Greece is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture. In many parts its like an open air museum and there are many ancient ruins to explore, such as the Acropolis in Athens, the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, and the Palace of Knossos on Crete.
Greece also has a diverse landscape with mountains, forests, beaches and islands to explore and can be combined with hiking, mountain biking or sailing. Last but not least, Greece is known for its delicious food and wine, or and also raucous crowds in beach resorts knocking back the Ouzo and Raki before finding a doorway to sleep in.
History of Greece
The birthplace of Western civilisation and democracy, Greece witnessed Europe's first advanced civilisations, starting with the Cycladic (Aegean, 3200-1050 BC), and Minoan (Crete 2700-1500 BC) ending with their absorbtion into the Mycenaean on the mainland (1600-1100 BC).
These and other regional civilisations died in the Late Bronze Age Collapse bringing about the Greek Dark Ages. A volcanic winter, drought, warfare as civilisation moved from the bronze to the iron age, and societal collapse, have all been blamed but the reason is a mystery.
The end of Greek Dark Ages is dated to 776 BC, and is what we think of when we think of Ancient Greece. The stories from Greek Mythology come to us from this period and are widely known. During this time various Greek kingdoms of city states spread across the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Greek culture exploded but without political unity.
Some Greek city states in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) were controlled by the Persian Empire and it wasn't until the 320s BC that a single Greek entity was formed as Alexander III ('The Great') conquered the Persian Empire and continued to India before his army refused to go any further. This unity lasted only for the 12 years of his rule and split when he died in 330 BC.
From about 200 BC Rome became more involved in Greek affairs and eventually annexed it in 27 BC. Greek culture heavily influenced the Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire was Greek speaking rather than Latin as used in the west. The Eastern Roman Empire continued up to AD 1453 but outside of the Empire, it was considered Greek, and today is known as the Byzantine Empire.
The area of modern Greece belonged to one empire or another, ending up as part of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th century to the end of Greek War of Independence in 1832.
Greece has had a troubled modern history; revolution, corruption, war, dictatorship, German occupation in World War 2, civil war, and a military regime. The people that invented democracy only saw it return in 1974.