Greek peninsula is stretching out like a hands palm to touch the coast of Africa – a bridge between East and West, connecting the two worlds. A beautiful and varied nature with high mountains, lacework of coastline, blue and beguiling seas, thousands of islands, and a mild and invigorating climate with a blazing sun and light, have enabled Man to make the first staggering steps from the darkness of ignorance towards civilization.These elements together with an unknown factor, have helped Man/s spirit to give birth to human values; Philosophy, Art, Theater, Science, Democracy, have been born and perfected on this island. Greece achieved its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1829. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, it gradually added neighboring islands and territories with Greek-speaking populations.
Following the defeat of communist rebels in 1949, Greece joined NATO in 1952. A military dictatorship, which in 1967 suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country, lasted seven years. Democratic elections in 1974 and a referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy; Greece joined the European Community or EC in 1981 (which became the EU in 1992). Although the islands have been an important part of Greece since ancient times, from the island that was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – Rhodes, to Ithaca, famous home of Ulysses, hero of the Trojan War, today the Greek islands are more famous than ever. There are hundred of Greek islands, each one uniquely different from its neighbor. From dry barren islands such as Kea to lush Greek islands such as Kerkyra (Corfu). From holy islands like Patmos and Tinos to jet-set partying islands like Mykonos. Santorini fabled lost continent of Atlantis, the uniquely beautiful island is an unforgettable experience, with its sheer cliffs leading down to the sparkling waters of the Aegean. Within the hundreds of these beautiful islands there is something for everyone.
Capital of Greece, cradle of democracy, birthplace of Western Civilization – Athens is a vibrant city where old and new co-exist. The majestic Parthenon rises above the city, its ancient glory still visible in the timeworn stone, and the National Archaeological Museum holds countless treasures from Athens’ Golden Age. The birthplace of democracy, Athens offers the visitor the benefits of two worlds: the strong echoes of the past are combined with the characteristics of the modern city. Athens is lively and vibrant from dusk till dawn, 24 hours a day. Walking on the rock of Acropolis, with its breathtaking Parthenon (the peak of a man’s ability for architectural creation), the theatre of Dionysos and the wonderful Greek and Roman Agora, is an awesome experience that keeps bringing travellers to Athens for more than two thousand years.
The second largest city in Greece is Thessaloniki. It is also the capital of Macedonia, Thessaloniki was named after Alexander the Great’s sister. Tour the modern city to see numerous Byzantine Churches, the old city walls and the famous archaeological museum housing priceless collections from all over Macedonia. Recently the intact tomb of Alexander’s father Philip II was discovered in nearby Vergine. Its treasures, along with many others, are on display at the exceptional archaeological museum of Vergina.