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Photographer's Note

Greek beaches are the cleanest in Europe with more than 370 flags so far. European blue flags do not simply stand for a town with clean sea. Or rather, though sea-water suitable for bathing purposes is indeed a step in the right direction, the blue flags also signify compliance with a number of other standards: the existence of purifying systems, properly organised urban waste collections, differentiated waste collection, environmental initiatives such as restricted traffic circulation and the existence of numerous pedestrian precincts, as well as the organisation of environmental training courses for young people and urban design care. All these factors are important in the assessment and assignment of the blue flag qualification.
The stripes on the greek flag represent the number of the syllables in the phrase: Eleftheria i Thanatos (Liberty or Death). Liberty or Death was the motto during the years of the Hellenic Revolution against the Ottoman Empire in the 19nth century This word stirred the heart of the oppressed Greeks, it created intense emotions and inspired them to fight and gain their freedom after 400 years of slavery. The striped pattern was chosen because of its similarity with the wavy sea that surrounds the shores of Greece. The interchange of blue and white colours makes the Greek Flag on a windy day to look like the Aegean Pelagos (sea). The Hellenic Square Cross that rests on the upper left-side of the flag and occupies one fourth of the total area demonstrates the respect and the devotion the Hellenic people have for the Greek Orthodox Church and signifies the important role of Christianity in the formation of the modern Hellenic Nation. During the dark years of the Ottoman rule, the Greek Orthodox Church helped the enslaved Greeks to retain their cultural characteristics: the Hellenic language, the Byzantine religion and generally the Hellenic ethnic identity, by the institution of the Crypha Scholia (secret schools).

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Additional Photos by sifis bekas (Intruder) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 384 W: 57 N: 271] (3099)
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