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Greece

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15

Contents

Introduction 2

1. The face of Greece 4

2. Attica 6

3. Athens 7

4. Piraeus 8

5. The Peloponnese 9

6. Central Greece 11

7. Delphi 12

8. Crete 13

Conclusion 15

Introduction

Every person has his vocation. And a lot of great things happen when a
person follows it. One of my favourite things is travelling, that is why
I have decided to be a student at the South Ural State University at the
faculty of service and light industry. So I have chosen this profession
because I enjoy visiting different interesting places. Every country has
its tradition. And one of my best dreams is to find out something new in
other countries. It is good to read different books about other
countries’ history, geography, ways of life, and sightseeings. But if
you see it with your own eyes you get an unforgettable impression and
you can express your own opinion. I am sure that it is always
interesting to discover new things, different ways of life, meet new
people, to try different food, to learn their culture. I want to help
people to organize their holidays and to find thee best ways of
travelling. I think that the main thing of my future profession is to
make life of people more interesting and more colorful. Visiting
different countries gives us a lot of knowledge about their history,
geology, art and makes their holidays unforgettable.

So I have chosen Greece as the theme of my research work. It is one of
the most picturesque places in the world. Every one dreams to visit this
country because Greece can tell us about mankind’s past. This is a small
country with a long history, a country which has always fought for the
great ideal of freedom. By reason of its geography, the spirit of the
people who compose this country, and its position in the Eastern
Mediterranean, Greece has taken on an enduring character which makes
each generation of Greeks dependent on their forefathers and pledged to
their descendents. Therefore, the State which is answerable for Greece,
is in charge at one and the same time of yesterdays’ heritage, today’s
interest, and tomorrow’s hopes.

If you get a chance to visit it the magic of Greece works on you the
moment you set food in the country, and by combining ample leisure time
with well planned sightseeing you will find that Greece has few equals
for the wealth and variety of impressions it leaves in the mind. And
these will remain cherished memories long after the holiday itself is
over.

1. The face of Greece

It is true that Greece typifies the contrasts, geology, climate, even
paradoxes inherent in the Mediterranean region. But contrasts between
town and country, bareness and fertility, and between man dominating
nature and nature dominating man, are more marked in Greece than
anywhere else.

Although it is a geological prolongation of the Balkan peninsula, it is
a distinct world that fills the mind with unforgettable impressions. The
light is almost unnaturally clear and luminous, spilling over mountains
and flashing of the sea on to the coasts and islands. The air is clean
and fresh and scented with the aroma of countless wild flowers. More
tangible is the aura of history that enfolds you: the sophistication of
Minoan Crete, prehistoric Mycenae and megalithic Tiryns, classical
Athens, Byzantine Mystra ahd medieval Rhodes. Partly it is the timeless
background-ancient ruins and crumbling stone walls, Bronze Age
volcanoes, and the tang of the sea. Dotting a historical span of almost
4000 years is Greece’s incredible tradition of arts and crafts, ranging
from prehistoric pottery of ingenious shapes and vivid Minoan frescoes
to the incomparable sculptures of the Golden Age and Byzantium jewel
studded treasures’.

The Contrasts

Greece is always more than one expects. And with good reason. Around
every corner it seems there lurks some hidden treasures: splendid ruins
that indicate past glory and long human occupancy, a shop full of
appealing folkcraft, a beach sited bungalow resort, a stretch of
sapphire sea, or a wayside taverna inviting you to lose all sense of
time over a glass of wine. This combination of antiquity and modern
feeps the visitor hovering between reality and fantasy until the
reconciles the long history of Greece with its living present.

Then again, Greece consists of several bits of diverse geography.
Soaring mountains are separated by deep valleys, lakes and seas, its
ternal imprint. There are countless peninsulas and bays and
indentations, And, of course, innumerable islands. It is really a land
of islands, one after the other, no two alike.

The waters that almost surround the 50,000 square miles of Greece are
blue, pure and clear. They moderate its temperatures in all seasons, and
the constant sunshine gives a diamond sparkle to everything. To think of
Greece is to think of its climate, which is typically Mediterranean and
just as warm and delightful in April and October as it is July and
August.

