Welcome to Greece

Greece, Hellas, officially the Hellenic Republic , is a country in southeastern Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million. Athens is the nation’s capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki.

Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. Greece consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands (including the Dodecanese and Cyclades), Thrace, Crete, and the Ionian Islands. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km (8,498 mi) in length, featuring a vast number of islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 meters (9,573 ft).

Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilization, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as polis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. Philip of Macedon united most of the Greek mainland in the fourth century BC, with his son Alexander the Great rapidly conquering much of the ancient world, spreading Greek culture and science from the eastern Mediterranean to the Indus River. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, wherein the Greek language and culture were dominant. The Greek Orthodox Church also shaped modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World. Falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence. Greece’s rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Greece’s main economic sectors are agriculture, tourism, construction and shipping. Greece has been a member of the EU since 1981. The capital and the largest city is Athens, taken its name from the goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. This is where that marvel of architecture, the Parthenon, was created. Thessaloniki (sometimes referred as the co-capital) the second largest city of Greece, is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Some other major cities are Larisa, Volos, Ioannina, Patra, Heraklion. Greece has fine natural harbours. Its main harbour, Piraeus is the second largest in the Mediterranean Sea, after Marseilles in France.

Greece is also famous for its natural beauty. With its breathtaking landscapes, clean seas, thousands of islands with crystal clear blue waters, wonderful hillside villages, a fantastic variety of ecosystems, old forests, wetland habitats, fertile valleys, lakes, rivers, thousands of monuments, caves with mild climate throughout the year, can become an ideal destination to visit and live.
Greece offers a great variety of inviting spots and unique destinations, each one of them waiting to be discovered. Furthermore, it offers a wide variety of mythological places, museums, castles and historic monuments.

Additionally, Greece offers lots of special interest activities to be enjoyed all year round: alternative tourism has become a priority of Greece’s tourist policy. This rapidly growing sector of Greece’s tourism includes adventure journeys, health and beauty tourism, sports tourism, marine tourism, ecotourism, agro-tourism, religious tourism, gastronomy, other non-traditional products etc.

It is easy to make contact with the Greek people as they are friendly, open–minded and openhearted people. The vast majority of them speak a second language, usually English and they are well acquainted with foreign people. You will find that they are friendly and willing to help you. In other words, Greece offers you a lot of opportunities for your entertainment and cultural knowledge.

See more about Greece at the following sites:

http://www.gnto.gr/
http://www.greeklandscapes.com/

Facts about Greece / Greece in brief

Conventional long form 
Conventional sort form
Local long form
Local sort form
Hellenic Republic
Greece 
Elliniki Dimokratia 
Ellas or Ellada
Capital Athens
Largest cities Athens, Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Patra, Iraklion, Larisa
Area 131,957 sq. km
Population – Demographics Total population: 10,955,000 (2015 est.)
Climate Mediterranean type of climate,  Continental (cold winter & hot, dry summer) 
Government and politics Parliamentary republic/ executive power is exercised by the president of the Republic and the Government
Language Greek (99%) other 1%
Economy Include agriculture, tourism, construction and shipping industries.
Minorities Muslim minority in Thrace 
amounts to approximately 0,95% of the total population.
Immigration Immigrants make up approximately 10% of the population
Religion Greek orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Time 2 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
Electricity 220V- 550Hz. Appliances that operate using 120V need to use a voltage adapter, or transformer.
Cuisine Sea food, mousaka, souvlaki, spanakopita, greek salad, tzatziki, olives, feta cheese, wine, ouzo, retsina etc.