Photos of Greece You Won't Find on a Postcard.

Photos of Greece You Won't Find on a Postcard.
Athens has changed a lot since I last visited in 2011. Because of the economic crisis, businesses all over Athens have been forced to close their doors. Therefore, a surplus of graffiti has turned up on Athens' streets, walls and closed doors. I was first enchanted by this Coca Cola add, because I thought to myself "only in Greece would this fly." But then I also liked the hope of businesses surviving against the backdrop of the economic downfall.

Athens has changed a lot since I last visited in 2011. Because of the economic crisis, businesses all over Athens have been forced to close their doors. Therefore, a surplus of graffiti has turned up on Athens' streets, walls and closed doors. I was first enchanted by this Coca Cola add, because I thought to myself "only in Greece would this fly." But then I also liked the hope of businesses surviving against the backdrop of the economic downfall.

This was taken inside The Grande Bertagne Hotel in Athens, Greece, directly across from Syntagma Square. Most popular photos of Greece's accommodations include a white stucco building with a balcony by the seaside. And of course we all love those accommodations, but Greece does have more to offer than those homey, quaint, island, beach-bum scenes. The Grand Bertagne Hotel in Athens has been open since the late 1800's and it has been noted that Winston Churchill even stayed there. This hotel has seen much success and is still standing almost 150 years later.

This was taken inside The Grande Bertagne Hotel in Athens, Greece, directly across from Syntagma Square. Most popular photos of Greece's accommodations include a white stucco building with a balcony by the seaside. And of course we all love those accommodations, but Greece does have more to offer than those homey, quaint, island, beach-bum scenes. The Grand Bertagne Hotel in Athens has been open since the late 1800's and it has been noted that Winston Churchill even stayed there. This hotel has seen much success and is still standing almost 150 years later.

Most of the landscapes in Greece include the seaside, and I love the seaside just as much, but probably more than anyone else. But Greece has a very diverse landscape to explore. The mountains, olive tree groves, wheat fields and populous fig trees are worth trekking out to some tucked away village to stroll, graze and dream through.


Most of the landscapes in Greece include the seaside, and I love the seaside just as much, but probably more than anyone else. But Greece has a very diverse landscape to explore. The mountains, olive tree groves, wheat fields and populous fig trees are worth trekking out to some tucked away village to stroll, graze and dream through.

This is a photo I took of my hand caressing a wheat plant. Bread is probably the most important thing for any Greek table to have. The wheat plants are beloved by every Greek, because this truly is the plant of life for us. It has religious symbolism as well as daily importance. No Greek meal is complete without local bread. I loved being in the wheat fields, communing with the nature and breathing in the fresh mountain air. It's a moment I cherish and tucked away in a special corner of my memory.

This is a photo I took of my hand caressing a wheat plant. Bread is probably the most important thing for any Greek table to have. The wheat plants are beloved by every Greek, because this truly is the plant of life for us. It has religious symbolism as well as daily importance. No Greek meal is complete without local bread. I loved being in the wheat fields, communing with the nature and breathing in the fresh mountain air. It's a moment I cherish and tucked away in a special corner of my memory.

This is the last establishment I was expecting to find in Greece, but glad I did. This was taken in The Old Town of Rethymnon, Crete, Greece. This is where my family is from and when we walked by, my cousins told me about the origins of this place. How it's practically a landmark on the island, that is owned by a native Cretan. The place has been open for at least thirty years and is still standing strong. It's a museum of recent cultural history with trinkets and nicknacks that have been collected over the decades. 

This is the last establishment I was expecting to find in Greece, but glad I did. This was taken in The Old Town of Rethymnon, Crete, Greece. This is where my family is from and when we walked by, my cousins told me about the origins of this place. How it's practically a landmark on the island, that is owned by a native Cretan. The place has been open for at least thirty years and is still standing strong. It's a museum of recent cultural history with trinkets and nicknacks that have been collected over the decades. 

This is the Church named St. Photini in Rethymnon, Crete, Greece. My cousins live footsteps away from this sacred house of worship. I went inside almost daily to light a candle and went to Sunday services there as well. Most of the Greek Orthodox Churches featured on postcards are the white-domed ones of Santorini. And as scenic as they are, this is another viewpoint of a just as beautiful but slightly more humble House of God.

