5 forbidden things you should know before traveling to Greece

Parthenon of Athens

Greece is a land as wonderful as surprising, full of ancestral monuments and with a warm climate all year round. But, as happens in other countries, it has its own traditions and, therefore, there are forbidden things in greece.

By this we mean peculiarities of the customs of its inhabitants who are genuinely autochthonous. That is, they do not occur in other parts of the world. And that, if we do not comply with them, we could incur an offense towards them. Next, we are going to show you five things prohibited in Greece. But first we are going to put you in context by telling you a little about the Hellenic country.

Historical Greece

Acropolis in Rhodes

Acropolis of Lindos on the island of Rhodes

Ancient Greece was born on the island of Crete around the year 2500 BC, with the call Minoan civilization. This dates back to the Bronze Age and was made up of farmers, ranchers and merchants. Likewise, it experienced its period of maximum splendor between the years 1700 and 1500 of that same era.

From that moment on, it began to decline, but had already spread to mainland Greece with the founding of city states such as Mycenae. At the same time, with their decline, there was the arrival of the Dorians, with which other cities of that type were founded such as Athens y Sparta. We are already in the 7th century BC and it is the time in which the first Olympic games were held and Homer wrote the Iliad and Odisea, works that found Western literature.

These city states flourished, giving rise to the era known as classical period. But they suffered conflicts with the Persians in wars like the doctors. These were due, in large part, to the fact that Greece was not united. To correct this, the Hellenic world grouped itself into the Corinthian League under the orders of Philip II of Macedon.

In turn, this was the father of Alexander the Great, who assumed power upon his death and turned his country into an empire. He subdued the powerful Persians and brought the Greek borders to Egypt and the current Pakistan. At the same time, he spread Hellenic culture to much of the Mediterranean. Precisely, when he died the call began hellenistic period, which was the peak of economic and cultural splendor of ancient Greece.

Mycenae Archaeological Museum

Pieces in the Archaeological Museum of Mycenae

It is the time in which philosophical currents such as Stoicism, Epicureanism or Skepticism and also when wise men like Archimedes o Euclid They dazzle with their knowledge. But it is also the time when literature reaches its maximum splendor with authors such as Apollonius of Rhodes, Callimachus, Theocritus o Menandrianus and historians like Herodotus, Thucydides o Xenophon.

And, above all, it is the stage of wonderful hellenistic art, with sculptors like Lysipo, Apollonius of Athens, Athenodorus of Rhodes o Alexander of Antioch and painters like Apelles. Works such as the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Belvedere Torso o Laocoön and his sons.

Finally, in the second century BC, after the Macedonian wars, the entire territory of Greece became a Roman protectorate and, already during the mandate of Julius Caesar, In the imperial province of Achaea.

modern Greece


The popular Monastiraki market in Athens

After many historical vicissitudes, the Greece we know today became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1829 after eight years of war through Treaty of Adrianople. However, its full recognition as a country came three years later with the arrival to the throne of Otto I Wittelsbach.

Currently, it occupies a territory of almost 132 square kilometers at the southern end of the Balkans. Its continental part ends in the Peloponnese peninsula. However, it also has several thousand islands of which 227 are inhabited. The one with the largest population is Crete, to which they follow Euboea, Rhodes y Lesbos. But you will also be familiar with many others due to their tourist attraction. For example, Patmos, Ithaca, Corfu o icaria.

The country has about eleven million inhabitants and, as you know, its capital is Athens, which is also the most inhabited city, with one and a half million. However, its metropolitan area reaches six. After it, come cities like Tesalónica, Piraeus, Heraklion, Patras o Larisa.

Today, Greece is a democratic republic that is part of the most important world organizations. Among them, the European Union, NATO, United Nations or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Five things prohibited in Greece

Monastery in Meteora

Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Meteora

Now that we know the country better, let's show you five things prohibited in Greece. Some of them are related to the rich and extensive history that we have just shown you and that has shaped a good part of its traditions. However, others are due to particularities of the nation or its concern to preserve its wealth and thirds are modern laws. Next, we are going to look at some of those things prohibited in Greece.

Lack of respect


Typical houses of Oia, in Santorini

First of all, we will tell you about some things that you could do in other countries, but that in Greece are considered disrespectful. For example, never refuse an invitation to a Greek's house. If you do, you will offend him. Also, of course, don't forget to bring a present as a token of gratitude.

Another thing that bothers them is haggling. In Greece you will see that many stores display fixed price stickers. Therefore, do not start haggling with a Greek merchant. You can politely ask him to give you a small discount, but don't get into a price dispute with him.

Moreover, do not criticize the country or its lifestyle. Hellenes are very proud of their nation and their traditions. And, above all, they boast their calm and slow way of living. The last thing they accept is for a traveler to come and explain to them how they have to behave so that their land prospers. Consequently, do not criticize aspects of daily life that you dislike. You will make them angry with you.

The food, never fast or precooked


A delicious dish of moussaka

Another thing prohibited in Greece (or almost) is pre-cooked food. Of course, you will find it in supermarkets, but if you express a preference for it, you will also bother the natives. Keep in mind that the country's gastronomy is one of the best in the world. In fact, it has contributed to international cuisine with dishes such as Musaka, gyros or pasticcio.

As you know, the first is a kind of lasagna made with eggplants. For its part, the second consists of a roast meat sandwich on pita bread garnished with tomato, onion and sauce. Finally, pastitsio is a dish of pasta, minced meat and baked cheese.

Therefore, the Greeks They highly value their food and drink. Additionally, if you visit a restaurant, it is customary to share several dishes among diners. As for schedules, lunch is usually served at two in the afternoon, while dinner never starts before nine.

Be careful not to touch monuments, another of the prohibited things in Greece

Acropolis of Athens

View of the Acropolis of Athens

In museums around the world, of course, touching paintings and sculptures is prohibited. But in Greece they have gone one step further. Keep in mind that the great monuments of the Hellenic country are more than two thousand years old. Thus, it is forbidden to touch them.

Much more punishable by law is taking stones from those places, even if they seem unimportant to us. Even, in some places, It is not allowed to use the flash of cameras because its brightness can damage monuments.

In another sense, also Eating is prohibited in the Athens metro. The inhabitants of the capital are proud of it and want to keep it pristine. Therefore, if they see you eating inside a carriage, they will report you and you will have to pay a fine. The only thing allowed is to drink water.

Peculiar hygiene habits

Greek tavern

A typical Greek tavern

Despite everything we have told you, there is another thing prohibited in Greece that will be even more curious. Is about throw toilet paper in the toilet. When we visit the Greek country, we all think that its monuments are very old. But we do not realize that their sewers belong, in many cases, to the same era.

Therefore, the accumulation of that paper in them could cause blockages, overflows and leaks. Consequently, it is prohibited to flush it down the toilet. To get rid of it, they put a trash can in the bathroom.

Do the mouza

Five fingers

La mouza It is done with the hand extended and the five fingers open

In all countries of the world there are typical gestures that tourists should know, since many are considered insults. This happens in Greece with the one we use to indicate the number five with our hands. It is dangerously similar to doing the mouza.

This means something like "go to the Devil" and is done, precisely, with the hand open and the fingers separated, while they move towards the other's face. Therefore, if we want to express the number five, it is best that we do it verbally to avoid confusion.

In conclusion, we have shown you five forbidden things in greece. As you know, each country or even city has its peculiar customs and some laws of its own. For example, in some of Spain such as Bilbao It is prohibited to sleep in the car and in other places such as the precious Sevilla play dice in the street. Therefore, visit the Hellenic country and remember these prohibitions that we have indicated to you.

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