Greece is heavy with myth. It's the playground of ancient gods; of imaginary warriors who set off on impossible voyages; and of real events and people who slip in and out of the mists of time just as if they were stories too.
Greece is soaked in the ocean. A fifth of its land mass is made up of small islands, allowing plenty of scope from a tourist's point of view for beachside villas, sun-drenched cruises and candlelit fish mezes in the balmy open air. Mainland Greece has its own attractions, including, of course, the vestiges of an august past dotted around the landscape casually and sometimes incongruously. it's easy to forget the Parthenon, in the middle of a traffic roundabout, was there before the cars. It looks like it was plonked down temporarily by an absent-minded deity who never got the chance to pop back and put it somewhere more picturesque.
In the 2 nd century BCE the Romans, less cultured than their Hellenic neighbours but considerably better at invading, invaded. Yet Ancient Greece lived on in the philosophy and art of subsequent nations. It was the cradle of western civilization for a start - the very word 'democracy' comes from the Greek. Recent times have been a bit more chequered. In the 20 th century Greece experienced a series of conflicts(often, as in the previous century, with Turkey), the odd internal coup and more changes of government than you could shake a souvlaki at.
This turbulent modern history has led many of its citizens to share the sentiments of poet George Seferis: 'Wherever I travel, Greece wounds me'. But the establishment of a parliamentary democracy in 1975 and Greece 's joining of the EEC(a forerunner of the EU) in 1981 marked the start of a more stable and prosperous era for the country. Greeks are looking to the future, and hopefully the 21 st century will be bright.