Friday 31 October 2014
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State Symbols

The Flag

The FlagThe National Flag of Greece consists of four white and five blue alternating horizontal stripes, with a white cross on the upper left corner. Blue and white are the national colours of Greece, as blue symbolizes the sky and seas and white denotes the purity of the Greek independence struggle. The cross represents the Christian religion. The nine blue-and-white horizontal stripes of the flag stand for the nine syllables of the Greek motto Eleftheria i Thanatos (Greek for Freedom or Death).


The National Anthem

The Hymn to Liberty (or Hymn to Freedom) is a poem written by Dionysios Solomos (1823) and consists of 158 stanzas. It was set to music by Nikolaos Mantzaros, (1865) and it is the longest national anthem in the world by length of text. This anthem is being performed at every closing ceremony of the Olympic Games, to pay tribute to Greece as the birthplace of the ancient Olympics.

(English translation by Rudyard Kipling)

We know thee of old
Oh divinely restored,
By the light of thine eyes
And the light of thy sword.
From the graves of our slain
Shall the valor prevail
As we greet thee,
As we greet thee again,
Hail, Liberty! Oh, Hail!

The National Emblem

The National EmblemThe national emblem of Greece, also known as the coat of arms of Greece, consists of a blue crest with a white cross totally surrounded by two laurel branches. The first Greek national emblem was provided for by the Constitution of Epidaurus of 1 January 1822.

The colours of the national emblem of the Hellenic Republic are blue and white. An additional design with golden laurel leaves appears on the caps of the military officers of the Hellenic Armed Forces as well as on the flag of the President of the Republic.

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