Everything Greek You Need to Learn and Visit
This is an article “Everything Greek You Need to Learn and Visit” by Marc Pulisci.
Want to know some interesting facts about Greek culture which can inspire you to immerse in its vibrant locales? Here are some of the most fascinating ones that not many people really know about, to this day.
The Dirty Finger
Few people know this but the erudite Greeks were the first to use the dirty middle finger as an offensive gesture way back in 4th Century BC in Athens. Legend tells us that the Philosopher Diogenes first used the foul sign to a group of visitors after hearing the orator Demosthenes.
The phallic gesture has been intended to express displeasure or insult for over two millennia and the Greeks know it better as the katapygon—a term too obscene to even describe (but a quick Google search will probably give you the answer). It was widely used in Aristophanes’s comedy The Cloud and has made its way all over the world, being more prominent during the 1800s.
For similar types of ancient comedies like that of Aristophanes, pay the Herodeon in Athens a visit and experience local music and drama festivals, particularly the Athens and Epidaurus Festival every June. Get there by taking the Acropolis Line 2 metro station and book a ticket to its 4,500 restored theater.
Before the world fixed their eyes on their TV sets every year to find out who the new Miss Universe is, the Greeks first introduced a pageant for men as detailed in the ancient events of kallisteia. Ancient Greece saw full-lipped and cheek-chiselled men as the definition of true beauty or kalos kagathos. The fascination for masuline beauty is further evidenced by classical Greek sculptures between the 5th to 3rd Century BC as a ‘perfectionist’s fantasy’. That’s why similar concepts like gym fitness and athletics are also attributed to the Greeks.
Travelwise, you’ll find beautifully sculpted ancient Greek statues in the localities of Olympia where bronze statues from the Temple of Zeus still stands and the port city of Thessaloniki where an imposing monument of Alexander the Great greet visitors coming from a lovely bay promenade in the Tower of Umbrellas.
Myths about Greek Salad
Here’s one that the ancient Greeks won’t be credited for. Contrary to popular belief, today’s Greek Salad as we know it did not originate in the southeastern European country. That would be impossible since essential ingredients like tomatoes and peppers weren’t available until the Americas discovered the land in the 15th century.
Greeks called the first variation of the dish as Horiatiki or peasant salad made up mostly of the usual onions, cucumbers, feta cheese, and olives. However, the new iteration of the salad now includes tomatoes and green peppers on them which is why the Greeks really don't include it on their traditional cuisine list.
If you are looking to find some authentic Greek dishes when in the country, try the Mediterranean specialties of Klimataria in Athens where you can sample their grilled meat platter and excellent wines. Built back in 1927, this family-run tavern has a lush green garden that goes perfectly with their home-cooked salads that come in fresh daily from nearby farms.
Another great culinary find in Greece is the Varoulko seaside restaurant along the Mikrolimano harbour. Headed by renowned Michelin-starred chef Lafteris Lazarou, this seafood haven offers some of the best authentic Greek dishes that combine traditional and modern with a hint of the locale’s inspiration.
While the Greeks have definitely discovered a lot of bright ideas throughout history, there’s always something new and awesome to discover when you pay the country a visit. Just make sure you follow new normal guidelines if you plan to fly over, and always keep safe during your travels in the meantime.
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