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Although millions of photographs are taken on the Acropolis every year, it was rather different in the summer of 1839. French-Canadian
photographer Pierre Gustave Joly de Lotbinière needed horses to carry his photographic equipment up to the semi- derelict
Acropolis. He exposed ten daguerreotypes, two of which were published in 1841 and survive as the very first photographs
Rembetika is the Greek blues, a style of music thought to have its roots in the early years of the 20th century, but developing
after 1923 with the influx of over a million Asian Greeks in the exchange of populations with Turkey. However, no one quite
knows how the music, or its name, derived.
The origin of the Pláka district's name isn't known for sure. Pláka is the Greek word for a slab or a slate, and one theory
is that it was named after a large stone slab found near the church of Ágios Yiorgios, near the Theatre of Dionysos.
On 26 October 1656, the feast of Saint Demetrius, the commander of the Turkish garrison on the Acropolis planned to fire
his cannons on the congregation in the church on the Pnyx. At the crucial moment the Acropolis was struck by lightning, blowing
up the explosives - and the commander. The church was named after the Turks' largest cannon, the Bombardier (or Loumbardiaris
In the Panathenaic Games, the victors received commemorative amphoras containing about 40 kilos of olive oil. In the 6th century
BC a statesman named Solon introduced laws to protect the olive oil industry. Today there are about 130 million cultivated
olive trees in Greece.
In Greek mythology the inhabitants of Aegina were the Myrmidons. The name came about after the original inhabitants were
destroyed in a plague by Hera, wife of Zeus, jealous of her husband's love for Aegina, who gave the island its name. Zeus
repopulated the island after a plea by Aeacus, grandfather of Achilles, and because Aeacus had been inspired by the sight
of an anthill, and asked for an equally numerous population, the new inhabitants of Aegina became the Myrmidons (the Greek
for ants is myrmekes).
The idea for a canal across the narrow isthmus at Corinth was first put forward by Emperor Nero in AD 67. He is said to have
started the digging with a golden shovel before leaving 6,000 Jewish prisoners to complete the work. However, the canal was
only finished in 1893, having taken a French engineering company 12 years to construct.