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Greece and 5 Places You Must Visit
Greece, which is also known as the Hellenic Republic, is located in southeast Europe. The country has a mixed heritage from the empires of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, and Byzantines. Greece is famous for its role in introducing to the world the concept of democracy, philosophy, the Olympic Games, and drama.

Be sure to try the local Mediterranean cuisine including the internationally famous Greek salad, moussaka, stifado, Greek Salad, spanakopita, Souvlaki, and mezze (a small meal) that comes with assorted accompaniments like tzatziki, grilled octopus and small fish, feta cheese, dolmades, pulses, olives, and cheese. The local brew of ouzo, metaxa, and the retsina wine are favorites among the Greeks.

History lovers will want to spend some time walking through Athens for a glimpse of the Parthenon. The acropolis is one of the most recognizable icons of Greece and is a good representation of Classical Greek culture. Other Athenian attractions include the Agora, National Archaeological Museum, Syntagma Square, the Plaka, Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon, Athens Olympic Stadium, Lycabettus Hill, the Byzantine Museum, the National Garden, and the Triumphal Arch of Galerius at Thessaloniki, Vergina.

Phaistos and Knossos are two of the best places to visit on the island of Crete. Noted as one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean sea, it has only recently been reunited with Greece in the last century after years of Ottoman rule. Crete has much to offer by virtue of its beautiful beaches, delicious food, and warm locals.

Greece is home to many castles, but the one in Rhodes is definitely not to be missed. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old town is said to be the oldest medieval town in Europe, which has been continuously inhabited. The surroundings are a mixture of ruins from ancient Greek, Byzantine monuments, medieval architecture, and Ottoman bazaars. The modern city surrounding the old city walls is contained by a long, wide beach.

The Meteora is another must-see for all visitors to Greece. It is a complex of six monasteries built atop natural sandstone rock pillars: Great Meteoron (or Transfiguration), Varlaam, St. Stephen, Holy Trinity, St. Nicholas Anapausas and Rousanou. These six remain from the original twenty that once stood on these pillars. It is extremely difficult to access these monasteries, requiring long ladders to be lashed together or large nets that can be used to haul goods and people.

Naxos Island in the Cyclades is also worth a visit for a glimpse of one of Europe's oldest churches. The Panagia Drossiani is currently still in use and has frescos dating back to the 6th century.
About the Author
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Greece holiday rentals and vacation apartments worldwide.
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