Tag: Greece

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Greece Early History

Greece Early History

Early period (until around 800 BC): The scene of Greek history in the broader sense is the entire area of ​​the Mediterranean world settled by the Greeks, in the narrower sense the peninsula called “Hellas” by the Greeks, “Graecia” by the Romans, the associated Greek-populated islands and the islands of the Aegean Sea. Here migrated since the late 3rd millennium BC. Indo-European tribes (Aegean migration) and mixed with the Mediterranean pre-population of the Karer, Leleg and Pelasger. They first founded the Middle Helladic culture (Helladic culture), then from around 1600 under the influence of Minoan Crete (Minoan culture) the late Helladic or Mycenaean culture (also Aegean culture).

At that time, larger territorial rulers evidently emerged with fortified centers (Mycenae, Pylos, Argos, Athens, Thebes) and a developed administration (clay tablet archives in the Greek linear script B). The early Greeks, who bore the name Achaeans (Achaeans), also spread to Crete and put an end to the Minoan culture there. The early Greeks also settled on other islands in the Aegean Sea, on Cyprus and on the west and south coasts of Asia Minor.

The Mycenaean culture found its end around 1200, probably also due to the invasion of the Sea Peoples. In the 12th century, the Dorians immigrated via Thessaly and the Gulf of Corinth (Doric migration). They settled large parts of central Greece and the Peloponnese (only remnants of the early Greeks were found in Arcadia) and also occupied the islands of Crete, Rhodes and Kos as well as the southwest of Asia Minor. At the same time, the Aeolians and the Ionians were partly driven to Asia Minor (1st Greek colonization). In the dark centuries that followed (around 1200–800 BC) the Greek people received their final form. The Greek dialects developed as well as a common religion and a common myth, which was initially passed down orally in individual songs before it was first summarized in Homer’s epics in the 8th century.

The archaic period (around 800–500 BC) was shaped by the Greek nobility, who derived their descent from gods or heroes and whose extensive property allowed them a knightly way of life. The cross-community relations of the Greek nobility led to a culturally shaped Greek national consciousness (the name »Hellenes« for all Greeks is first attested to around 700 BC) and promoted the development of Dodona, Delphi and Olympia to common Greek sanctuaries.

At the same time, among the nobility, who had politically disempowered kingship almost everywhere (except in Sparta and Cyrene), the municipal state of the polis with annual officials (prytans, archons), council (bule) and people’s assembly (ekklesia) emerged. The nobility also took the lead in the great Greek colonization that opened up almost all of the coasts of the Mediterranean and Black Sea to Greek colonization. The shifts in property that occurred in the wake of colonization and trade, as well as the training of hoplite tactics (hoplite) led since the 7th century to an intensification of the differences between the nobility and the people, which enforced the codification of the legal norms that had been handed down orally up to then: laws of Zaleukos in Lokroi (today Locri, Calabria), of Charondas in Katane (today Catania, Sicily), the Drakon and the Solon in Athens. There Solon also carried out a debt repayment in 594 and replaced the ruling pure blood aristocracy with a timocratic four-class system based on wealth differences (timocracy).

In Sparta in the 6th century, under the influence of the ephors, the privileges of the nobility were restricted in favor of the community of equals (Homoioi) who were prepared for warrior life through common upbringing and common meals. Elsewhere, the antagonism between the nobility and the people led to the appearance of tyrants who exploited social injustices to create a personal power (e.g. Peisistratos in Athens, Kleisthenes in Sikyon, Theagenes in Megara). The archaic period is characterized by the wide spread of political and cultural activities, with the East initially being the leader, spiritually and economically (oldest coins in Lydia and Ionia in the 7th century). Here the Aeolians, Ionians and Dorians had united in alliances of cities, but nevertheless fell under foreign sovereignty, first the Lydians, then 546 the Persians, who installed or promoted tyrants in the cities. The leading city was Miletus with the famous Apollo shrine at Didyma, the home of the philosophers Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes as well as the geographer Hekataios. Of the very numerous colonies of Miletus, v. a. Abydos on the Hellespont and Amisos on the Black Sea, Sinope (Sinop), Trebizond, Odessos (Varna), Olbia at the mouth of the Dnieper, Istros at the mouth of the Danube and Pantikapaion (Kerch). In addition to Miletus, Ephesus, the home of Heraclitus, particularly flourished with its world-famous Temple of Artemis.

