together with the regions of Thrace
and—sometimes—Thessaly, it is often referred to informally as
northern Greece. Its territory covers most of the region of
ancient Macedon and most of the Kingdom of Macedon, famously ruled
by Alexander the Great. The name "Macedonia" was later applied to
various areas in the Roman and Byzantine Empires with widely differing
borders. By the 19th century, Macedonia had become defined as a
distinct geographical, rather than political, region in the southern
Balkans. It was ruled by the Ottoman Empire at the time but was
divided by the Treaty of Bucharest of 1913, following the Ottoman
defeat in the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria
and Albania each took control of portions of the territory, with
Greece obtaining the largest portion. Greek Macedonia covers 52.4%
of the area and contains 52.9% of the population of geographical
is a song, often regarded as the unofficial
anthem of the Greek region of Macedonia
the land of Alexander,
you drove away the barbarians,
and now you are free!
|You were and you'll
the very Pride of Greeks,
and we, the Sons of Greece
plait you a crown!!
even if they lose everything else,
they always have their Freedom!
|The Vergina Sun, Star of Verginaor
Argead Star is the name given to a symbol of
a stylized star or sun with sixteen rays. It was unearthed
in 1977 during archaeological excavations in Vergina,
in the northern Greek province of Macedonia, by Professor
|He discovered it on a golden larnax
in the tombs of the kings of the ancient kingdom of
Macedon. The symbol was discovered in the Greek
region of Macedonia and Greeks regard it as an exclusively
Greek symbol, unrelated to Slavic cultures and it is
WIPO as a State Emblem of Greece.
||The Vergina sun
on a red field was the first flag of the independent
Republic of Slavic Macedonia, until it was removed from
the state flag under an agreement reached between the
Republic of Slavic Macedonia and Greece in September
Nevertheless, the Vergina sun is still
used unofficially as a national symbol by some
groups in the country along with the new state flag.
The Greek government and many Greek people, especially
Greek Macedonians, saw it as the misappropriation of
a Hellenic symbol and a direct claim on the legacy of
Philip II. A Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman said in
January 1995 that "the symbol is Greek and has been
stolen." Nationalists on both sides subsequently associated the
symbol with the (much later) Star of Bethlehem and have
argued that their respective communities have used the symbol
for sacred purposes before the Vergina discovery. The Greek
position on the symbol has been supported by some abroad,
such as the former United States Secretary of State,
Henry Kissinger, who reportedly
told a questioner:
I believe that Greece is right
to object and I agree with Athens. The reason is that I
know history, which is not the case with most of the others,
including most of the Government and Administration in Washington.
The strength of the Greek case is that of the history which
I must say that Athens has not used so far with success.
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