Tag: Greece

Greece Attractions

Greece Attractions

Rhodes

Off the Turkish coast lies the largest island in the Dodecanese – Rhodes – which is popular with wine lovers and sports enthusiasts alike. The administrative center is Rhodes Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its inhabited old town, the Grand Master’s Palace and the old town walls. In the west of the island, which is much visited by tourists, you can visit numerous sights and destinations. The sailing and surfing schools up to the southern tip are popular, as well as the Valley of the Butterflies to the northwest and Mount Filerimos with an acropolis and the ruins of ancient Ialysos, from which you have a beautiful view of the northern tip.

Ravines and caves

Greece is home to countless canyons and caves to explore. Most are in Crete such as the Samaria Gorge – the largest gorge in Europe. 20 show caves alone are open to guided tours, the largest of which is Perama in the northwest of the country. The guided hiking trail through the stalactite cave is 1100m long. Another well-known cave, Theopetra Cave, is located in the Meteora rocks. It is home to the oldest man-made structure in the world, a stone wall that was built 23,000 years ago and partially closes the entrance.

  • Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Greece, including compulsory schooling and higher education.

Meteora monasteries

In the Thessaly plain, on the edge of the Pindus mountain range, rise 24 monastic rocks. Byzantine monks built this second most important group of monasteries after Athos 600 years ago on the Meteora rocks, which are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Six monasteries, most of which can only be reached on foot, are open to the public. Here wall paintings and Byzantine frescoes can be admired. You can also get an insight into the monastery life of the past.

Athos

At an altitude of 2033 m, the “holy mountain” Athos is located on the eastern finger of the Halkidiki peninsula and is home to 2262 monks. The orthodox monastic republic governs largely autonomously. There is a boat connection from Ouranopolis to the approximately 20 monasteries that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage and are famous for their icon painting. Only male pilgrims are allowed to enter the peninsula.

Festivals and events

Despite austerity measures, the long tradition of the festivities in Greece was able to assert itself. In addition to numerous local folk festivals that have cultural or religious origins, there are also many festivals that take place over longer periods of time. The Athens & Epidaurus Festival takes place between June and September at various locations and features art, theater and music. More information is available at www.greekfestival.gr. Other well-known events are the German-Greek reading festival on Crete or the music festival in Kallithea with electronic-alternative music.

Greece with children

The Greeks are very child-friendly people. Children are always and everywhere welcome and take part in all activities until late in the evening. In any case, your luggage should include bathing shoes, good sunscreen and mosquito repellent for the evening hours. Child discounts are generally granted up to the age of 12. One of the largest water parks can be found near Thessaloniki in Halkidiki. The tourist centers offer many attractions. In every larger town there is a Luna Park with play facilities for children. Beaches, especially in smaller bays, are particularly suitable for children because the water is mostly flat.

Greek islands

The island of love, Kithira, lies 14 nautical miles off the southern tip of the Peloponnese and offers holidaymakers wide beaches, Byzantine churches, stalactite caves and small lakes. One of the easternmost islands is Thássos, known for its fishing and historical sites. Here, too, there are numerous beautiful beaches such as Makriamos, Chrissi Amoudiá and Pefkári. On Skiathos, the visitor is rewarded with an indescribable view after a beautiful hike from the port, via the monastery Evangelistra to the Kastro. In addition, Skiathos offers a choice of almost 60 beaches.

Acropolis

The best known of the numerous city fortresses of ancient Greece is the Acropolis in Athens. Consisting of three temples in total, the most famous is the Parthenon Temple, which towers high above Athens and offers a beautiful view of the city. The current excavations have been impressively integrated into the architecture of the new museum. You should allow enough time for your visit, as it closes in the afternoon on weekends. Tickets are currently also valid for other sights around the Acropolis.

Corinth Canal

Near the city of Corinth, the Corinth Canal was dug by human hands 75 meters deep into the stone rock. As a 26 meter wide waterway, it connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf and is the most expensive canal in the world. As a tourist attraction, the view from the canal bridge is as impressive as looking up the cliffs when navigating the passage by boat.

Corinth Canal

Main Regions in Crete, Greece

Main Regions in Crete, Greece

Crete – Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos is a miniature resort town with a charming promenade for walking and a lake in the center of the town. Numerous cafes, restaurants, fish taverns, souvenir shops are located near the lake and above it. Located in the largest bay in Crete – Mirabello, this town is suitable for lovers of a relaxing holiday and romantic trips. Recently, boat trips to the island of Chrissi (golden island) have been very popular, where huge Cedars grow on the north side, and on the south side you will find the turquoise sea and a magnificent white sand beach.