The rich Smyrna was already around 600 BC. Destroyed by the Lydians. The Ionian Phokaia became very wealthy through trade with Spain and founded the colony of Massalia (Marseille) on the coast of Gaul around 600. Of the islands, Chios was considered the birthplace of Homer, Lesbos gained fame through Alkaios, Sappho and Pittakos, Samos through its tyrant Polycrates. In the motherland next to Thessaly, where the noble Aleuads ruled in Larisa, the Scopades in Krannon and the Echekratids in Pharsalus, v. a. Thebes, the home of Pindar to name, which gained hegemony over Boeotia in the 6th century. The ore-rich trading town of Chalkis on Evia founded numerous colonies in the west, such as Kyme (Cumae) and Rhegion (today Reggio di Calabria) in southern Italy and Zankle (Messina), Katane, Naxos and Leontinoi in Sicily. Corinth, which gained great power under the tyrants Kypselus and Periander (around 620-550 BC), also had numerous colonies, for example on the Adriatic. Leukas, Ambrakia (Arta) and Apollonia, also the island of Korkyra (Corfu), in Sicily Syracuse and on the Chalkidike Potidaia. Under his tyrant Pheidon Argos also gained greater power at times. In southern Italy, Sybaris held a hegemonic position until his fall (510 BC).

Sparta and Athens held a special position. The Spartans were finally able to win Messenia in the 7th century and thus had the largest land area of ​​a Greek polis (about 8,400 km 2, two fifths of the Peloponnese). In the 6th century they also achieved hegemony in the Peloponnese through the establishment of the Peloponnesian League. The Spartan government was in the hands of the small stratum of full Spartan citizens (originally around 10,000) on whom the citizens of the laconic country towns, the Periöks (around 50,000), were politically dependent. V. a. the serf helots (about 150,000). The population pressure in Sparta, which made the conquest of Messenia possible, eased as early as the 6th century. Since full citizenship was tied to a certain land ownership (Kleros, Doric Klaros), the fear of property sharing led to a decrease in the number of children. War losses and the consequences of the severe earthquake of 464 BC The number of full citizens decreased further, so that in the 4th century measures against the decline in the birth rate were taken in vain. In order to maintain their master position, the Spartans isolated themselves more and more from the outside world. The lively cultural life of the 7th and early 6th centuries (the poets Terpandros, Alkman, Tyrtaios and Stesichoros worked in Sparta at that time) gave way since the middle of the 6th century to an intensification of pre-military training in youth education and community life, which made Sparta a single army camp (according to Plato).

With Attica, Athens possessed the second largest territory of a Greek polis (together with Salamis 2,650 km 2; the territories of the other Greek states as a rule did not even reach 1,000 km 2). After Solon’s archon, the size of the Attic territory favored the formation of regional groups under the leadership of individual nobles. Finally, around 560, Peisistratos was able to establish a tyranny, which he asserted after being expelled twice and in 527 bequeathed to his sons Hippias and Hipparchus (Hipparchus). After the elimination of Hipparchus by the murderers Harmodios and Aristogeiton 514 and the expulsion of Hippias 510, Kleisthenes 508/507 carried out a reorganization of the state, which allowed all rural communities (Demen) of Attica to send their representatives directly to the newly created Council of Five Hundred. The ten new Attic phyls, which were newly established in place of the four old gentilian phyls, one third each from the area around Athens, the coastal and inland areas, eliminated the regional differences and became the basis of the new military order, with Athens becoming the strongest power Central Greece made.

Greece Early History

Hydra and Monemvasia, Greece

Hydra and Monemvasia, Greece


An island with style

The small Greek island is located in the Aegean Sea and is off the Peloponnese peninsula. She belongs to the group of sarons. Like many of its neighboring islands, Hydra is particularly popular with day tourists. Daily ferry connections exist for example from Piraeus or Ermioni. Journeys to Hydra can only be made by ship, as the island does not have an airport.

