25 Fascinating Facts About Modern Greece

Modern Greece is blessed and at the same time “doomed” to be famous for its immense history, culture, contributions to the world, and the historical figures it has produced. This is why when the average person thinks of Greece their mind automatically goes either to its natural beauty or to contemplating its vibrant ancient history. On today’s list however, we focus on the wonder and beauty of modern Greece and won’t mention ancient Greece at all, which, trust us, wasn’t easy.

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The Country with the Largest Maritime Fleet in the World, Statistically Speaking


With more than 3,100 merchant ships in service, Greece has the second-largest fleet in the world behind Japan and the largest statistically by far. Aristotle Onassis was one of the best known shipping businessmen in history and at his peak he was considered to be the richest man in the world.


Greeks Celebrate “Name Days” More Than Birthdays


In Greece one’s birthday traditionally isn’t the day each individual will have the biggest party. According to Greek tradition there’s a ‘’Name Day’’ for that. Each Orthodox Christian saint has a name day on which he or she is celebrated by the Church. People who share the same name also celebrate the day, often receive gifts from friends and family, and have huge parties that include lots of food, wine, dancing, and plate breaking.


Greece Has the Most Archaeological Museums in the World


Taking into account the country’s rich history and culture this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The most famous of all is the new Acropolis Museum that lies on a hill below the Parthenon. The museum has received several awards already and set a record in its first two months of operation: according to the museum’s website it was visited in its first sixty days by 523,540 people (an average of 9,200 a day) from 180 different countries.


Greece Isn’t Really the Country’s Name


The Greeks refer to their country as Hellas or Ellada and its official name is the Hellenic Republic. However, the vast majority of the world calls Greece, well . . . Greece. Why? The English word derives from the Latin Graecia, which was used by the Romans, and literally means “The land of the Greeks.”


Greece Was the First Country During WWII to Defeat an Axis Power 


The Greek army, though outnumbered three to one, was able to force the fascist Italians into retreating, with only seventy-seven aircraft, up against Italy’s 463 aircraft and 163 light tanks. Mussolini had to beg Hitler for help, which heavily taxed the Nazi forces. This was the first Allied victory against an Axis Power country which made British prime minister Winston Churchill say,

“Formerly we said that the Greeks fight like heroes. Now we shall say that heroes fight like Greeks.”

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