The people

There are more than 9 million Greeks: cheerful, fun loving,
unpredictable perhaps, but full of contagious enthusiasm. One hardly
ever comes across a bored or Greek.

From the beginning, indeed, from the time when Greece was first
inhabited, some 7000 years ago, her hardly been intent on proving that
they are a special breed, fully capable of guiding their own destiny
they still are. And they still do. Their boundaries may have altered,
and they have undergone the most diverse experiences in the course of
history, but this has mounded them into a signal nation embracing
countless generations. The spirit that made this craggy land what it was
25 centuries ago, a very small corner of the earth that exercised an
influence out of all promotion to its size, still persists. Greece is
one again a living entity, responding to the call of the centuries, yet
remaining herself through time.

The Present Scene

Along with scenery, the history, the beautiful islands, brilliant
sunshine and blue seas, Greece also has to offer modern facilities in
all parts of the country. That is why it is now fast becoming one of the
favourite holiday countries in Europe and the Middle East. Almost all
the hotels are new and equipped with every up-to-date amenity. Even a
third class hotels are with a bath is the rule rather than the
exception. Travel by boat, train, airplane, or car ferry is easy and
comfortable. Reasonably cheap too. The beaches are crowd free, and there
are well-placed camping sites for the go-it alone marinas, on islands
and coasts.

The ideal way of to see Greece and to gain some insight into the true
spirit of the Greeks is by car or bus combined with ship or airplane.
The magic of Greece works on you the moment you set foot in the country,
and by combining ample leisure time with well planned sightseeing you
will find that Greece has few equals for the wealth and variety of
impressions it leaves in the mind. And these will remain cherished
memories long after the holiday itself is over.

2. Attica

Attica is the Greek area upon which ancient Athens nurtured philosophy
and democracy. In this little corner of the earth the vitality of the
Greeks found expression in all creative fields, and their thoughts
helped to transform the whole outlook of Western man by the immortal and
splendid Attic Civilization.

First inhabited in the 4th millennium B.C. by Pelasgians and later by
lonians, possesses strong links with the historical past and there is
hardly a part of the region where evidence of human activity centuries
old cannot be found. Place names and historical remains at Marathon,
Eleusis, Brauron, Amphiareion, Ramnous, Sounion and Athens itself
commemorate an older Greece, which in those long-gone eras exerted an
influence out of all proportion to its size.

However, this deservedly popular part of Greece does not live in the
past. Along with the scenery, the history and the clear blue sea there
are modern tourist facilities to be enjoyed in first class hotels, beach
bungalow resorts and sports grounds. Excellent roads bring most of the
beauty spots and historical sites of Attica within easy reach from
Athens.

Attica’s few small plains are intensely cultivated with grapevines,
vegetables and fruit trees. And dark olive groves everywhere.

Attica is also the most highly industrialized part of Greece and
accounts for the bulk of the country’s industry. The rivers Ilissos and
Kifissos flow across this beautiful part of Greece. They are not very
big but they are historically associated with Attica’s distant past.

The Attica coastline has been famous for its beauty from ancient times.
Geographically the region forms a triangular peninsula terminating south
at the temple-crowned Cape Sounion.

3. Athens

Greece begins in and revolves around this city, one o , the most ancient
capitals of the Western world. Cupped in a bowl on the west coast of
Attica, with the mountains Aigaleo, Parnitha (Parnes), Pendeli and
Hymettus on three sides and the Saronic Gulf on the other, it forms one
continuous city with its seaport Piraeus and the suburbs. Together they
have a population of about three million. New and ever expanding, the
modern part of Athens has largely*been built In the past forty years or
so. The urban sprawl of high rise buildings reaches green suburbs as far
as the surrounding mountains and the western coast of Attica. In almost
every direction there is something to see: sparkling sea, lofty and
delicately shaped mountains, the indelible imprints of an ancient past,
and all the sophistications of twentieth-century living.

Athens was first inhabited some 6,000 years ago by Pelasgians and later
by lonians who found the great rock of the Acropolis, or Upper City as
the name implies in Greek, a nature stronghold. As the city grew, it was
dedicated and named after the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena.