Peace and relaxation far from mass tourism

An almost unwooded and rocky island awaits the visitor, which is characterized by dreamlike bays and picturesque villages. The originality and tranquility that Hydra exudes are intensified by the car ban. There is a network of hiking trails that connect the small towns with one another. If you don’t just want to get around the island, which is around 20 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide, you can do so with a taxi boat or on the back of a donkey. The pack animal is still an important means of transport today.

The cultural island life

The main town of the same name has some sights to offer. The church of the former Panagia monastery, the Byzantine Museum or the Naval Museum are definitely among them. But Hydra is not just a study trip destination. The numerous bars, cafés and restaurants around the small harbor exude a Mediterranean island feeling and invite you to relax. Artists and intellectuals have always valued the inspiring backdrop. A cultural highlight is the Saronic Chamber Music Festival, which also takes place on Hydra every year from late July to early August.

Dream beaches and paradisiacal bays

In addition to churches and monasteries, which are also located in more remote areas of the island, it is above all the beaches that exert a special charm. The quiet bays can be easily reached from the port by taxi boat. A few kilometers east of the main town is Mandraki. The stone beach has a sufficient tourist infrastructure. There is a hotel and various water sports on offer. Also west of the main town you can enjoy the sun and the sea on the beach of Vlyhos.


If you are on holiday on the famous Greek peninsula Peloponnese, you cannot avoid the small town of Monemvasia. The city, which was founded in the sixth century, can look back on a unique history. The most important starting point in the 5,000-inhabitant city are the ruins of a former Byzantine fortress on a 300 meter high rock plateau in the upper town. There are numerous remains of centuries-old Byzantine houses and public buildings around the fortress. From the upper town you also have a fascinating overview of the Peloponnese. Another major draw for tourists and locals in Monemvasia is the restored Agia Sofia Church. In the so-called lower town of Monemvasia, which has been extensively restored in recent years,

Picturesque beaches and delightful surroundings

At the foot of the rock plateau, which is already visible from afar, there are numerous picturesque beaches that are extremely popular with both beach holidaymakers and water sports enthusiasts. The city’s most popular beach is around 1,000 meters long Kakavos, which is surrounded by small hotels and a few cafes. The surroundings of Monemvasia also offer other attractive destinations for an excursion. The region with its unique flora and fauna can be explored on the well-developed hiking and cycling trails.

Elafonissi beach

Elafonissi – these ten letters not only stand for unadulterated holiday happiness, but also for wonderful blue water and an unusually romantic pink beach. Undoubtedly, this is a pearl among the beaches of Crete. Anyone who speaks of Elafonissi as an island must know that this island is only a few meters away from Crete. The Mediterranean only reaches the knees for holidaymakers and thousands of people pass this strait every day in the main season.

Home to endangered sea turtles

And they are then rewarded with paradisiacal conditions and a sandy beach that is not afraid of comparison with the Caribbean. Elafonissi measures just 1300 meters in its longest extension and is four hundred meters wide. The entire island landscape is under intensive nature protection, because this is also the home of the endangered saltwater turtles with the Latin name Caretta Caretta. Beach life is particularly popular with families, as the children can safely splash around in the warm water here in the shallow sea. In some areas, Elafonissi resembles a large lagoon with weak waves.

Memory of a ship disaster

If you go to the island of Elafonissi, you should have drinks in your luggage, because there is no kiosk here. Several paths lead across this barely inhabited area. A wooden cross and a lighthouse are reminiscent of a ship disaster on the beach. In 1907, the passenger ship “Imperatrix” sank off Elafonissi, and forty passengers lost their lives. There is also a small chapel designed to keep memories of a 1928 massacre alive. It is said that numerous Greeks were murdered by Turkish invaders at the time. The shells that give the sand its special color are pink. A reef in front of the beach is the Eldorado for vacationers who like to dive or snorkel. Sun loungers and parasols can be rented on Elafonissi. And there are also a couple of chemical toilets.

Monemvasia, Greece

Corfu Travel Guide

Corfu Travel Guide

Enjoy a beach holiday in colorful Corfu. On the island of Corfu you can enjoy great beaches, beautiful nature and good food. Read Rantapallo’s destination guide and plan your own holiday.