Crete – Amoudara

Amoudara is a resort just a few kilometers from Heraklion with sandy beaches, nightlife, numerous bars, taverns and discos.

Wide sandy beaches stretch for almost five kilometers in length. Basically, these are municipal beaches, with the exception of some belonging to hotels. Umbrellas and deck chairs, showers, volleyball courts are available for rent. Approximately thirty meters from the shore, under water, there is a stone ridge, a kind of breakwater, which comes in handy in the bay of the village of Amudara, open to all winds.

The resort along the beach has many traditional Greek-style taverns with live music, cafes, restaurants. Here they cook and treat wonderful fish and seafood dishes, and in bars, pizzerias – delicious pizza. There is no sleep here at night either. Modern nightclubs and discos are very popular among tourists. Young people walk until dawn, and after dancing they go to meet the sun.

Along the main street of the village there are many small shops selling souvenirs and everything that can be useful on vacation, there are also several supermarkets.

In addition, Amoudara is an excellent starting point for exploring central and eastern Crete. The main sights worth visiting are the palaces of Knossos, Malia and Phaistos, the village of Fodele, the Lassithi plateau, the city of Agios Nikolaos, the island of Spinalonga, the village of Anogia, the cave of Ideon Andron, the ruins of the Venetian castle located in Paleokastro.

Crete – Bali

Bali is a small resort located in a beautiful bay with rocky grottoes and caves, so the sea is always calm here. The first mention of this place dates back to the reign of the Venetians on the island. Bali is an Arabic word and means honey. We recommend this resort to lovers of a serene holiday alone with nature, family and friends.

Crete – Georgioupolis

Traveling east from the city of Chania, 33 km. on the way to Heraklion, there is a small town surrounded by greenery called Georgioupolis. This place has only sandy beaches, many taverns and restaurants with seafood, bars, and discos. On the city beach you can see the Church of St. Nicholas, built right in the sea. A thin path of stones leads to it, but you can also swim.

4 km from Georgioupolis there is a small village that has turned into a resort area – Kavros. This place has become quite popular for those who like to combine luxury holidays in good hotels with car travel. From Kavros, every hour, a “children’s” train with open trailers leaves for the mountains, which moves along different routes, one of which is a visit to a fresh lake in Crete – Lake Kournas. This lake is located in the foothills, 4 km from the tourist resort of Georgioupolis.

Lake Kournas is of volcanic origin. Its perimeter is about 3.5 km. and there is a lake at 23-25 ​​m above sea level. Here water is collected from mountain springs. The waters of both springs come from a deep abyss at a place called Dafnomadara. The depth of the lake is 26 meters. An underwater river emerges from it through a cave after 4 km and flows into the sea.

Some believe that the name of the lake comes from the same name of the village of Kournas. The ancient name of the lake was different – Korissia. Subsequently, the Arabs renamed it Kurnas. Kurnas means lake in Arabic. There are no fish in the lake, but freshwater turtles are in large numbers. After visiting Lake Kournas, you can rent a water bike, ride along the lake and swim.

Attention should be paid to visiting Argyroupolis, famous for its fresh springs, which were artificially decorated by locals into small ponds, small waterfalls, magnificently descending cascades of water. 2 km from the springs of Argyroupolis is the ancient city of Lappa, famous for its well-preserved Roman baths with colorful mosaics and avocado groves.

Crete – Ierapetra

Lassithi is the eastern part of the island, the greenest in comparison with Heraklion, with a population of about 70 thousand people. The name Lassithi comes from the ancient Greek word “lastos” – densely overgrown. The main part of the population is engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry. This area is home to the famous palm-fringed Vai Beach, where the Bounty commercial was filmed. Of the historical monuments, the following are of interest:

  • Guria is one of the most remarkable excavations of the Minoan period;
  • Kato Zakros – famous Minoan palace
  • Lato or Etera – the ruins of an ancient city founded in the 7th century BC
  • Church of Our Lady of Kera with murals from the 14th-15th centuries
  • Toplou Monastery, where ancient frescoes of the 14th century and valuable icons have been preserved
  • Small nunnery Kritsa; an ancient fortress on the island of Spinalonga, in the former serving as a fortification.