It enjoyed its first flourishing period in the Mycenaean era (1600–1100
B.C.). At the end of the 6th century B.C. tyranny (rule by a king) was
overthrown and the democratic form of government which followed led to
unprecedented achievements in the history of mankind. In the (5th
century B.C. – the «golden age» of Athens –, under the enlightened
leadership of Pericles, Athens had its full development in the fields of
culture, commerce and military strength.

During the Hellenistic and the (Byzantine periods Athens was с secondary
city. After the Greek liberation from the Turks in 183it was proclaimed
capital of Greece.

4. Piraeus

This principal port of Greece, and one of the largest m the
Mediterranean, is a city in its own right. It has a population of nearly
one million and is only 10 km from Athens. Its strategic importance was
established during the Classical era, about 450 B.C., when Themistocles
built the famous Long Walls which linked both cities. Large sections of
these walls can be seen today, as well as ruins of other ancient
buildings, including two ancient theatres. The ancient harbours of Zea
and Munichia are today called Passalimani and Mikrolimano, or
Tourkolimano. Zea is one of the largest marinas in the Mediterranean,
while Mikrolimano is well-known for its fish restaurants along the
waterfront, next to colourful boats and small yachts anchored in the
small harbour. It can be reached along the beautiful corniche road which
skirts the coast from Zea to Kastella and New Phaleron.

Apart from being one of the busiest ports in the Eastern Mediterranean,
Piraeus and its surrounding districts also constitute the centre around
which most of the country’s industries are concentrated. All kinds of
industrial plants, factories, metal foundries, warehouses and dockyards
are spaced out in all directions. But the city’s centre is something of
a surprise. It is well laid out and spotlessly clean with several small
parks and broad tree-lined avenues. Sea-going passengers, especially
those sailing to the Greek islands are well catered for by a number of
efficient services available at the various embarkation stages.

Both the Archaeological and Naval Museums are worth a visit, and one
should not miss seeing at least one performance at the «Veakeio», the
open-air theatre on the top of Prophitis Elias hill. From here the
panoramic view of the Saronic Gulf and the Apollo coast is truly
breath-taking at night.

The nearby towns to Piraeus (Drapetsona, Keratsini, Perama, Nikaia,
Korydallos, Kaminia and others) have their own atmosphere with
factories, little harbours and popular quarters.

5. The Peloponnese

This large peninsula technically forms an island in southern Greece and
resembles a huge mulberry leaf. For this reason it was called in the
Middle Ages Moreas (from the Greek word for mulberry). Its ancient name
was Peloponnese or Peloponnissos (the island of Pelops, the mythical
King of Phrygeia, who later ruled over Ilia and Arcadia).

From antiquity, there have been efforts to cut the Isthmus that
connected Attica to the Peloponnese. The cutting was eventually effected
in the 19th century A.D. when the canal was completed.

This broad peninsula covers an area of 21,439 kilometers and has a
population of about 1,000,000. Its greater part is a region of valleys
separated by towering mountain ranges rising to 2,407 meters at
Taygetos. Hills are intersected by fast flowing rivers with historic
associations: Alphios, Pinios and Evrotas. The plains of Ilia, Messinia
and Argolis are among the most fertile in Greece. The region’s 7
provinces are: Achaia, Argolis, Arkadia, Ilia, Corinthia, Lakonia and
Messinia.

There is evidence of human activity in the Peloponnese going back to
100,000 B.C. Archaeological remains from the Old Stone Age and the New
Stone Age have been discovered at Ilia, Nemea, Lerna and elsewhere. The
Peloponnese reached its most flourishing period during the Mycenaean Age
(1600–1100 B.C.), with the growth of such cities as Mycenae, Tiryns,
Pilos and Sparta all of which enjoyed a high level of civilization.

From prehistoric times, the Olympic Games were held in Olympia for
peaceful competition between athletes from cities from all over Greece
and her colonies.

During the Classical period, the rivalry between Athens and Sparta led
to the Peloponnesian War and the start of Ancient Greece’s decline.

