Ten of the best Greek islands by a seasoned traveller

Billy Cotsis has travelled to 65 Greek islands and counting. Here he recalls HIS top ten favourite islands based on personal experiences, beauty, aura and history. They say that Greece has 227 inhabited and 6000 uninhabited islands. They also say that each one has a story to tell; I have been lucky enough to have…

The Republic of the Ionian Islands

When the Byzantine Empire came to an end in 1453, a number of small strongholds held out. These were eventually swept aside by the might of the Ottoman Empire; the Morea, Empire of Trebizond and the Principality of Theodosia in the Crimea circa 1475. The entire Greek world was either under the Sultan or Latin…

Back to the Future: the Hellenes of Armenia

Travelling through the picturesque mountains of Armenia, one can’t help be transformed to another time and place. This can’t be Europe! With little evidence of the hustle and bustle of a Rome and none of the pollution one would find in a big city, Armenia is a breath of fresh air. And with the absence…

From Cleopatra to Averoff, just a quiet day in Hellenic Alexandria

Alexandria, there is no place like it. A Hellenic city, still influenced by its Greek roots and a passionate Greek Community, this Mediterranean delight has had a profound effect on history and Hellenism. As I sat by the 1920’s style Greek owned cafe opposite the harbour, I reflected on 2 simple questions I had asked…

Once were Greeks … the Hellenes of Auckland and New Zealand

It was at the home of school teacher Ilias Pavlidis that it hit me. Auckland is essentially Greece in disguise. For what you will find here, nestled amongst the population of 1.6 million is a small Greek community that brings to you all the wonderful aspects of filoxenia that one traditionally finds in a village….

The Despotate of Epiros: another forgotten Greek kingdom

When we think about Greek empires we tend to think of the achievements of Alexander, Ptolemy, the Spartans, Corinth or the Byzantine Empire. Who can begrudge the heroic defiance of Constantine in 1453 or the last stand of Leonidas as their respective territories were challenged? Heroism, glory, romance, passion. Image credit: Wikipedia

Bulldogs Bite: Multiculturalism and Rugby League in ‘Greek’ Belmore

For sheer athleticism and history, Rugby League is a sport which can captivate and at the same time divide opinion for its ability to give itself a headache every other week. League attracts almost as many negative stories in Sydney as positive ones, which can at times frustrate the fans and those who have grown…

Football and a Greek identity in many leading clubs in Europe

It is fair to say that football was a creation of the ancient Greeks and Romans, playing a brand that required kicking ‘balls.’ The name given to the sport was episkyros by Antiphanes, eventually making its way to Rome, Alexandria and other cities. In Rome, the balls were first filled with air and as has…

A Leonidas in Brussels: an Overview of the local Greek Community

Sitting in the aptly titled Pita (Greek) Street in the centre of Brussels having a yeeros and speaking Greek…my trip to Belgium began in earnest. I had ventured here on the recommendation of a priest. A few years ago I had met Father Christos Sidiropoulos who drives from Belgium to Rotterdam in The Netherlands to…

Hellenic Romania: from Greek Colonies to Dracula

Straddling the Black Sea and bounded by Hungary to the north, I was curious by the Hellenic history of Romania and decided to pay a visit. Greek history in Romania dates back over 2700 years! Just don’t call them Eastern European… When I interviewed Ramona a friend of mine from Ploesti, a small inland city…

November 17: the day democracy died and was reborn in Athens

You can hear the screams. If you walk by the Polytexneio University in Athens as I have done many, many times in my life you can feel it. ‘Brother, lay down your weapons, we are students, we are merely protesting…’ Your heart can melt here. In 1973, the world was shocked and horrified by the…

Hellenic Crimea and the discovery of a Greek Principality

The sound of waves crashing on the shore and lush nature that traverses the interior, this could be yet another location in Greece. Instead it is something else. The peninsular at the tip of the Ukraine is known as the Crimea. Whilst it may be in dispute between Ukraine and Russia, it was virtually a…

The Luxury of a Greek Refuge: Luxembourg Hellenes

The hair on the back of my neck stood up as the packed congregation of the Greek Church sang the National Anthem. It was October 28, and the Church was filled by patriots, the local community, members of NATO and a lone tourist from Australia. They sang from the heart, as loud as their voices…

Jerusalem: Hellenic Perspective of an Incredible City

One of the most incredible cities in history, from its establishment by King David in Biblical times to the present day. It is one of the most sought after cities in the world, having been ruled by Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Crusaders, Arabs, Ottomans, British, Jordanians, Jews…. And of course the Greeks. This is not an…