Saturday, May 19, 2007

Greece today

Greece today, like almost everywhere in the world, has a big difference between the city life and provincial life. The most Greek cities you will find that they have become more impersonal. The sense of neighbourhood that existed before the 1970s has been destroyed due to the construction and preference for families to exchange their small plot with one storey family home to several architects or building companies for a floor with 2 or 3 small apartments in a "Polikatikia" (apartment block), therefore in its place have mushroomed street after street of apartment blocks. Although, many members of the same family may occupy one block the closeness and neighbourliness that was prevalent before has all but vanished. That fashion of exchange the old house with the small garden the well and the jasmines ,for one or two apartments in a block, has been immortalized in many old Greek movies that makes the older ones to retrieve nostalgic memories of a life that is gone for ever .

Most families also own at least one car and usually two or three. Little planning was given to parking facilities when the apartment blocks were built with the result that the streets double as a parking lot. No longer do you see children playing in the street and mothers sitting outside their front doors, chatting to their neighbours, whilst keeping an eye on their children. Today, in the cities, children are catered for by the provision of "platies" pleasant squares in every barrow. However, smaller children can only safely go there if an older child or adult accompanies them. Having said this, the squares do act as focal points for the local populace. Usually surrounded by cafeterias, bars and fast food outlets, they are a place for young people to meet and parade.

The traditional kafenion, the place where older men in particular would meet up for ouzo or coffee and a game of backgammon have almost disappeared. They are now relegated to the back streets of neighbourhoods and can be quite difficult to find. For a taste of what Athens used to be like before these changes watch one of the old black and white Greek films made in the 1950s and 1960s. Watching one of these old Greek films the first thing that strikes you after you have got over the lack of traffic on the roads, the clear unpolluted atmosphere and the smallness of the cityscape, is the simplicity of the life and the much lower standard of living than that which Greeks enjoy today.

Arguably, there are two reasons for the change of the city life in Greece. Firstly, in Greece today, around one third of the population live in Athens. This demographic change first began in the 1950s with economic push/pull factors. The villages and provinces, at this time, gave few opportunities for employment for young people; the way of life was hard and difficult when compared to Athens. Secondly, especially today, the increase in living standards has played a role in alienating people from each other. Having more consumer durables and luxury items to buy has meant that people need to work longer hours, often in two different jobs, in order to pay for these things.

The young Greek adult generation in their twenties and thirties are impeccably turned out. Extremely fashion and label conscious. Greek young men want and buy the latest top of the range expensive car and/or motorbike. These then become status symbols that assist them in their parade around the squares - with expensive sound systems installed in their cars to ensure that they are noticed. There has developed a certain snobbery about living in the city, especially Athens, as if by doing so you are automatically more sophisticated, more intellectual, more educated. Yet nearly every Athenian citizen has a family and their roots either on an island or somewhere in the Greek countryside of the mainland and, in the summer especially in August, they flock back 'home' like migrating birds for the celebration of Panagia (Holy Mary) in the 15th of August. just like they do in the Greek Easter holidays.

For the Greeks in the big cities the jolly outing starts on Friday and Saturday night mostly in Restaurants ,and later on (the younger ones) in cinemas ,bars clubs or live music shows. Sundays are the best for daily excursions in the country side with a traditional lunch at a Greek Tavern with grilled lamb and kokoretsi or fresh fish with ouzo and meze if they are in a seaside resort. Sunday is also a great day for the football funs with a day in the football stadium especially if is a big much between their local team and a guest team. The Greek television though ,unfortunately has taken over the 30% about of the life of an average Greek .

For shopping the Greek family in the city will mostly buy their weekly provisions from huge supermarkets and department store chains like Spar Carrefour Sklavenitis Vasilopoulos Dia and others like in the rest of Europe.Instead of the local green grosser that is disappearing slowly in the city the Greeks will buy their veggies and fruits from the local weekly market (laiki agora) that is displayed in various neighbourhoods .Clothing shopping has not yet concered by the multinational department stores in Greece and is still held by many small fashion boutiques along the high street of every barrow. Instead the household shopping ,DIY ,furniture ,electronics ,and hard ware has slowly take over from big multinationals like IKEA ,Practicer ,Dixons (Kotsovolos) ech.
To continiue read more in my article about the Modern Greek Music the modern Greek culture and traditions and the political parties in Greece.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this piece is great for my presentaion.coz its so good i'd show my friends this piece thanks!!!!

September 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg!...thanks for giving such a specific idea of how it is in greece!...

January 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey could you maybe say what jobs are common in Greece? Otherwise I love this article!

February 23, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greece rocks im doing a Report on Greece and so far it Rocks!!!!!!!! :)

February 25, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey people who wrote this it's actually very informative. Thanx and keep it commin' but i agree with the other person's comment could you include common jobs.

March 27, 2008  
Blogger admin said...

Dear friends sorry I have not included in the article common jobs in Greece, because common jobs in modern Greece are almost like everywhere else. There are many traditional professions that have been disappeared due to modernisation and financial development.
I really can't thing what is a common profession in Greece today, a huge part of the population works in the public and private sector, many Greeks are working at the Greek shipping industry but not as much as in the 50's - 70's. A smaller part works in the agriculture sector and of course, especially during the summer, a lot of Greeks work at the tourist industry.

March 27, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this article is brill, thanks for giving a really good picture of how it is on Greece.

September 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is good for my project on modern greece who ever wrote this is a nice person

February 28, 2009  

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