Greece is one of the few countries in the world, along with Morocco and India, to be gifted with natural resources such as plants and herbs that cure. Kozani, in North of Greece, is known for saffron cultivation, the only such place in all of Europe. Greece is the country of olive oil, of wheat and wine, the Mediterranean trilogy, each of them with a tremendous lot of applications in cosmetics. Greece is the country where chamomile, sage, lavender, and mint grow in abundance.
Among all the wonders of Greek nature are the springs, thermal waters and the sea itself, the Mediterranean. Euripides once wrote a piece about the curing virtues of thermal and sea waters. Spring waters in Greece have been around since highest antiquity and many were considered sacred and gave way to construction of temples, like in Delphi, the Castalia spring and in Vravrona. Since the spa is the temple of the 21st century, it is only natural that thalassotherapy complexes and thermal spas are built today in exceptionally gifted places.
Hot bathing was considered an extremely healthy and refreshing experience antiquity. Athenaeus wrote at the end of the 2nd century, reports with admiration that Homer’s Heroes were all familiar with bathing, as well as with the use of olive oil for the treatment of their body. The history of bathing in ancient Greece begins from the place of the so called Gymnasium. By incorporating full washing bathing facilities into its regular program, Gymnasium created the social and architectural context for one of the earliest forms of communal bathing in ancient society and exerted a formative influence in the subsequent development of baths.
It was the Greeks, attracted by the strange phenomena of thermal springs that attempted to classify them and study their properties and effects on man. Herodotus was the first to establish the precise methods of balneotherapeutic practices, but it was Hippocrates, the most celebrated physician of antiquity, who dedicated a large section to the therapeutic properties of thermal water in his work “De aere, aquis at loci”.
He analysed its chemical and organoleptic features, described the hygienic problems of using baths in various diseases and, in general, the effects of hot and cold baths on the human body.
It is widely known that as early as the 5th century BC the beneficial properties of the sulphurous springs were already known, especially for healing skin diseases and for relieving muscular and joint pain. In the Homeric poems and in Hesiod continuous references are made to the use of baths. After the difficulties encountered in battle or long journeys, heroes welcomed the coolness or wellness of a long restorative bath. Early Greek baths were constructed near naturally occurring hot springs or volcanoes, dating back to 500 B.C.
Either the bath or simple anointing of the body generally formed part of the business of dressing for dinner. It was generally taken shortly before the δεῖπνον, or principal meal of the day. Epictetus (Diss. i. 1, 29) mentions noon as the hour, while voluptuaries bathed repeatedly.
It was the practice to take first a warm or vapour, and afterwards a cold bath, though in the time of Homer the cold bath appears to have been taken first and the warm afterwards.
The persons who bathed probably brought with them strigils, oil, and towels, or had them carried by a slave. The strigil, which was called by the Greeks στλεγγίς or ξύστρα, was usually made of iron, but sometimes also of other materials.
Ancient Greeks were some of the first to make bathing not only essential for good hygiene, but also the epitome of public life. The average routine when someone attended a bathhouse in Ancient Greece involved rubbing one’s whole body with olive oil, working out in the gym until they were sweating profusely, then scraping the sweat and oil off the body. From there, Greeks would hop in the healing water and alternate between the warm pools, sauna, and cold plunge. Then, some would indulge in a massage or even a prostitute.
The Greeks kept things pretty basic—you could work out, bathe, and have a slave watch over your things until you were done. The Romans took things to the next level by adding on services for haircuts, shaves, bloodletting, surgeries, and of course, decadent food and wine. Ancient people often hung out in bathhouses for hours at a time.
Most Greek baths were filled with very healing water; the mineral water included detoxifying clay and Epsom salt.
Additionally, the Greeks infused their water with bay laurel leaves to increase circulation and reduce pain in the body. They also added lavender oil to the tubs for a relaxing, calming effect. The Greeks were also some of the first to use hot-air baths, or steam showers. The Spartans were known for loving a good-old steam bath; the rooms would be enhanced with bay laurel, fir, pine, and juniper branches for aromatherapy.
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Sources: thermalsprings.wordpress.com, allday.com
It was President’s Obama wish to visit the Acropolis, as he stated, among first things as he stepped in Athens, on his final presidential tour . And it was meant to be private…
.. so private , the Acropolis has never been again
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Greece’s summer cruise season may have delayed in 2016 to start , as the cruise lines’ executives had noted since June, but the latest Istanbul terrorist attack has eventually favored tourist traffic and passenger arrivals unpredictably, and the season seems to promise to boost more Greece’s economy than expected till now
Since July 1, most of the biggest cruise lines announced cancelling call stops in Turkey due to the Istanbul attack, and replacing them by stops on Greek ports, not only Piraeus, but also Volos, Nafplion, Rhodes and more
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A new Salmonella enterica sub. enterica serovar seems to have caused an outbreak in Greece over two months in the first half of 2016, with 10 cases (and one asymptomatic) as of 27 May according to the latest Eurosrveillance Edition .