Corfu is an island of mountains, valleys and bays

Shimmering olive groves, fragrant pine trees and colorful flowering shrubs are part of the emerald green landscape of Corfu rising from the Mediterranean. The beautiful Corfu in Greece is one of the favorite destinations of Finns, and especially in summer the island is filled with holidaymakers who know how to appreciate the island’s greenery, beaches and charming fishing villages.

Corfu belongs to the Ionian archipelago of the Greek archipelago and is its northernmost and second largest island. The dominant elements of the island landscape are two mountain ranges divided into three parts. In the northern part of the island you will find olive groves, lush valleys and lovely coves and coves, and in the central part of the island there are wooded hills and small plains. The terrain becomes rougher the further south the island goes.

Corfu is best known as a beach destination and not a swamp. The island has a long coastline, along which you can find a beach to suit everyone’s needs. However, Corfu doesn’t just have to settle for a beach holiday, the city has several historical cultural sites.

Corfu’s Italian-style old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the fort in front of it is one of the island’s main attractions. However, we should not forget the island of Pontikonissi in the bay and the church of Vlachema. Friends of historical romance will travel to the palace of the Austro-Hungarian Empress Elizabeth, or “Sissi”, ten kilometers from Corfu town center.

The green island of Corfu

The green island of Corfu has enough coastline.

When is the best time to travel to Corfu?

Corfu should be headed between May and October, when average temperatures will remain between 20 and 30 degrees. If you are dreaming of a particularly toasty holiday, it is worth booking the trip for August, when the temperature easily rises above 30 degrees.

The summer months are the most popular tourist season, so those who dream of a quieter holiday choose spring or early autumn as their time. In this case, the prices are also lower. Winters in the Mediterranean climate of Corfu are mild and rainy.

Beaches and resorts

Close to the rolling countryside and cypresses of Corfu, close to the Albanian coast, there are peaceful hamlets and stunning beaches. The island has 220 kilometers of coastline, and most of it is a sandy or pebble beach. The finest beaches are often a bit far from the major resorts, but you can also take an adventure to more remote beaches by rental car, bus or apostle ride.

There are several beach resorts in Corfu, from which it may be difficult to choose. However, each object has its own personal characteristics. Choose from peaceful Aharavi, surrounded by green mountains and the rustic Agios Stefanos, and Arillas, which offers authentic village life.

The villages are surprisingly colorful compared to their Greek siblings: the facades of the houses are not plastered in white but in pastel colors. The alleys are bordered by rose-red, peach-yellow and sky-blue buildings.

To the town or fishing village?

The most popular destinations in Corfu are the island’s capital Corfu and the fishing village of Gouvia. The beautiful city of Corfu is located on the east coast of the island, and is a fascinating mix of Greek, British and Byzantine influences. However, the strongest cultural nuances point in the direction of Venice .

The cricket field of the great Spianada Square is clearly a British element, while the Venetian palaces can be admired on the edges of the alleys of the Old Town. Corfu’s architecture is impressive in its diversity, allowing the tourist to admire French-style flower squares, magnificent fortresses, sophisticated mansions and elegant palaces.

The sun worshiper Gouvia

Gouvia is a medium-sized beach resort in a sheltered cove in the Gulf of Kommeno, about eight kilometers north of Corfu Town. Gouvia has great beaches and is a great starting point for various excursions. Although Gouvia is not as big as Corfu, the city has a wide range of holiday options: shopping streets, beach cafes, bars and several nightclubs. There are also numerous restaurant options ranging from authentic Greek taverns to Asian, Italian and Mexican cuisines.

The popularity of Gouvia’s nearly two-kilometer-long gravel beach can already be inferred from the number of parasols. Gouvia Beach is a lively and popular destination for swimmers and sun worshipers, and there are also a number of water sports available. Walking along Gouvia’s seafront takes you to the city’s best attractions. Along the seashore, for example, you can reach the poetic ruins of an 18th-century Venetian shipyard.

An active vacationer’s beach destination

Corfu is a particularly great destination due to its versatility. You should not get bored on holiday, because in addition to the magnificent beaches, Corfu can visit a water park, take a diving course, play golf or go hiking. Day trip options are also great. During your holiday in Corfu, you can visit Paxos Island or Saranda, Albania .

Greece Business

Greece Business

According to abbreviationfinder, GR is the 2 letter abbreviation for the country of Greece.

