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Athens

What Wikipedia says

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years, and the earliest human presence around the 11th–7th centuries BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent and in particular the Romans. In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, maritime, political and cultural life in Greece. In 2015, Athens was ranked the world's 29th richest city by purchasing power and the 67th most expensive in a UBS study.

 

Athens is recognised as a global city because of its geo-strategic location and its importance in shipping, finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, culture, education and tourism. It is one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe, with a large financial sector, and its port Piraeus is the largest passenger port in Europe, and the second largest in the world. The municipality (City) of Athens had a population of 664,046 (in 2011, 796,442 in 2004) within its administrative limits, and a land area of 39 km2 (15 sq mi). The urban area of Athens (Greater Athens and Greater Piraeus) extends beyond its administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,090,508 (in 2011) over an area of 412 km2 (159 sq mi). According to Eurostat in 2004, the Athens Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) was the 7th most populous LUZ in the European Union (the 5th most populous capital city of the EU), with a population of 4,013,368. Athens is also the southernmost capital on the European mainland.

 

The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery. Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament (19th century) and the Athens Trilogy, consisting of the National Library of Greece, the Athens University and the Academy of Athens.

 

Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics. Athens is home to the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, as well as the new Acropolis Museum.

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Thessaloniki

What Wikipedia says

Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the administrative region of Central Macedonia. The Thessaloniki Metropolitan Area population in 2011 reached a total of 1,104,460 inhabitants.

 

The city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. It is a popular tourist destination in Greece: in 2014 Financial Times FDI magazine declared Thessaloniki as the best mid-sized European city of the future for human capital and lifestyle.

 

Today, the city center of Thessaloniki includes the features designed as part of the plan and forms the point in the city where most of the public buildings, historical sites, entertainment venues and stores are located. The center is characterized by its many historical buildings, arcades, laneways and distinct architectural styles such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco, which can be seen on many of its buildings.

 

Also called the historic centre, it is divided into several districts, like Ladadika (where many entertainment venues and tavernas are located), Kapani (were the city's central city market is located), Diagonios, Navarinou, Rotonta, Agia Sofia and Ippodromio, which are all located around Thessaloniki's most central point, Aristotelous Square.

 

Thessaloniki is regarded as the cultural capital of the country. It is renowned for its major shopping streets and lively laneways. The city has long been known in Greece for its vibrant city culture, including having the most cafes and bars per capita of any city in Europe; and as having some of the best nightlife and entertainment in the country. Because of the city's rich and diverse history, Thessaloniki houses many museums dealing with many different eras in history. Two of the city's most famous museums include the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and the Museum of Byzantine Culture. Thessaloniki is also home of a number of festivals and events. The Thessaloniki International Trade Fair is the most important event to be hosted in the city annually.

 

Thessaloniki is home to a number of prominent archaeological sites. Apart from its recognized UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Thessaloniki features a large two-terraced Roman forum featuring two-storey stoas dug up by accident in the 1960s. The forum complex also boasts two Roman baths, one of which has been excavated while the other is buried underneath the city. The forum also features a small theater, which was also used for gladiatorial games.

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Patras

What Wikipedia says

Patras has a population of 213,984 (in 2011) The core settlement has a history spanning four millennia; in the Roman period it had become a cosmopolitan center of the eastern Mediterranean whilst, according to Christian tradition, it was also the place of Saint Andrew's martyrdom. According to the results of 2011 census the population of the metropolitan area has a population of 260.308 and extends over an area of 738.87 km2.

 

Dubbed as Greece's Gate to the West, Patras is a commercial hub, while its busy port is a nodal point for trade and communication with Italy and the rest of Western Europe. The city has two public universities and one Technological Institute, hosting a large student population and rendering Patras a major scientific centre with a field of excellence in technological education. The Rio-Antirio bridge connects Patras' easternmost suburb of Rio to the town of Antirrio, connecting the Peloponnese peninsula with mainland Greece.

 

Every year, in February, the city hosts one of Europe's largest and most colourful carnivals: notable features of the Patras Carnival include its mammoth satirical floats and extravagant balls and parades, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors in a pleasant Mediterranean climate. Patras is also famous for supporting an indigenous cultural scene active mainly in the performing arts and modern urban literature. It was European Capital of Culture in 2006.

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Loutraki

What Wikipedia says

Loutraki (Greek: Λουτράκι) is a seaside resort on the Gulf of Corinth, in Corinthia, Greece. It is located 81 kilometres (50 miles) west of Athens and 8 kilometres (5 miles) northeast of Corinth. Loutraki is the seat of the municipality Loutraki-Perachora-Agioi Theodoroi. The town is well known for its vast natural springs and its therapeutic spas.

The town is bordered by the Gulf of Corinth in the west, while the mountain range of Geraneia dominates north and east. There is a small valley in the southwest that leads to the Isthmus of Corinth. Although part of Corinthia Prefecture, Loutraki is situated northwest of the Corinth Canal thus not on the Peloponese.