The findings have sparked an Alert Warning to 15 Europen Countries by an urgent inquiry (UI) that has been launched via the ECDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Information System . The WHO has been also notified .No such a case has been isolated elsewhere except Greece.
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As with any cruise, while visiting Greece, there are a few things to treasure that might surprise you and which you should no way miss them. Remember, it’s the moments that count in the journey fo life, so go for these Greek irresistible experiences.
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On this transitional critical moment, our strategic cooperation with Russia is of extremely importance, said Alexis Tsipras , on historical meeting with President Putin
On his first trip to a European Union country this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Greece Friday to visit a secluded Christian Orthodox monastic sanctuary and eye energy and privatization deals in the cash-strapped country.
Putin has made only a handful of visits to EU countries since sanctions were imposed on Moscow two years ago in response to the Ukraine crisis.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the Greek government headquarters in the Maximos Mansion at 18:25 on Friday, after a short walk from the presidential palace, where he was met by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the steps leading up to the building. Putin was accompanied by the foreign ministers of Greece and Russia and the rest of the Russian delegation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was received by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the presidential mansion on Friday, immediately after his arrival in Greece, beginning the first of a series of meetings with Greek officials during his two-day visit.
“You visit to Greece comes at a crucial time, not only for our region but for all of Europe,” Pavlopoulos said as he met the Russian president on his arrival.
“Close cooperation between Russia, the United States and the European Union to end the war in Syria is exceptionally important for our time,” the Greek president added.
Responding, Putin said it was time to “proceed with specific steps in order to exploit the opportunities that exist for strengthening bilateral relations,” while noting an impressive increase in Russian tourists visiting Greece.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, center, arrives to the port of Dafni, at Mount Athos, Greece, Friday, May 27, 2016, a day ahead of Russia’s President Putin’s visit. Russia’s president is due in financially struggling Greece Friday for a state visit that will include a trip to a 1,000-year-old, all-male Orthodox Christian sanctuary in the north of the country. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill arrived on Friday at 10:45 at Macedonia airport of Thessaloniki and left straight for his pilgrimage visit to Mount Athos.
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis and Deputy Interior Minister Maria Kollia-Tsarouha welcomed the Patriarch with whom they had a brief meeting before his departure for Ouranoupolis and the monastic community of Mt. Athos.
Metropolitan of Kassandria Nikodimos and the Consulate General of Russia in Thessaloniki Alexey Popov were also present at the reception ceremony.
The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia will visit Thessaloniki on Sunday and will make a pilgrimage at the Cathedral of Aghios Dimitrios and afterwards will attend the liturgy at the Aghios Grigorios of Palamas Cathedral.
In his statement Amanatidis pointed out the relations that bind the Greek and the Russian people adding that “we all expect with hope the message that will send the Holy and Great Synod and the heads of the Orthodox Churches that will be held on Crete in June in a world that is plagued by huge social problems underling the role of the Patriarch as a factor of the Orthodoxy’s stability.
This year marks the 1,000th anniversary of the first recorded settlement there by Russian monks, in 1016. While most of Mount Athos’ 1,500 monks are Greek-born, male Orthodox Christians are allowed to live on the peninsula as monks, which male followers of other religions can visit but not live on. The 20 monasteries on the peninsula include one Russian, one Serbian and one Bulgarian, while Romanians, Moldovans, Ukrainians and Georgians also live there.
Mount Athos occupies almost the whole of the Athos Peninsula and is declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the most unusual places in the world and the only self-governing part of the Greek State, governed by the “Holly Community”. It is a community of priests based in Karyes that follows the Julian Calendar, along with other Byzantine edicts and mores. The Holy Mountain (as it is in Greek) consists of 20 monasteries, 12 sketes and about 700 houses, cells of hermitages.
The monasteries themselves are true masterpieces of traditional Macedonian and Byzantine architecture. Inside there is an unimaginable wealth of unique treasures, religious frescoes, rare mosaics and libraries full of arte facts including miniatures, books, codices and manuscripts.
Only men are allowed entrance into Mount Athos and all are required to obtain a special entrance valid for a limited period. Women can view the monasteries from a cruise along the west coast of Mount Athos.
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Till the end of June , up to 50 ‘guest officers’ will be deployed by Europol on rotation at key points on the external border of the EU to strengthen the security checks on the inward flows of migrants, in order to identify suspected terrorists and criminals, a EUROPOL press release announced.