Greece became a member of the Monetary and Economic Union in 2001. Prior to membership, Greece had had several years of low economic growth, but during the period 2002-2005, growth rose to around four percent. This is due mainly to investments and upgrades of infrastructure in connection with the 2004 Summer Olympic Games held in Athens.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Greece

Since the start of the economic crisis in 2008, Greece has experienced negative growth and a steadily declining gross domestic product. Greece has long struggled with high unemployment. This peaked during the economic crisis.

Greece was occupied by Germany during the Second World War and suffered a civil war for years after. This was devastating for the Greek economy, and from 1948 economic recovery was therefore a priority area. In the 1960s and 1970s, the annual growth rate in the Greek economy was among the highest in Europe. At the same time, there was a change in the economic structure in which agriculture, which was traditionally the most important trade route, was bypassed by industry, measured by production value, export revenue and employment.

Tourism is one of the country’s most important growth industries. Greece has a large trading fleet that plays an important role for the country’s economy. Compared to other EU countries, Greece has a large agricultural sector and a small industrial sector.


Agriculture is still an important part of Greece’s business. Primary industries (agriculture and forestry, fishing) account for just under 13 percent of the labor force and account for around 4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (2017). Greece is the largest producer of cotton and pistachios in the EU. Other products that are grown are rice, olives and figs.

Membership in the EU led to a major improvement in the agricultural sector. In the 2000s, there was a major shift to organic farming in Greece. According to a report on sustainable development in EU countries, organic farming in Greece increased by a whopping 885 percent in the period 2001-2007.

The topography, climate and soil have hindered effective agriculture. Around 30 percent of the land is cultivable and about 40 percent is meadow and pasture. The most important agricultural areas are Thessalia and Macedonia. Due to periodic drought, the cultivation of grain is not intensive. The city grows sugar beets, halibut, tomatoes, maize and fruit.

The dry climate is a good choice for growing olives, and Greece is one of the world’s foremost producers of olive oil. The cultivation of olives is particularly important on the islands and in coastal areas up to 750 meters above sea level. Grapes are also grown in the same area. The grapes are dried for raisins and Corinthians or used for wine. Tobacco is cultivated in Macedonia, Thessalia and Western Thrace. The cotton breeding takes place on irrigated land in Macedonia, between the other at Thessaloniki, and in Viotía (Boiotia).

Animal husbandry is mostly based on natural pastures and is driven from the field, half nomadising between the highlands in the summer and the lowlands in the winter. Sheep and goat dominate (around 15 million animals registered in the EU official count in 2010, compared to 629,000 registered cows), and many cities have led to overgrazing. Milk production is of greater importance in the lowlands and near the towns. Also great production of yogurt and cheese.

Greece is poor in forests and has to import large quantities of wood. Most of the forest is state forest where farmers have a right of use for fuel and pasture.

Production of a selection of growths in 2016 *

Type Ton
Orange 918 937
Cotton 1 354 754
grapes 990 289
halibut 1 698 031
corn 1 869 693
Almond 29 450
Melon 54 184
Olive oil 300 000
Olive 2 343 383
Lemon and lime 50 359
Tobacco 29 216
Tomato 1 044 346
Vass Melon 553 230

* Except for olive oil, all figures are taken from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).


Fishing has long been an important part of Greek business, and fish is an important part of the Greek diet. Most of the catch goes to domestic consumption and fishing therefore accounts for only 3.1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. In 2016, 15 226 fishing vessels were registered in Greece. Despite the fact that Greece accounts for one fifth (18.1 percent) of the total fishing fleet in the EU, the catch volume is small, as most of the Greek fishing vessels are smaller than the EU average. The catch volume in 2016 was around 75,000 tonnes – 1.7 percent of the total catch in the EU.

One specialty is our mushroom fishing. Before the Second World War, Greek fishermen captured about 80 percent of all mushrooms brought ashore from the Mediterranean, which accounted for half of the world’s total catch. Mushroom fishing has, after that time, greatly reduced basic competition from synthetic products.


In spite of the country’s varied geological structure, Greece is relatively poor in valuable minerals. Nevertheless, the mineral resources are being exploited intensively and production increased somewhat in the 21st century. An increasing part of the mineral is processed domestically, and not exported as raw materials.


