Blue is everywhere you look around Greece, it is its color and sensation. It decorates our flag and our boats, it sparks through our eyes and smiles. It is in our fish, our lakes, our winds and our seas. How did we become the country of the blue?
Ever since the Greeks started counting the time, the mysterious blue color was present – or even intriguingly absent. Writing The Odyssey and The Iliad, Homer paid no respect to the blue – the sea was of „wine color” and he never-ever mentions anything about the sky. On the other hand, a bit further south on the mythological map of the known world, around what is today Cyprus, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty is born out of a blue sea foam (αφρός- aphrós). She is commonly depicted as a beautiful and grown woman and no reference to her childhood is ever recorded. Hence, we like to believe that it was the goddess Aphrodite who gave the meaning to the often used “to come out of a blue”, an expression made to depict the sudden and unexpected arrival.
The blue kept on traveling through time, leaving its noble touch on Greek land and people. The Byzantine icons and frescoes, material artifacts adorning Greek churches and monasteries for centuries and bearing witness to dynamic world in the medieval Mediterranean, are known for their distinctive shades of “Byzantine blue” – color pigment made by grinding a special oriental stone, whose price could easily surpass the price of gold in those days.
Greek flag is also all about the blue, but how it came to be there is yet another thing that needs discovering. Some say it came out of an ornamented shield, carried by the Achilles, mythical hero of the Trojan War; some claim it came directly out from the banners of Alexander the Great and some state its Byzantine ancestry. We like to believe that the blue was ever-present in Greece, rooted in traditions and everyday customs, in ancient and contemporary scenic backdrops, in an eyesight of hasty travelers and maritime merchants, Greek residents and all those who think about Greece, its painters, poets, architects and builders. We like to believe it is there because there is simply no better color to depict the country.
Blue is the fabric of Greece. It is in the sentiment of Ouzo-sipping rituals along the waterbank tavernas, in the long walks on the cliffs bordering the endless sea, in the summer theater plays still staged in the same amphitheaters as three thousand years ago. It is there while running on the beach in dawn or dancing the night away. It is in the food-sharing philosophy and al-fresco dining. In the ancient and recent monuments, radiating from our classic and modern heritage.
Halkidiki is the blue heaven too. The Aegean surrounding its trident peninsulas, skies over the snow-capped Olympus, along its mountainous lakes and fisherman’s barges, the color of Greece is universal here. Alongside the lengthy Boussulas beach and Afythos cliffs, around the orchards and lush hiking routes, in the Sani Marina and surrounding the Sani Hill - the blue is here to stay.