 

Sightseeing

  • The Isthmus Canal (Corinth Canal) and Ancient Diolkos at Poseidonia area.

  • The artificial waterfalls, in a place surrounded with running waters which impress the visitor.

  • The Lake of Vouliagmeni as well as the impressive lighthouse in Heraion.

  • The archaeological site of Heraion and the temple of Hera in Melagavi cape, on the western tip of the Perachora peninsula.

  • The Isthmia archaeological site and the Archaeological Museum of Isthmia. 

  • The archaeological site of the Roman villa in Katounistra, in Loutraki area.

  • The ancient Theater of classic times in ancient Krommyon in the broader area of Agioi Theodoroi.

  • The Convent of Agios Nikolaos Neou (11th cent.) and the Monastery of Agios Patapios, 6 km. northeast from Loutraki, where the saint’s relic is kept.

  • The churches of Agios Andreas, Agios Georgios, Agios Fanourios and of Panagia of Giatrissas.

  • The chapel of Agia Paraskevi

  • The Basilica of Agios Dimitrios (1750) with the great wall paintings and the temple of Seven Makavaion.

  • The historical Monastery of the Panagia tou Prathi in the slopes of Geraneia Mountain.

  • The Historical chapel of Agioi Theodoroi.

  • Alkyonides, a complex of four islets in the Corinthian Gulf. You can access their magnificent beaches by a sailing boat from Loutraki or from the bay of Stravon.

  • The coastal settlement of Schinous (28 km to the north).

  • The picturesque village Pissia on the Geraneia mountain slopes (18 km from Loutraki)

  • The coast of Mavrolimni (6 km. to the northeast from Schinous) where a private marina also operates. It’s name is attributed to its volcanic and dark bottom.

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Peloponnese

What Wikipedia says

The Peloponnese or Peloponnesus is a peninsula or physically an island and geographic region in southern Greece. It is separated from the central part of the country by the Gulf of Corinth. During the late Middle Ages and the Ottoman era, the peninsula was known as the Morea (Greek: Μωρέας), a name still in colloquial use in its demotic form (Μωριάς). The peninsula is divided among three administrative regions: most belongs to the Peloponnese region, with smaller parts belonging to the West Greece and Attica regions.

 

It was here that the Greek War of Independence began in 1821. The Peloponnesians have almost totally dominated politics and government in Greece since then.

 

The Peloponnese is a peninsula that covers an area of some 21,549.6 square kilometres (8,320.3 sq mi) and constitutes the southernmost part of mainland Greece. While technically it may be considered an island since the construction of the Corinth Canal in 1893, like other peninsulas that have been separated from their mainland by man-made bodies of waters, it is rarely, if ever, referred to as an "island". It has two land connections with the rest of Greece, a natural one at the Isthmus of Corinth, and an artificial one by the Rio-Antirio bridge (completed 2004).

 

The peninsula has a mountainous interior and deeply indented coasts. Mount Taygetus is its highest point, at 2,407 metres (7,897 ft). It possesses four south-pointing peninsulas, the Messenian, the Mani, the Cape Malea (also known as Epidaurus Limera), and the Argolid in the far northeast of the Peloponnese. Two groups of islands lie off the Peloponnesian coast: the Argo-Saronic Islands to the east, and the Ionian to the west. The island of Kythera, off the Epidaurus Limera peninsula to the south of the Peloponnese, is considered to be part of the Ionian Islands.

 

Archaeological sites

 

The Peloponnese possesses many important archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages. Among the most notable are:
 

  • Bassae (ancient town and the temple of Epikourios Apollo)

  • Corinth (ancient city)

  • Epidaurus (ancient religious and healing centre)

  • Koroni (medieval seaside fortress and city walls)

  • Kalamata Acropolis (medieval acropolis and fortress located within the modern city)

  • Messene (ancient city)

  • Methoni (medieval seaside fortress and city walls)

  • Mistra (medieval Byzantine fortress-town near Sparta and UNESCO World Heritage Site)

  • Monemvasia (medieval fortress-town)

  • Mycenae (fortress-town of the eponymous civilization)

  • Olympia (site of the Ancient Olympic Games)

  • Sparta

  • Pylos (the Palace of Nestor and a well preserved medieval/early modern fortress)

  • Tegea (ancient religious centre)

  • Tiryns (ancient fortified settlement)

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Parga

What Wikipedia says

Parga (Greek: Πάργα) is a town and municipality located in the northwestern part of the regional unit of Preveza in Epirus, northwestern Greece. The seat of the municipality is the village Kanallaki.Parga lies on the Ionian coast between the cities of Preveza and Igoumenitsa. It is a resort town known for its scenic beauty.

