Reflections Of Life In Greece 2015
- by XpatAthens
- Tuesday, 22 December 2015
With Christmas around the corner and the end of the year in sight, many of us pause from shopping and cooking to look back at 2015. Some of us have reactions like ‘what was that??!’, while some others of us still prefer to count our many blessings… No matter what side of the proverbial fence you sit on – nor if you wobble back and forth like me – we can all reflect on a year that was defined by challenges, struggles, confusion…
This was a year that I often needed reminding of the reasons why I moved to Greece… Surrounded by so much that reminds of the contrary, revisiting those reasons, for me, told me that not so many of them have changed. In fact, all the things that brought me here still apply. So here I remain.
I came across two interesting articles that I want to share – one in English and one in Greek.
The first one is a piece by David Constable in the UK’s Daily Mail. He speaks about Athens as the ultimate open-air university – and reminds us of some of the things we all know and love about this city that – he says - has ‘its greatest years still ahead…’ Check it out HERE.
The second piece is a list of ‘interesting facts’ about Athens and Greece, which are quite familiar – but interesting nonetheless. At the very least, these are useful to pull out for Christmas dinner conversation. The original Greek piece is HERE and below are a few facts translated:
1. On average, around 16.5million tourists visit Greece each year.
2. 7% of the world’s marble comes from Greece.
3. Greece is the world’s 3rd largest producer of olives – with some olive trees dating back to the 13th century!
4. Greece is the world’s largest producer of natural sponges.
5. 80% of the country’s land is mountainous, without a single ‘navigable’ river
6. 12 million people speak Greek around the world.
7. In the 1950’s, literacy was around 30%. Today, it’s around 95%
8. Although there are 2,000 islands in Greece, only 170 of them are populated.
9. The population of Athens in 1834 was 10,000 people.
10. Athens has been continuously inhabited for more than 7,000 years, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe.
11. Greece enjoys 250 sunny days each year – that means more than 3,000 hours of sunlight!
12. In ancient Greece, life expectancy was 36 for women and 45 for men – with more than half of all babies not living past infancy. Today, life expectancy is 77 (men) and 82 (women).
13. 70% of Europe’s merchant marine fleet fly Greek flags. Those ships must have 75% of their crew with Greek nationality.
14. Greece has more archaeological museums than any other country in the world.
15. Around 100,000 birds from northern Europe and Asia spend winters in Greece.
16. Slaves in ancient Greece made up 40-80% of the population of the city-states. These slaves were usually prisoners of war, abandoned children, or children of slaves.
17. Greece has 116 species of mammals, 18 species of amphibians, 59 species of reptiles, 240 species of bird and 107 species of fish. Around half of the mammal species are in danger of extinction.
18. No point in Greece is more than 137 kilometres from the sea. Greece has the 10th longest coastline in the world.
With this, I wish for everyone a happy and healthy 2016, full of sunny days and many smiles!
Until next week,