(Hellenic Republic, Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía, Ελληνική Δημοκρατία)
- Location: Europe
- Capital: Athens
- Language: Greek
- Population: 11,305,118 million
- Total Area: 131,990 km sq
- Currency: Euro
- Curious Alcohol fact: Though home distilleries are illegal, you will discover throughout the country.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption: 10.75
- The Most Popular Drink: Ouzo
The Ancient Greeks laid the foundation for Western civilization and if the recent economic problems are anything to go by the modern day version pales in comparison. Today Greece has a two tier political system with the social democrats currently the one in power. They preside over the mainland, which includes the capital Athens, and thousands of Greeks islands, 227 of which are uninhabited. However, if the current government cannot get Greece out of its current financial problems they will no doubt have to make way sooner than expected.
Even if Greece never produces another writer, philosopher, mathematician or scientist, the accomplishments of the Ancient Greeks would still rank the country high among the art and science elite. For the modern, Greek writers, that must act as more of a hindrance than a help. While they can no doubt draw inspiration from the likes of Plato, Socrates and Homer, it seems it impossible for them to step out on their own. They will always remain their apprentices. Even someone like Nikos Kazantzakis, author of Zorba the Greek and the Last Temptation of Christ, is, outside of Greece, largely forgotten.
Eating dinner in Greece is comparable to what most countries regard as a festival. Even on weekdays, families pack out the local Tavernas and stay there until the early hours, washing down feta cheese and olives with gallons of Ouzo. Mezedes (appetizers) are extremely popular on these occasions and visitors will often see people eating from a huge selection of small dishes in what the Greeks call a Meza table. High on life they will end their night dancing at the local nightclubs.
Where alcohol is concerned, the Greek public and the Greek government are in conflict. Recently, for example, the government tried to raise the drinking age from sixteen to eighteen. It did not go down well, but then, even if the law did go through, like the apparently prohibited home distilleries, learning to drink from an early age will most likely remain an integral part of Greek culture. Like most Mediterranean countries, drinking in Greece is a social event that takes places among family members and friends- you will rarely see people drinking by themselves. Their most popular drink is Ouzo, an anise flavored aperitif, but Greeks also like to share a big pitcher of wine at dinner.
Greece pulled off one of the biggest shocks in football history when they beat Portugual to win the 2004 European Championship. It was and still is the only international competition a Greek team, national or domestic, has won. Panathinakos also came close in 1971 when they reached the final of the 1971 European Cup, but other than that not even Olympiakos, with 38 national league titles, easily the mostly successful team in Greece, has come close. Nevertheless, soccer remains Greece’s most popular sport.
Story By World By Shotglass
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