In addition to historical and archaeological monuments, you can visit a lot of interesting places here, such as the Lassithi Plateau, famous for its numerous windmills, the Dikteon Andron cave, in which Zeus was born; the city of Ierapetra is the southernmost, warmest of the well-known resorts of the island. The Lassithi area is known for its magnificent beaches, beautiful bays, beautifully indented coastline, hospitable villages.

Main Regions in Crete, Greece

 

Greece Economy, Energy and Environment

Greece Economy, Energy and Environment

The macroeconomic data of Greece restore the image of a country not only in an economic crisis, but also with structural characteristics that make the exit from this crisis a difficult process. Greece has a rather low per capita GDP, equal to just $ 25,762 measured in 2015 purchasing power parity. To this is added an unemployment rate of 27.3% (2013 data, World Bank), which rises to 58.4% among young people. The debt / GDP ratio, equal to 196.9%, is also very serious. The country’s trade balance is also suffering and records a negative trade deficit which in 2014 amounted to 26,425 million dollars.

Although a privatization program has been in place since the 1990s, the state still plays a significant role in the national economy, the underground has vast dimensions and the industry, which accounts for 13.3% of GDP, does not seem structurally capable. pulling the country out of the crisis.

Greece mainly produces cement, aluminum, olive oil, beer, tobacco, refined oil and has a developed telecommunications sector. Textile production, like what happens in other Western countries, is in decline, penalized by competition from countries with very low-cost labor such as Asia and Eastern Europe. The service sector, on the other hand, contributes positively to 82.8% of GDP and is dominated by tourism. In 2013, the sector contributed over 28 billion euros to the national GDP (about 16.3% of the total), employing almost 320,000 people, or 8.9% of the employed population.

After an average annual growth of 4.6% between 2000 and 2008, starting from 2009 the country entered a very serious economic recession (-8.9% GDP growth in 2011). Athens avoided bankruptcy only thanks to successive tranches of loans of 110, 130 and 30 billion, granted by the so-called troika, in exchange for an austerity policy. The latest rescue plan, agreed between Greece and creditors in August 2015, provides for a loan of 86 billion euros over three years. In a more dramatic re-release of what happened in 2012, Germany agreed to the unpopular lending only after the Greek commitment to take drastic measures to reduce debt. The debate centered on two options: to save Greece even if it did not respect the stability pact, or to let it default with unknown consequences for the whole region, also in consideration of the fact that the Greek sovereign debt is largely held by French and German banks. However, the conditions under which the loan was granted are so harsh that many analysts doubt their applicability. According to the weekly The Economist, Greece could exit the euro in the next five years.

Among the main causes of the financial distress, in addition to corruption and public finances that have been effectively rigged for years, was the huge growth of the debt in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Although Greece joined the eurozone in January 2002, declaring that it respected the Maastricht parameters on debt (debt / GDP ratio at 60%) and deficit (deficit / GDP ratio at 3%), a subsequent Eurostat revision showed how the declared data did not correspond to the actual ones. Consequence of the state of crisis in which the country finds itself, in June 2013 the decision to close the state television, the Ert. The closure was strongly opposed by the employees, who had initially occupied the premises and then reorganized themselves through an alternative and self-financed online information channel (ertopen.com). After about two years of closure, on 11 June 2015 the ERT resumed its broadcasts regularly, after the approval in parliament of its reopening.

The energy requirement Greek is weighing on the accounts, as Greece is forced to import over 75% of the energy it consumes. National oil production is not significant and for this reason most of the crude oil is imported, especially from Russia, for about 38%. Historically, Greece has tried to replace oil with brown coal, to exploit its fields and reduce dependence on imports. However, this policy is limited by commitments in favor of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to achieve which the government has favored the use of the gas. Even the latter is largely imported: while in the 1990s it came almost exclusively from Russia (still the main supplier today), due to a policy of diversification, it now also comes from Algeria and Azerbaijan.