Since the 1960s, Greece has undergone rapid industrial growth. The industrial sector (including mining and construction) accounts for around 15 percent of employment (2017) and contributes to around 16 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product (2017). The food and beverage industry, the metal industry, the chemical industry and the textile and clothing industry are the most important industries.

With the help of large foreign investments, among others from the EU’s structural and regional fund, a more versatile industry has been developed with petrochemical and chemical plants, steelworks, shipyards and the like. This is especially true in the areas around Greater Athens and Thessaloniki.

The Greek government has encouraged greater privatization of the industrial sector in recent years. This means that fewer and more large companies are under state ownership.

The Service sector

The southern fish sector is the largest sector in terms of employment – 72.1 percent (2017) – and contribution to the country’s national product – 80.2 percent (2016). The southern sector has grown in recent years as a result of increases in tourism, and is the only sector that has not been noticeably affected by higher unemployment as a result of the Greek financial and debt crisis.


Tourist traffic is one of Greece’s most important sources of revenue. The number of tourists has increased from one million in 1968 to nearly 30 million in 1968.

The main travel destination is the capital Athens and the Greek islands, between Anna, Crete, Naxos and Rhodes (Rhodes). Tourists in Greece are the main players from other European countries.

Foreign Trade

Industrialization and strong growth in exports have not prevented a deficit in Greece’s trade balance with foreign countries. This is somewhat compensated for in other large sectors such as shipping and tourism. Despite major economic problems in recent years, there has not been a major decline in Greek foreign trade.

According to Countryaah, in 2016, exports of goods and services accounted for around 30.5 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product. Exports include other textiles and clothing, fruits and vegetables, oil products, wine and tobacco. Greece exports goods primarily to Italy, Germany, Cyprus, Turkey, Bulgaria, USA, UK and Lebanon.

Imports include other machinery and transport equipment, crude oil, foods, chemicals and iron and steel. Greece imports primarily from Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

In 2014, exports to Greece accounted for one percent of Norway’s total seafood exports.

Transport and Communications

Greece has a long history as a shipping nation. Shipping and related sectors account for around seven percent of Greece’s gross domestic product and employment of just under 200,000 people – four percent of Greece’s total workforce.

The most important port cities are Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Patras. The Corinth Canal, opened in 1893 and again in 1948, is still important for shipping.

The majority of the Greek-owned merchant fleet is controlled by small and medium-sized private companies and more than half of the vessels are registered abroad. In 2017, 4585 Greek-owned vessels with a capacity of more than 1,000 gross tonnes were registered. Measured in deadweight tonnage (dvt), the Greek fleet is the largest in the world (308 836 933 dvt as of January 2017).

The road network is well developed. The rail network is less efficient and most important for passenger traffic.

Aviation is important for domestic traffic, especially between Athens and the islands, and for foreign tourist traffic. There are international airports in Athens, Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli, Kerkýra, Lesbos, Andravida, Rhodes, Kos and Crete, as well as 25 domestic airports. Athens International Airport ” Eleftherios Venizelos ” officially unveiled Athens’s old “Ellinikon” airport on March 29, 2001. The Eleftherios Venizelos airport is an important hub between Europe and the Austen.

Greek airline Aegean Airlines dominates air traffic after it acquired in 2014 the former state-owned company Olympic Airways, which was privatized as Olympic Air in 2009. Olympic Air flies domestically as part of Aegean Airlines’ fleet.


Greece has struggled with high unemployment and high inflation. The unemployment rate averaged around 8-10 per cent in the years 2001-2010. In the years following the Greek financial and debt crisis, unemployment rose steadily and peaked in 2013 with 27.5 percent and 60 percent for young people aged 15-24. The high unemployment rate has led many Greeks to leave the country.

Unemployment in Greece, 2006-2010

Year Total (%) Age group 15–29 years (%)
2006 9 18.7
2007 8.4 18.2
2008 7.8 17.3
2009 9.6 18.5
2010 12.7 22.3
Year Total (%) Age group 15-24 years (%)
2011 17.9 39.6
2012 24.4 52.7
2013 27.5 60.0
2014 26.5 56.7
2015 24.9 50.1
2016 23.5 46.6
2017 20.9 * 43.7 *

* November 2017