Posted: 30 Apr 2010 08:09 AM PDT
Greece is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Greece was one of the first places civilization took hold in Europe and is therefore the birthplace of many things we’re familiar with, including the Olympic Games, Western philosophy, democracy, political science, and Western literature and drama. Surrounded by the Aegean Sea on the East, the Mediterranean on the South and the Ionian Sea to the West, it’s made up of a mainland and more than a thousand islands (227 of which are inhabited).
Obviously, the sea has a huge influence on Greek life and culture, but Greece is also one of the most mountainous countries in Europe, with 80% of its land area covered by mountains. The climate of Greece is varied, with Alpine, Mediterranean and temperate zones. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful country, with varied terrain and plenty of photo-worthy features.
Below are 95 photos of Greece, covering its architecture, mountains, cities, ruins, and seas. There’s plenty of material there to inspire your designs and get your creative gears turning.
The Meteora is a complex of Eastern Orthodox monasteries built on natural sandstone pillars. It’s one of the largest and most important such complexes in Greece. The sandstone pillars are beautiful and interesting, as showcased by the photos below. At one time there were more than 20 monasteries but only six remain today. Five of those are inhabited by men and one by women.
Athens is the capital of Greece and its largest city. It’s also one of the oldest cities in the world, with a recorded history of roughly 3400 years. Classically, Athens was a very powerful city-state within the Greek empire and is credited as the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of Western civilization. It was host to the first modern-day Olympic games and had previously been host to the ancient games.
Santorini is a circular archipelago of volcanic islands in the Aegean Sea. It’s what’s left of a giant volcanic explosion that destroyed the earliest settlements. Originally, Santorini was a single island, but the volcano left a giant caldera that is now open to the Aegean Sea. There are no rivers on the islands and water has traditionally come from rain runoff collected in cisterns (though there’s now a desalinization plant on the island).
Kefalonia is the largest island in western Greece. There are two major settlements on the island, Argostolia and Lixouri, with a number of other smaller settlements. There are numerous mountains and ports on the island. There are theories that Kefalonia may have been the home of Odysseus as described by Homer.
In Greek mythology, Delphi was the home of the Delphic oracle. It was also a major site for the worship of Apollo after he slew the Python. The Temple of Apollo is one of the most recognizable ruins at Delphi (and is shown in multiple photos below). Delphi was also the site of the Pythian Games, one of the precursors of the Modern Olympics.
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands (the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea as a whole) and also the most populous. Historically, it was the center of the Minoan civilization. It’s a very mountainous island, with mountain ranges reaching more than 2,400m high. It also has more than 1,000km of coastline.
The Acropolis of Athens is the most well-known acropolis in the world. A number of recognizable ruins are located here, including the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena, and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (all of which are featured below). The Acropolis sits on a hill overlooking the modern city of Athens. It’s a very popular tourist attraction.
Elsewhere in Greece
The terrain of Greece is varied, offering terrain to suit virtually any taste. Because of the length of Greece’s shoreline, the sea plays an important part in Greek culture, but there are also plenty of mountains and other inland terrain to explore. Below are a host of additional images that depict Greek culture and landscape outside of the areas already featured.
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