Greece Environment

Greece Crisis

Greece Crisis

The eurozone’s response

The first reaction was political. The heads of state and government of the member countries have been extremely eloquent in expressing their common commitment to maintaining the stability of the euro area. Their aim was to reassure the markets, but they were not convincing enough, also because the only tools at their disposal were the aforementioned ‘assistance through sanctions’ mechanisms. International markets have pointed out the obvious contradiction between the legal system of the Treaty’s no-bailout clauses and the political statements of the Eurogroup on the granting of guarantees and have begun to question not only the reliability of Greece’s credit rating., but also the credibility of the entire eurozone system.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Greece could be considered an exceptional case of lack of solidity and bad management, to the point of justifying the Eurogroup if it had decided not to intervene to avoid its bankruptcy and in the end to exclude it from the euro. Various opinions were expressed to this effect, however the exact opposite has occurred. Not only has Greece been supported, but financial assistance measures have been taken that go well beyond the non-bailout provisions foreseen in Maastricht: € 80 billion, in the form of a bilateral loan, has been secured in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, which offered an additional 30 billion. The total amount of € 110 billion is unprecedented in such assistance. Furthermore, the European organizations they ascertained that the ‘over-indebtedness virus’ was not exclusively Greek, but was affecting various other nations, leading to accumulating competitiveness deficits. This resulted in the creation of a € 750 billion support plan. According to the agreed measures, in the event of activation, the IMF will pay € 250 billion, the other European states 440 billion, again through bilateral loans; a further 60 billion will be allocated to the creation of a community assistance mechanism for states in the event of extraordinary events. The European Central Bank has endorsed these decisions and relaxed its policy on indirect financing of public debt by accepting as collateral debt instruments of commercial banks of the Member States,

In doing so, the political will has been resolutely demonstrated to tackle the eurozone’s first structural problem, the bailout from bankruptcy. The second problem, that of the loss of competitiveness, is a longer-term challenge. The question of economic direction (in the German terminology) or of economic governance (in the French expression) is, however, on the agenda. A commission headed by the President of the European Council has been set up to examine the problem. There are, of course, different approaches and divergent opinions, as has always been the case in the history of European integration, but it is a real challenge and a great moment.

Greece’s response

The government that took office following the October 2009 national elections faced an unprecedented set of problems. In addition to the two huge deficits, it had to manage a notable loss of credibility both nationally and internationally: in the domestic sphere, the promises that had been made during the electoral campaign necessarily had to be disregarded, while abroad it was necessary to rebuild trust and prestige.. The first indication of the government’s intentions was expressed through the 2010 budget and the review program of the Stability Pact. Failing to convince the markets, a few months later the government accepted an unprecedented program of fiscal consolidation and structural changes in exchange for the IMF-eurozone bailout.

The first measures applied were drastic. The salaries of the oversized Greek public sector have been cut by 25-30%; the social security system has been restructured through substantial reductions in pensions, increases in contributions and raising the retirement age; finally, the labor market has been reformed. These spending cuts and tax hikes led to a significant 45% deficit reduction in the first half of 2010. However, confidence in international markets is far from being regained. The difference in the yield of Greek bonds in the secondary market remains very high, thus preventing the government from resorting to primary long-term financing. The forecast that the measures indicated will lead to a sharp recession for at least the next two years leads markets and investors to question whether the Greek government will be able to implement the program and at the same time serve its debt. Without a doubt, the months to the end of 2010 will be crucial for Greece, as well as for the eurozone as a whole.

Conclusions

The governments of the eurozone states, including Greece, have taken very important decisions that have exceeded initial forecasts. Political leaders, regardless of their ideological connotation, national interests and public opinion pressures, have united to save not only Greece but, more importantly, the future of the euro. Through these decisions, the governments of the Eurogroup have shown how the concept of solidarity is not constituted by a moral approach to ‘good and evil’, but is rather represented by a criterion of political realism. It is equally important that these decisions have gone beyond the provisions of the Treaty, the result of the political equilibrium of past decades, and that in many countries they have been adopted with the approval of national parliaments;

It would be wrong to view these measures solely as decisions made in a state of emergency, as a way of handling an extraordinary event, without expecting them to take the form of permanent institutional changes. As in the case of every crisis, the global one has corrected and recalibrated the overall functioning of the international economic and financial systems and the patterns of production and consumption. An effective and lasting reform of the functioning of the eurozone must therefore be expected, especially if the aim is to strengthen its position in the increasingly competitive global market. In this sense, the debate on the future of the eurozone and the euro, and indirectly of the Union as a whole, has only just begun.

Finally, what conclusions can be drawn from the relationship between Greece and the euro? Due to the size and strength of its economy, Greece has so far not been a driving force or a major player in the European integration process. It has generally limited itself to queuing up, often with some difficulty and very late. In the establishment of the European support mechanism, however, Greece’s weakness managed to make it occupy a central position, something similar to what happened in the mid-1980s, when the Greek fragility within the common market was while forming he played a key role in the creation of the Mediterranean Integrated Programs, precursors of the economic policy of the Union and of the policy of social cohesion.

Greece Crisis