Who could imagine some weeks ago that the whole world would go to “lockdown” due to the Corona Covid-19 virus, and everybody traveling needs to be for a certain period in “quarantine”? All this belonged to history, most of us thought… or the younger generation probably never heard of it before…
So let’s see how the quarantine was organized
 on Syros island in a previous century.


Since 2005, during the summer months, Omilo is organizing its Greek Language and Culture courses on the island of Syros. The Omilo students usually fly to Athens or Mykonos, and from there travel by boat to Hermoupolis, the harbor of Syros island, and capital of all Cycladic islands.

When you are about to arrive and face the harbor, you have a magnificent view over the hills of Hermoupolis and Ano Syros.  When you look to the left, on the southern extremity of the port, you also see a stone building, which once was the island’s quarantine, the “Lazaretto”. Nowadays, the building is beautifully lit at night, so it is easy to spot.

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From antiquity to today, Greece has lived through major historical events. The country was involved in many wars: Persian wars, the wars of Alexander the Great, etc. In modern Greek history, from 1821 till of today, two major wars Greece was involved in, were the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire and the 2nd World War. Every year, Greeks remember these historical events with the celebration of two national anniversaries on October 28th and March 25th. 

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Athens combines elements from classical antiquity, the Ottoman past and a modern city. Since it was under Ottoman occupation between 1458 and 1833, it also had public baths called hammams. When you come to Athens today, you can visit the Bath of the Winds or experience spa services at one of the modern hammams of the city.

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Eugene Trivizas is one of Greece’s leading writers for children. Although he studied law and specialises in criminology, he has published more than 120 children’s books and has become the most well-known and beloved Greek storyteller (or as we’d say in Greek, “paramithas”).

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Looking forward to the Christmas Period? Here below you will find information about some Christmas traditions in Greece.
In the meantime, in order to improve your listening skills,  you can click on the button above, where you will find the text in Greek as well as the Audio
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In every country some days of the year are considered as “national anniversaries” because they remind everybody of important historical events. For most of the people, as well as for public services, these days are also “public holidays”.
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Saffron, a delicious spice coming from the Krokos (crocus) flower, is growing in Greece and known since ancient times! Saffron is being used in many different ways: for its flavor in the kitchen, for its color in cosmetics and paint, for its healing properties in the pharmaceutical sector. Cleopatra saw the value of using saffron in cosmetics, in the Old Testament, it was mentioned because of its essence and Aeschylus described it as a way to dye fabric.
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When you holiday on a Greek island, you most likely enjoy having lunch or dinner in a picturesque seaside tavern. Here below a story that we found in a nice taverna on the island of Syros.

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In the following video you will see teacher Konstantinos and three other Omilo members picnicking in the background. This video is taken in the Singrou Park of Maroussi (Nord Athens), at 600 meters from the Omilo school and was made for the Omilo Quiz about Greece. Konstantinos asks two questions. He also explains more about the “sarrakosti” traditions.
Listen to the video to practice your Greek listening skills. You can read the Greek text also below the video, as well as the English translation.
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The aim of Carnival is to encourage all citizens, and visitors, to be a part of a lively, fun-filled celebration, which takes place in many venues, squares, streets and schools of villages, towns or city neighborhoods. In Greece, Carnival is a big winter celebration, during which Greeks really enjoy themselves, organize many parties and eat a lot of meat!

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