With the coming of the Macedonians, the Peloponnese lost its
independence and Alexander the Great was recognized as the leader of a
«united» Greece. But the region’s decline continued despite a short
interval of prosperity under the Achaian Confederation and the efforts
towards further improvement by the kings of Sparta, Agis and Kleomenis.
The final blow came in 146 В.С., when the armies of the Achaian
Confederation were defeated by the Roman general Mummius. The
Peloponnese together with the rest of Greece became a Roman province.
From then onwards the r Petoponnese suffered a series of invasions by
barbarians. During those years of desolation and barbarism the whole of
the peninsula lived in obscurity. The Byzantines, following the Romans,
made the Peloponnese one of their provinces.

The Prankish rule that followed in 1204 under Godfrey de Villehardouin
saw the division of the Peloponnese int 12 fiefdoms governed by Baron
from France, Flanders and Burgundy, which accounts for the region’s
several Medieval Prankish fortresses. The three largest castles were at
Monemvassia, Maina and Mistras. This last one became later a Byzantine
town and saw many years of glory and splendour. From Mistras the Emperor
of the Byzantine Empire Constantine Palaeologo went to Constantinople in
1453 and he died fighting against the Turks of Mohammed the Second, who
then occupied Byzantium and Greece.

For almost five centuries, the Peloponnese and other parts of Greece
were under the Turkish occupation. In 1.821 the Greek War of
Independence actually begun in the Peloponnese. Following the Greek
liberation», Napoleon was for a few years until 1834 the capital of
Greece.

6. Central Greece

This part of mainland Greece is one of the largest in the country,
extending from the Aegean Sea in the east to the Ionian Sea in the west.
In the south it embraces the Saronic and the Corinth Gulfs and reaches
northwards as far as Thessaly. (For Attica see pages 17–35). Central
Greece is mostly a mountainous region dominated by the massive ranges of
Giona, Agrafa, Tymphristos, Vardoussia, Parnassus and Iti. Several small
and fertile plains and valleys lie between these mountains, their
formation determined by the rivers Sperchios, Acheloos, Kifissos,
Asopos, and Mornos. The largest lakes are Trihonis and Amvrakia in
western Greece am Iliki in eastern Greebe. The climate is not the same
everywhere, for whereas the seaboard climate is Mediterranean, the
inland and mountain regions experience bitter winters and pleasantly
cool summers. The main products in Central Greece are olive oil, wine,
cotton, cereals, rice and tobacco. In the mountain regions stock-raising
is also well developed. Ore is mined too in many-places: lead and zinc
at Lavrion, bauxite in the mountains of Parnassus an Giona, and marble
from Penteli Central Greece was the birthplace of Hellenism in very
ancient times. In fact, recorded hi-story begins in what later developed
as the most important cities in the ancient world-Athens, Thebes,
Delphi.

The region also flourished during the» Byzantine period, when cities
like Thebes were densely populated, enjoying a thriving industry and
trade.

During the Turkish occupation, Central Greece together with the
Peloponnese played an important role in the fight for freedom, since the
countless Greek insurgents could easily harry the enemy from hideouts on
the untrodden mountains of the region.

7. Delphi

The grandeur of Delphi has to be seen to be believed. Nature and ancient
ruins blend in an extraordinary way enhancing the beauty of one another
against a setting of mountains, terraces and trees. Situated at a height
of 700 meters and at a distance of 164 kms from Athens, Delphi is
impressive in all seasons. It has none of the garish quality and
noisiness that are so much a part of popular tourist centers. It is
still a village with some very good hotels and restaurants and the usual
souvenir shops.

The history of Delphi began when the first mysterious fumes, rising from
the earth below the Phaedriades rocks, gave a sacred character to the
site. Originally, the place was sacred to Gaea or Themis, the earth
goddess. Later, seafarers from Crete introduced the cult of Apollo
Delphinius. In time, the mysterious prophecies of its oracle exercised
great influence in the amcient world.

The sanctuary of Apollo was surrounded by a wall and within it the
sacred site was filled with monument’s, statues, and some twenty
treasuries – replicas of temples–which housed valuable trophies from
wars, archives and treasures. Also in the sanctuary were a small
theatre, with a seating capacity of 5,000 and the Temple of Apollo (510
B.C.). In its «Adyton», the «Holy of Holies», Pythia (the High
Priestess) sat on a tripod and delivered oracles in a state of
intoxication from the fumes emanating from the chasm below. Delphi was
consulted on all matters concerning religion, politics, and even
individual morality.