This is the Church named St. Photini in Rethymnon, Crete, Greece. My cousins live footsteps away from this sacred house of worship. I went inside almost daily to light a candle and went to Sunday services there as well. Most of the Greek Orthodox Churches featured on postcards are the white-domed ones of Santorini. And as scenic as they are, this is another viewpoint of a just as beautiful but slightly more humble House of God.

This photograph was taken a bit outside of Rethmynon, at a resort along the beach. Greeks have been known for their historical and artistic importance. Greeks today still carry that artistic and whimsical spirit with them. This is not the first life-sized chess set I've seen, but it's the first one I've seen in Greece.

This photograph was taken a bit outside of Rethmynon, at a resort along the beach. Greeks have been known for their historical and artistic importance. Greeks today still carry that artistic and whimsical spirit with them. This is not the first life-sized chess set I've seen, but it's the first one I've seen in Greece.

Some postcards of Greece will feature seafood, since we are famous for it. But this simple moment in a vendor's everyday life is not usually seen. He is carefully laying the fresh catches out for passer-byers to enjoy and hopefully purchase. Seafood is one of the things I love most about my sacred homeland and this image captures everything I love and desire from Greece.

Some postcards of Greece will feature seafood, since we are famous for it. But this simple moment in a vendor's everyday life is not usually seen. He is carefully laying the fresh catches out for passer-byers to enjoy and hopefully purchase. Seafood is one of the things I love most about my sacred homeland and this image captures everything I love and desire from Greece.

This was taken in Rehthymnon, Crete, Greece as well. Southern Europe is notorious for the swarms of Gypsies that move about from one squatted spot to another. They especially have a strong presence all over Greece. Nobody however, chooses to photograph them or their lifestyle. Maybe it will detour tourists, maybe it's not romantic or desirable, but it's a very real part of Greek life. The Gypsies usually have vehicles where they keep all their worldly possessions and move about in convoys with each other. This is just a glimpse of their lifestyle.

This was taken in Rehthymnon, Crete, Greece as well. Southern Europe is notorious for the swarms of Gypsies that move about from one squatted spot to another. They especially have a strong presence all over Greece. Nobody however, chooses to photograph them or their lifestyle. Maybe it will detour tourists, maybe it's not romantic or desirable, but it's a very real part of Greek life. The Gypsies usually have vehicles where they keep all their worldly possessions and move about in convoys with each other. This is just a glimpse of their lifestyle.

Very few non-Greeks know about the Turkish occupation that lasted approximately four hundred years. The Turks invaded Greece by bloodily force, burning Churches, killing men and young boys, raping women and fighting to the death to convert us to become Muslims. This Mosque was built and left by the Turks during the early 1800's. It is a sad but important monument to have on the island. This Mosque is now used as a concert and event hall, but for me it signifies freedom. It is an important reminder of how close we came to being conquered, and how we refused to give up. Thank you to God that we can eat pork, drink wine and frolic in bikinis. That's something I don't take for granted when in Greece and remembering our painful and violent history.

Very few non-Greeks know about the Turkish occupation that lasted approximately four hundred years. The Turks invaded Greece by bloodily force, burning Churches, killing men and young boys, raping women and fighting to the death to convert us to become Muslims. This Mosque was built and left by the Turks during the early 1800's. It is a sad but important monument to have on the island. This Mosque is now used as a concert and event hall, but for me it signifies freedom. It is an important reminder of how close we came to being conquered, and how we refused to give up. Thank you to God that we can eat pork, drink wine and frolic in bikinis. That's something I don't take for granted when in Greece and remembering our painful and violent history.


All photos by author.

Anna Maria is a Greek-American, who has been living, traveling, and teaching across five continents for the past four years. In addition to teaching full-time, she is a travel writer and photographer. Her favorite subjects of travel to explore are food, nature, back-alley city streets, and breaking down cultural stereotypes. New York City is where she calls home. Check out her website to see more of her work.