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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Greece History and Culture


Greece was the birthplace of European civilization. The period from 700BC saw the rise of the great city states of Athens, Corinth and Sparta, frequently engaged in long struggles for supremacy, and uniting only when faced with the common threat of invasion by the Persian Empire.
The zenith was reached in the 5th century BC when Athens became the cultural and artistic centre of the Mediterranean, producing magnificent works of architecture, sculpture, drama and literature. Athens lost her empire through a mutually suicidal struggle with her arch rival Sparta.
The nation was then forcibly united under Alexander the Great. After defeating the sagging military might of Persia in a number of major battles, the expansion of the empire spread Greek influence through the East as far as India and through Egypt. The empire fragmented after Alexander's death in 323BC, and the fall of Greek hegemony was completed when the country came under the sway of Rome.

Under Constantine the empire gained a new capital in Constantinople, and Greece continued under the sway of the Eastern Empire when the empire divided. The Byzantines were, however, unable to effectively defend all of their empire from invaders and only occasionally did Greece enjoy the security of effective imperial rule.
The major beneficiaries of this were the Venetians, who increased their influence in Greece and other parts of the empire. Byzantium finally fell to the Turks in 1453, although the process of conquest was already well underway by the end of the 14th century. For the next 350 years, Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire.
Many attempts were made to shake off the yoke of the Ottomans, such as the rising of 1770 which was supported by Catherine the Great. After a bitter War of Independence from 1821, a free state was declared in 1829.

The arts have been integral to Greek life since ancient times. In summer, Greek dramas are staged in the ancient theatres where they were originally performed. Greek literature's ancient heritage spans poetry, drama, philosophical and historical treatises, and travelogues.
Western civilisation's mania for logic and 'ideas' can be traced directly back to the musings of ancient Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, and the west's sciences, arts and politics are also deeply indebted to classical Greece.

A thriving visual-arts scene exists, and traditional folk crafts such as embroidery, weaving and tapestry continue. Rembetika music, with its themes of poverty and suffering, was banned under the junta, but is becoming increasingly popular among young people.


Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM

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