 

Amphitheatrically built, the city of Parga is a picturesque resort situated between the coastal region of Preveza and Igoumenitsa which uniquely combines mountain and sea. One of the most picturesque and cosmopolitan places in northwestern Greece, the “Bride of Epirus”, the beautiful Parga challenges you to experience up close its long history, its diverse natural beauty, and the hospitality of its inhabitants. Parga is at a distance of 65 km. from the airport of Aktion – Preveza and the summer months is connected with the surrounding islands (Paxos – Antipaxos – Corfu).

 

Beaches
Parga attracts thousands of tourists every summer due to natural features such as beaches. The most popular beaches are: Valtos, Kryoneri, Piso Kryoneri, Lichnos, Sarakiniko and Ai Giannaki.

 

Lichnos Beach
Lichnos Beach is one of the beaches of Parga and is located in a green and verdant landscape. It is at a distance of 4 km. away from Parga. It is surrounded by the olive groves of Parga.

 

Krioneri Beach
Krioneri Beach is the main beach of Parga and is located within the bounds of the community in short distance away from centre and quay. Across the bay is the small island of Virgin Mary, which can be accessed by swimming or by sea bike.

 

Valtos Beach
Valtos Beach is one of the longest beaches of Parga with a coastline that approaches (3 km) km. It is located just under the castle of Parga. Because of its clear and calm waters and its distance from Parga it attracts many tourists. It is covered by sand and pebbles, is quite safe as it is surrounded by the bay of the castle of Parga, and by the bay of Vlacherna, whereas the length of coastline allows the natural renewal of the water without the strong streams.

 

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Sivota

What Wikipedia says

Syvota or Sivota (Greek: Σύβοτα) is a village and a former municipality in Thesprotia, Epirus, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Igoumenitsa, of which it is a municipal unit. The population in 2011 was 875 for the village, and 2,640 for the municipal unit. The seat of the municipality was in Plataria.

 

The earliest recorded inhabitants of the region are the Thesprotians, a Greek tribe of Epirus. In antiquity, the location was called Sybota and was the site of the Battle of Syvota.

 

During the Middle Ages, Syvota, like the rest of Epirus, was part of the Byzantine Empire and the Despotate of Epirus. Under the Turks, it was called Mourtos.

 

After nearly 500 years of Ottoman rule, Syvota joined Greece in 1913, following the Balkan Wars. The coastal village of Syvota (Albanian: Murto or Vola) was home to Cham Albanians before 1944, when they were expelled for collaborating with the Axis Powers.

 

Today, Syvota town is a well-developed resort, owing largely to the numerous pristine beaches with clear waters located on several islets immediately offshore.

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Kalarites (Kalarrytes) & Syrrako

What visitgreece.gr says

These are the eagle nests of Epirus. The foot of Mt. Peristeri (or Lakmon), at 1,200 metres above sea level, is the location of these two traditional villages - facing each other as if defying gravity. Built by expert stone masons, they appear to compete in terms of history and natural beauty. Their glorious past and the financial prosperity they have known in past centuries will unfold before you as you stroll on the narrow cobblestone streets.

 

The elaborate architecture where stone is the key building material, the mansions with the arched entrances, the slab roof tiles, the stone bridges, the sculpted stone fountains, the beautiful churches of Agios Nikolaos who is the patron saint of both villages, the villages’ central squares – it is hard to say which is more beautiful – and the treasure of folk art items kept in the Syrrako Folk Art Museum all constitute irrefutable evidence of the area’s thriving financial state.

 

Kalarrytes people are renowned silver and gold smiths – it is worth noting that this is Sotiris Voulgaris’ place of origin, the founder of BVLGARI, the famous Greek jewellery house. They are also well-known tailors, tradesmen and stock farmers who have brought credit to their village in the 18th and 19th century big Mediterranean markets. As a result of the flourishing trade came education for the locals at a time when literacy was the privilege of the few in the rest of Greece.

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Kalogria Beach

What Wikipedia says

Kalogria Beach is located in NW Peloponnese, is a sandy beach area of 9 km length and 80 meters width. Is in part of an outdoor area protected by the Ramsar Convention area of the lagoon and forest Prokopou Strofylia. 

 

A natural oasis of relaxation and tranquility awaits those who reach the Kalogria Beach, where you can enjoy your holidays with your friends or your family. The natural beauty of the area, the lush oak and pine forest of Strofilia, combined with the light blue water and golden sands will amaze you.

 

In this wonderful piece of land, important and valuable habitats have developed over time. Small rivers and streams feed fresh water into the area. The mounds of sand along the coast act as a natural barrier, preventing water streams from joining the sea.

 

Thus the lake and marsh Prokopos of Lamia were formed. The area, which largely lies below sea level and gets a lot of rainfall, gathers seasonal flood waters from winter until early summer. There are a few low hills around, and, most important, the Black Mountains (240 meters).

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