Delphi was also the centre of meetings of the Amphictyonic League (the
nearest equivalent to the United Nations Organization for the isolated
ancient Greek city-states).

Just below the main road and opposite the sanctuary there is a group of
ancient ruins called Marmaria, or the Marbles, which consists of the
remains of two temples of Athens, and a Tholos, a round Doric temple.
There are also traces of the Gymnasium where athletes taking part in the
famous Pythian Games trained.

Delphi was plundered and its treasures carried away to adorn the
capitals of its invaders, but the final blow came in 385 A.D., when the
emperor of Byzantium Theodosius ordered its abolition.

The Museum of Delphi contains excellent pieces from the Archaic and
Classical periods. Among them the Charioteer, the pediments from the
temple of Apollo, the metopes from the treasury of the Sicyonians the
«navel of the earth», the exquisite archaic statues («Kouroi») of
Kleovis and Viton, the Winged Sphinx of the Naxians and the metopes from
the treasury of the Athenians, among others They are all priceless finds
that fill the visitor with wonderment and admiration for the art and the
civilization that flourished at Delphi.

8. Crete

Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, offers yet another acceptable
impression of life – enhancing friendliness, beauty, fertility and the
accumulated spoils of time. An island of larger space and population
(500,000 inhabitants), Crete has almost unlimited advantages for a
holiday. The obvious ones are well known by now, but less common is the
knowledge that it is fast developing into a splendidly planned holiday
island, providing excellent accommodation in first class hotels, holiday
villages and garden-enclosed beach bungalow resorts designed to suit
their picturesque settings. Soft sandy beaches and seas as gentle and
vividly blue-to-green as any in the Mediterranean are a special delight
for carefree relaxation in the sun. Yet for all the progress Crete has
made in recent years, it still remains a rugged and unspoiled island.,
The Cretans still live a simple life in the wild mountainous regions, or
downland where vineyards and vast orchards of oranges and citrus fruit
slope gently to villages and townships.

A mountainous, elongated island, averaging about 55 km in width and
stretching for some 264 km from east to west, Crete is as diverse in
character as the rest of Greece. A chain of high mountains (Dikti 2,142
m, Idi 2,456 m and the White Mountains or Lefka Ori 2,454 m), divide it
into four distinct regions whose alternating scenery combines to form
the impressive beauty of the Cretan landscape. These high mountain
ranges, with their natural divisions, form the island’s four provinces:
Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion and Lassithi.

An east to west road roughly follows the northern coast with
well-surfaced access roads branching off at various points to lead to
towns and places of historical and sightseeing interest. Remains of
every period of Crete’s history lie scattered everywhere, dating from
the early Cretan and Minoan cultures to the more recent shelled
buildings of the epic Battle of Crete in May 1941.

One can get to Crete either by air from Athens or by ship from Piraeus.
The superb Minoan civilization, destroyed sometime in 1400 B.C., was
developed in Crete. The many ruins of that civilization which exist on
the island have^ stirred world interest for many years. In comparison
with that ancient civilization and the heights it reached we can say
that the later Classical and Roman ages were periods of decline for
Crete.

In 824 A.D. it was captured by the Arabs who turned it into a Saracen
Pirates’ lair from where they launched their raids in the Mediterranean
regions. They were driven away by the Byzantine General Nicephoros
Phocas (who later became Emperor of the Byzantine Empire). About 250
years later the Venetians came to Crete. Under their rule the island
knew economic and intellectual development, but this was curtailed when
the Turks occupied the island in 1699. For as long as the Turkish yoke
lasted the Cretans never ceased fighting for their freedom – which they
finally regained in 1912, when the island became part of the Greek
nation.

Conclusion

Greece is the country with the visual splendor, its contrasting
landscapes, the treasures of its parts, the people, the incredible
brightness of its light, its sculptural coasts and blue seas, and the
present; screenland, uniquely attractive. Not the most beautiful, not
the most famous, not the most important – just the one people enjoy
most. There is no place like home. But there are some place which you
can love too. I think that Greece is one of the least places which
everyone admires and consider on of the bests.

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