Did you know that Athens was a just small town with 10,000 residents before it became Greece’s capital?
Did you know that there are more than 6,000 Greek islands, or that the Greek merchant fleet is the largest in the world?
Modern Greece is blessed to be very famous around the world for its huge history, culture, contributions to society, its touristic attractions and its cuisine.
According to research by the EU National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), when the average person thinks about Greece, their mind immediately goes to either the country’s natural beauty or to its ancient history and culture.
Today’s list by Greek City Times, however, will be focusing on many more interesting facts about Greece that most people, even in Greece, may not know.
Here are the 20+1 fun facts and a few little secrets about Greece:
Greece is one of the sunniest countries in the world.
Greece enjoys on average more than 250 days of sunshine, or 3,000 sunny hours a year, which makes the country one of the sunniest in the world, and the sunniest in Europe.
The number of tourists visiting Greece every year totals almost 50% more than the entire Greek population.
More than 17 million tourists visit Greece every year, almost 50% over the entire population of the country.
With the exception of Luxembourg, Cyprus and Malta – each with a total population of less than one million – Greece is the only country in the world whose tourists number twice its population.
Also, tourism contributes to about 20% of the country’s GDP, which is the highest percentage statistically for any industrialised country in the world.
Greece has the largest merchant fleet in the world.
With more than 3,100 merchant ships in service, Greece has the largest fleet in the world, and controls 23.2% of the world’s total merchant fleet.
Greece has the 3rd largest olive production in the world.
Greece has more 120 million olive trees and is the third country in the world in olive production, only behind Spain and Italy.
The cultivation of olive trees began in Greece during antiquity, and in fact, some olive trees in Greece that were planted in the 13th century still bear fruit to this day.
Additionally, Greece produces more varieties of olives than any country in the world.
Greece has over 6,000 islands, islets and islets.
Even though Greece is only the 97th largest country, with a total area of 131,957 km2, it has more than 6,000 islands and islets, out of which only 170 are inhabited.
Many of Greece’s islands are considered the most famous in the world.
Among them, Santorini, which has been named the most beautiful island in the world many times by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN and many other media channels.
About 7% of the world’s marble comes from Greece.
In ancient Greece, marble was the main material that people used to build their majestic statues, columns, sculptures and temples, including the Parthenon.
Along with Italy, Greece is generally considered to have the most high-grade and luxurious marble quality in the world.
Greece has more archeological museums than any other country in the world.
Greece has more than 110 archaeological museums – more than any other country – which is an indication of the country’s archaeological wealth and rich history.
Greek is the oldest language that is still in use.
Based on archaeological findings, Greek is considered to be the oldest written language that still exists, with almost 5,000 years of continuous use – only the Chinese dispute this fact.
Greek is widely considered to be the richest language and the greatest influence on Latin-based languages.
Greece has the lowest suicide rates in the EU.
Even though suicide rates have risen dramatically in Greece over the past five years, Greece remains the country with the lowest suicide rate in the EU and second lowest in the western world behind Malta.
Prior to the economic crisis, only 3 countries worldwide (Nepal, Grenada, and St. Kitts and Nevis) had fewer suicides than Greece.
There are more than 4,000 traditional dances in Greece.
‘Zorba the Greek’, a film starring Anthony Quinn, made it known to the world how much Greeks love to dance and having a good time.
In fact, Greeks love dance so much that there are more than 4,000 different traditional dances that come from all over Greece, and this number represents only the officially recognised dances.
The female population predominates in the country.
According to the last census, the population in Greece is almost 55% women and 45% men.
As a result, almost 65% of all students in Greek universities are women.
Greek women live longer than Greek men.
Life expectancy in ancient Greece was 36 years for women and 45 years for men.
Of the children that were born, only half managed to live after the stage of infancy.
Today, life expectancy has reached 77 and 82 years for Greek men and women respectively, a statistic that ranks Greece in the top 26 countries with the highest life expectancy in the world.
No part of Greece is more than 137 kilometres away from the sea.
Greece is surrounded by sea and no part of the country is more than 137 kilometres away from the sea.
Also, the country’s coastline is the 10th longest on the planet.
Greece is the leading producer of sea sponges.
Greece has the largest sponge industry in the world, especially thanks to the island of Kalymnos, and the Greek sailors who moved to Florida, USA.
These Greek sailors taught Americans how to catch sponges without damaging them, making Florida the leading state of the sponge industry in America.
The population of Athens after the 1821 Revolution was only 10,000.
The population of Athens in 1834 was just 10,000 people.
From the moment Athens was chosen as the capital of the new Greek state to today today, its population has increased to more than 3 million inhabitants, which is about 40% of the entire Greek population.
Greek men are the 8th tallest men in the world.
Despite the stereotypes that portray Greek men as usually short, thanks to the healthy Mediterranean diet and mild climate, the male population of Greece has an average height of over 172.5 cm.
This makes them the 8th tallest male population in the world, ahead of Ireland and the United States.
The fauna of Greece is very extensive.
The enviable wildlife of the country includes 116 species of mammals, 18 species of amphibians, 59 species of reptiles, 240 species of birds and 107 species of fish.
Athens has more theatres than any other city in the world.
Athens, the place were theatre and the art of acting were born, has the most theatrical stages in the world.
There are 148 theatrical stages in Athens, which total more than New York’s Broadway or London’s West End.
Goddess Athena was chosen over Poseidon by Greeks, who named Athens after her.
According to Greek Mythology, Athena defeated Poseidon to become the guardian of Athens.
Both Gods gave the city a gift (Athena gave an olive tree and Poseidon water in the form of a spring), and the people of Athens thought the olive tree was more useful, since it could provide food, oil, and wood.
Greece was once a large rocky mass.
Greece was once a rocky mass, completely covered by the sea.
After the collision of a tectonic plate with Europe, its mountainous terrain was formed, and even today the earthquakes in the Aegean are related to the movements of this specific lithospheric plate.
80% of Greece’s surface is mountainous.
Although most people associate Greece with beaches and islands, the truth is that Greece is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe, with 80% of the country being mountainous.