“The city and citizens, which you yesterday described as fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality” -Plato
Continue reading Into the Myth of Atlantis and the Striking Similarities to Santorini.
Before going to a foreign country many people research the areas they are interested in and then decide where they are going to stay and what they are going to do while they are there. Some people may look at the weather or go during a certain season so that it is the most enjoyable to them. Even fewer people will research and learn about the government of the country they will be staying in and its relationship with their home country. Continue reading Architects Who Built Their Own Death Traps
I went around Santorini asking locals and tourists how much they really know about the geologic dangers on the island. A young local boy told me “The old people tell us [stories of the island] and we forget, so we make up our own stories.” He had a decent idea about the island but didn’t know a lot about the active volcano nor the active fault line on Santorini. His friend confessed to me that he knew nothing about the island and felt as if he didn’t need to know. He explained “I work and sleep here, nothing else.”
Continue reading Prepare for the Unknown
I traveled across the world for the first time to Athens, Greece with my study abroad class. The day we arrived my eyes were opened as if I have been blind to the world my whole life. As I got off the metro, the initial element that caught my eye was the curbs that were paved with marble. Then, I saw more and more floors, buildings, and everyday uses composed out of marble. I couldn’t believe it.
As time went on, I learned that the common building material was marble and limestone, and without analyzing too well, I automatically assumed that everything was made of these two materials. I was proved wrong and enlightened when I visited the acropolis museum and I saw many structeres made out of other mediums.
Most statues and buildings were made with marble.
Yet some were composed out of other materials, such as bronze. Interesting enough, the ancient Greeks were actually known for their statuary in bronze. Bronze, which is 90% copper and 10% tin, has a lower melting point than pure copper and will stay liquid longer, allowing the artists to mold it at more ease. Copper came from Greece but tin had to be imported from other places, such as Turkey. Most bronze statues were melted down to reuse for other functions but marble copies were made in their place. This is why we have more marble statues than bronze statues.
Another interesting material used for statuary was this sandstone with chunks of seashells all throughout the material. It was eroded down harshly.
The museum had artifacts from other countries that the encient Greeks associiated themselves with. Here is a sphinx from ancient egypt sculpted out of granite. Through research I found many different sphinx that were carved out of granite as well, although limestone was most common.
As I walked throughout the museum I noticed that most vases and cups were made from clay.
I also found a clay bowl filled with shards of obsidian, a volcanic glass from rapid-cooling mafic magma.
To my amazement, I found a vase shaped from diorite, an intrusive ingneous rock from intermediate-categorized magma.
I found many cups, bowls, and vases molded from silver and gold. This added to widen the variety of materiald used to make every-day-objects.
I then found jewelry that was fabricated from gold as well. But how was this crafted with such detail?
Many gold jewelry was imprinted with stamps made from a gemstone called a “sealstone” (pictured) and other forms of molds.
Other necklaces and jewelry was created with agate. Agate was discovered by a Greek philosopher named Theophratus.
Lots of other decrotave materials were made from glass.
Figure 1: The Vasilissis Amalias Avenue (Hellenic Parliament Building) in Athens, Greece (11), pictured above, has been the focus of a number of riots and protests in response to the Greek Debt Crisis that plagued the country following the 2007-2008 financial crisis. In the late months of 2009 the Great Recession was triggered with the accumulation of structural weaknesses in the Greek economy, and the Greek government undercutting its government debt and deficit level (11).
Figure 2: The European currency, the euro (pictured above) was implemented in 2002 replacing the Greek currency, drachma. The introduction of the euro into peripheral countries like Greece was done with the purpose of reducing trade costs and increasing overall trade volume across Europe (9). However, as labor costs rose in peripheral (less developed) countries like Greece, core (more developed) countries like Germany took away from these peripheral countries (12. As a result, Greece’s trade deficit rose significantly (1).
Figure 3: The streets of Plaka (pictured above) in Athens, Greece are filled with tourists. In 2009, following the global financial crisis Greece fell further into debt as its two main income sources, tourism and shipping, fell by 15% (1).
Figure 4: Overlooking Athens, Greece. With the country facing a great decline in private investment and high currency debt, Greek wages fell nearly 20% from 2010 to 2014 through deflation. As a result of falling wages, reduced income, and a rise in debt-to-GDP ratio, a severe recession fell over the country. Unemployment rose to nearly 25% from a quoted 10% in 2003 (1).
Figure 5: Even with significant cuts in government spending, and the country returning to a budget surplus in 2014, the country would be hit hard in 2015 as banks closed for weeks to prevent a complete financial meltdown (1). As a result, citizens lost their jobs and homes, and businesses and homes like the one above fell into ruins.
Figure 6: Protest signs outside the Athens University in Plaka. Following the 2015 election of Prime Minister Tsipras (11), Greece was facing its third government bailout. By the end of June, following multiple negotiations on the bailout an agreement had yet to be made and the Greek stock market closed in addition to the banks that had closed weeks before. On July 5th a majority voted to reject the bailout terms. As a result, stocks dropped with the prospect of Greece falling out of the EU. By the middle of July an agreement had been made by Eurozone leaders. However, many large debt holders and citizens who had voted on the decision were in disagreement with the negotiation terms and results (1).
Figure 7: Now in the middle of 2017, the Greek finance ministry has reported Greek government bonds approaching pre-2010 levels. While this provides evidence that Greece could be returning to some sort of economic normalcy, many people are homeless and without work (1). 71% of the homeless population in Athens became homeless in the last five years and 21.7% in the last year alone (5,6,7). Whether it’s selling flowers or playing music in the streets, many people are left finding other ways to make extra money since there are few programs that offer aid.
Figure 8: The projected tourist view of Greece is often of the ancient ruins in Athens or the white buildings and blue roofs of Santorini. However, lack of proper housing, a high homeless rate, and declined job opportunities are still the reality of many Greek citizens.
Continue reading Turmoil in the Streets- The Greek Government Debt Crisis Plagues the Country for more than a Decade