They will help reinforce security at the external borders of the EU by
- supporting the secondary security check process,
- by cross-checking data against data held in specialist counter-terrorist and other databases at Europol, and
- by facilitating rapid and secure information exchange between Member States.
This will not include first line border control, although the officers will work closely with those from Frontex involved in such a task. The officers will work under the responsibility and legal framework of the country of deployment.
Europol’s Management Board approved the recruitment of up to 200 counter-terrorist and other investigators for deployment to migration hotspots in Greece and other countries, EUROPOL press release said, adding that . Europol will form this pool of law enforcement officers through their secondment from national services in EU Member States.
On previous weeks, the Slovenian director of Europol’s newly-established European Migrant Smuggling Center (EMSC) Robert Crepinko, had told on an interview that 10 undercover officers had already been stationed on the islands of Chios, Samos, Lesvos and Leros where refugee registration centers are in operation, as well as in Piraeus Port, doing secondary security checks to assess the possibly dangerous migrants before they would enter the EU
Crepinko added that the Europol agents would also offer aid to the Greek authorities, in the effort to locate and stop migrant smugglers operating in Greece.
New trafficking migration routes in Europe
The Slovenian official said that “We are looking into possible new routes that the migrant smuggling networks would use and we already have some developments in the new routes that have been used by organized crime,” , citing information that migrant traffickers are exploring options through Albania and Bulgaria.
“The drop in the number of arrivals on the Greek islands was dramatic.” Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said on Friday , presenting the data of 90 percent drop on the number of migrants arriving in the Greek islands in April, compared to the previous month.
But for the first time in a year, the latest UN figures present more migrants arriving in Italy than Greece, trying to make their way into Europe
9,149 migrants arrived to the shores of Italy in April, while Greece received 3,462 people, figures of the UN’s refugee agency show.
Fewer than 2,700 people had entered in April.the European Union’s border agency Frontex said Friday, putting the drop down to the effect of the EU’s migrant agreement with Turkey and tight border controls at the Greek -FYROM border.
In March, before the EU-Turkey deal came into force, under which Ankara pledged to take back migrants from Greece, 26,971 people arrived to Greece, while 9,676 arrived to Italy.
Different countries of origin
But migrants arriving in Italy are not coming from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the three major groups trying their luck through Greece.
Asylum seekers making their way through the Mediterranean are primarily from Nigeria, Gambia, Somalia and other Sub-Saharan African nations.
Concerns that migrants will increasingly take the Italian route have prompted fears of another mass influx, leading Austria to plan to restrict access through the its Brenner border crossing with Italy, the eurobserver wrote.
The EU Commission has expressed concern over the effect this could have on the viability of the passport-free Schengen zone.
Several MEPs at the European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg.on Wednesday May 11, demanded, addressing to the European Commissioner on Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, the lift of “intermediate steps of Schengen roadmap”, and warned the Commissioner that the internal border checks could seriously harm both transport and tourism in Europe.
Rumors that move EU – Turkey agreement focus form Turkey to Greece as a “plan b”, are not real
the European Commissioner on Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos answered to the European Parliament and underled that there is only one plan based on solidarity and tackling of traffickers on EU – Turkey deal implementations. Avramopoulos stressed that “rumours can do only harm” .
These border checks are “exceptional and temporary” European Commissioner said, assuring the MEPs that the aim is to lift them by the end of the year, at the latest
This happened on parallel, on the same day that President of the European Parliament was announcing the No to to Turkey’s visa liberalisation
“The Turkish Parliament has not yet fulfilled and I stopped the process”, said Martin Schulz, explaining why the Commission sent to the European Parliament the 72 visa liberalisation benchmarks of which seven , he said are not yet met .“This is a point of disagreement, we should not hide it,” Martin Schulz added talking to the reporters on a press conference with the Turkish Minister of European Union Affairs.This happened on parallel, on the same day that President of the European Parliament was announcing the No to to Turkey’s visa liberalisation
Martin Schulz said that
the scope of Turkey’s anti-terror laws were “so far reaching that we think that some of the measures are touching not directly the fight against terrorism but, for example, the freedom of expression and of media.”
“We are trying to save the package,” Volkan Bozkır, the Turkish Minister of European Union Affairs and Chief Negotiator told the reporters .
Volkan Bozkır described as parts of the package the opening of chapters, the €3 billion plus €3 billion, energy platforms, economy and customs union and also EU – Turkey readmission agreement
The deal between the EU and Turkey to end the migrant crisis is facing “a very dangerous moment” Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir said, heightening more tension between the two sides in honoring the deal, whie Europe is seeing the recent encouraging results
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