Vegetation and wildlife
Since ancient times, the natural vegetation has been transformed into cultivated land, grazing, logging, etc. a big change; Forests were extensively destroyed. Macchie and Phrygana are the result of human action under specific climatic and edaphic conditions. The Mediterranean evergreen hard-leaf zone with holm oak, carob tree, wild olive tree and Aleppo pine is limited on the mainland to the coastal areas and only extends further inland in the south-west of central Greece and the Peloponnese.
Winter bare oaks, hornbeams and ash trees are characteristic trees of the sub-Mediterranean, winter bare mixed deciduous forest zone that follows them inland and upwards, in which there is no lack of evergreen plants (including the bush-shaped Kermes oak, which is resistant to cattle bites). Above is the continental mixed deciduous forest zone with Balkan oak, silver linden and turkey. In the northern mountains of Greece they are followed below the mat zone by partly extensive montane and subalpine beech and conifer forests with red beech, silver fir and black pine, in the Rhodope also with spruce; in the south corresponds to a zone with the Greek fir. Along the rivers there is floodplain vegetation with plane trees, oleanders, willows and (in the area of the estuary) salt-tolerant tamarisk trees.
Like the vegetation, the animal world of Greece is also characterized by forms of adaptation to specific environmental conditions (proximity to the coast, human encroachment). The large number of islands and isolated mountain ranges created many endemic species.
In Greece, environmental pollution is particularly evident in Athens, where summer high-pressure weather conditions often lead to smog formation. A smooth waste disposal is not always guaranteed in the metropolitan area. In 2018, forest fires in the Attica region killed around 100 people. The lively tourism leads to high environmental pollution, especially on the coasts. The illegal construction of touristically interesting areas is widespread.
In nature conservation there are national parks divided into core and peripheral zones, so-called aesthetic forests, hunting reserves, wetlands protected according to the Ramsar Convention and natural monuments. Parts of the mountain regions of Olymp, Parnassus, Parnes, the Ainos Mountains on Kefallinia, the Giona and the Pindos, the Samaria Gorge on Crete, the Vikos Gorge in Epirus, the Prespa Lake area and Cape Sunion as well as marine protected areas Alonnisos-Northern Sporades and Zakynthos have been designated as national parks. The twelve national parks cover a total area of 2909 km 2.
Traditional Greek folk music (Dimotika) still has a central role in Greek musical life and has a tradition that goes back to antiquity and includes, among other things. is documented by vase paintings. Greek folk song research (since Georgios Lambelet; * 1875, † 1945) showed that the folk melodies consist of ancient Greek and oriental influences. There are diatonic, chromatic and mixed scales, which can consist of 8, but also only 5 or 4 tones. The result is an abundance of microtonal deviations. Most of the folk songs are unanimous. One of the foundations of this folk music is a rich repertoire of folk songs of the most varied genres, some of which go back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The oldest recordings of the melodies, which are often based on church modes, date from the 17th century. A melism-rich melos is characteristic of the Greek folk song. Each interval is filled with constantly varying lecture phrases. The tetrachord, but also the fifth, are structure-forming. Sirtaki). Ballad-like chants such as: B. the Rizitika on Crete (Yannis Markopoulos). In the first half of the 20th century, café house music flourished with melancholy love songs (Amanédhes), performed among others. by the famous singer Rosa Eskenazi (* 1890s, † 1980)
Typical folk musical instruments are the three-stringed fiddle (lyra), lute and dulcimer (santouri), the pastoral longitudinal flute, the shrill-sounding wind instrument »pipiza«, clarinet and bagpipes as well as various types of drums. The most popular Greek folk musical instrument is the busuki, a long-necked lute that, among other things, through virtuosos like Vassilis Tsitsanis (* 1915, † 1984) has found its way into popular music and is inseparable from the history of rembétiko is linked. Rembétiko emerged at the beginning of the 20th century as a synthesis of Greek blues and oriental influences as the music of the urban proletariat. It experienced its heyday between the 1930s and 1950s and was among other things. cultivated by Markos Vamvakaris (* 1905, † 1972) and M. Theodorakis , who combined the style with political content. Today this music has a rather nostalgic character.
The New Wave (néo kima) has existed since the early 1960s and includes all modern influences, including pop and rock. Commercialized Busuki music dominates the tourist centers. Irregular and compound rhythms are popular in dance music, for example in the Cretan five-step dance Pentosalis, Kalamatianos (3 + 2 + 2) and Zeibekikos (4 + 5). The Sirtaki, which was specially developed for the film »Alexis Sorbas«, is a simplified form of the Haniotikos Sirtos (Sirtos from Chania).
The modern Greek church music represents a further development of the Byzantine church music (Byzantine culture).