Greece is called Hellas (Ελλάς, Ελλάδα in Greek) and is officially known as the Hellenic Republic or (Elliniki Dimokratia, Ελληνική Δημοκρατία).
Greece is located in southeastern Europe occupying the southern most part of the Balkan Peninsula. It borders Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east and south of mainland Greece, while the Ionian Sea lies to the west.
Geography of Greece
Greece is situated at the most southeastern part of Europe, located between the 34° and 42° parallel N., with a meridional extent from 19° to 28° E.
Greece extends over 131,940 square kilometers (51,146 sq. miles). Greece consists of a mainland area of 106,778 square kilometres and thousands of islands large and small, covering a further 25,179 square kilometres.
There are 3,053 islands in Greece of which some 200 are inhabited.
Greece is mainly bordered by sea, to the west with the Ionian Sea, to the east with the Aegean Sea and to the south with the Mediterranean Sea.
Greece has also land borders to the east with Turkey (206 km) and to the north with Albania (246,70 km.), Bulgaria (494 km) and Yugoslavia - FYROM (256,31 km)
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is (July 2006 est.): 10,688,058 million. Ten percent (10%) of the population are immigrants.
: Greek 99% (official); Turkish, others. Albanian is spoken by approximately 700,000 Albanian immigrants. English is the predominant second language.
: Greek Orthodox (approximately 98% of citizens), with Muslim (1.3%), Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and other religious communities.
: Years compulsory--9. Literacy--97.5%. All levels are free.
: Infant mortality rate--5.43/1,000. Life expectancy--male 76.72 years, female 81.91 years.
: 4.72 million.
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Cities in Greece
Athens is the capital of Greece. The population of Athens is 3.192.606.
Other major cities in Greece are:
- Thessaloniki (pop. 1,057,825)
- Piraeus (880,529)
- Patras (170,452)
- Heraklion (132,117)
- Larissa (113,090)
You’ll discover something different in whichever Greek city you choose to visit. Greek cities are the living cells of Greek society, each with its own local colour, the result of its unique history. The seasonal transformations from summer to winter make every visit a different, unique experience.
Each of the cities of Greece, scattered throughout the country, has its own character, its own particular reflection of many centuries of Greek history.
The country’s urban centres are dynamic culture-spots, combining a rich tradition with the modern way of life and vibrant all year round.
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Weather and Climate in Greece
Climate in Greece is typical Mediterranean climate: mild and rainy winters, relatively warm and dry summers and, generally, extended periods of sunshine throughout most of the year.
Economy of Greece
Greece is a developed country, a member of the European Union since 1981, a member of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union since 2001, NATO since 1952 and OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) since 1961.
Shipping and tourism are the dominant industries of Greece. The country's merchant ship fleet is one of the largest in the world.
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Drachma - Euro in Greece
Greek banknotes have a history of 180 years, starting from 1822 and finishing in 2002 when drachma was replaced by the common European currency, Euro. During these years about 300 different banknotes were issued or circulated in Greece and if you count the varieties, the total number reaches the 400.
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Greeks speak the Greek language, which forms a distinct branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It has a written tradition going back 3,500 years, and has been written using the Greek alphabet since the 9th century BC. Greek is the official language of Greece and Cyprus, and one of the official languages of the European Union.
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Greek National Symbols
The national Flag of Greece consists of nine horizontal stripes of equal width, five blue and four white alternately, the first and last stripes being blue.
In the upper left corner is a blue square containing a white cross, which occupies the first five stripes.
The Greek flag is hoisted on a white flagstaff at the top of which there is a white cross.
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National Anthem of Greece - Hymn to Liberty
The National Anthem of Greece consists of the first two verses of the “Hymn to Freedom”. The “Hymn to Freedom” was written by the poet Dionysios Solomos in a single month, May 1823, in Zakynthos (Zante) on the hill of his bosom friend Loudovikos Stranis. The Greek National Anthem is the only national anthem to extol freedom.
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Greece National Emblem
The National Emblem of the Republic of Greece consists of a blue escutcheon with a white cross in the centre, completely surrounded by two laurel branches.
The emblem is painted or woven, mainly on the hats, uniforms and buttons of the military, the security forces etc.
The Greek National Emblem was provided for by the Temporary Constitution of Greece (Constitution of Epidaurus of 1 January 1822) and established by decree on 15 March of the same year.
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The Evzones have purely ceremonial duties. The best-known is the symbolic guarding of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Syntagma Square, next to the Greek Parliament. There are also guards at the Presidential Mansion and at the gate of the barracks of the Presidential Guard.
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Political System of Greece
The political system of Greece, as defined by the Constitution of Greece, is that of a parliamentary democracy.
The Prime Minister and the cabinet are at the top of the executive power and the government presupposes the majority in the Greek Parliament.
The Constitution of Greece provides for the separation of the political powers as follows:
Under the current electoral system, Greek political parties needs to surpass a 3% threshold in the popular vote in order to enter parliament.
History of Greece
The whole of modern European civilisation - and, to a certain extent, non-European civilisation too - is based on ancient Greek culture. Without a knowledge of ancient Greek history we cannot understand many of the institutions of later times - art history, architectural styles, the theatre, modern political, scientific and other terms. The ancient world, in all its multiformity, emerges at every step of social and private life.
The Greek and Roman civilisation form some of the most glorious pages of world history. Greek culture is astoundingly wide-ranging and varied. The basic features of the monuments of Greek civilisation are innovation, depth of feeling, simplicity and harmony of form and content. Ancient Greek thinkers, artists and scientist, with their works which “still afford us artistic pleasure and in a certain respect count as a norm and as an unattainable model” (Karl Marx), set their seal on the struggle of the ideas, emotions and ideals of their time. This is why Classical Greek works, the monuments of ancient art and artistic creativity, are still vital to our age, the age of financial globalization and the crisis of capitalism.
In Philosophy, as in as in so many other spheres, we are compelled to return again and again “to the achievements of that small people whose universal talents and activity assured it a place in the history of human development that no other people can ever claim... the manifold forms of Greek philosophy contain in embryo, in the nascent state, almost all later modes of outlook on the world” (Engels).
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Religion in Greece
The Greek population is composed of a 97% of Christian Orthodox. The rest of the population is Muslim, Roman Catholic and Jewish.
Greece Orthodox Church is considered as the protector of Greekness or of the so-called “Greek Orthodox Civilization.”
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Tourism in Greece
Credit Cards - Atm - Travel Checks
All major credit cards (VISA, DINERS, MASTERCARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS, EUROCARD, JCB) are accepted in Greece. ATM, Automated Teller Machines are available in most Greek cities and towns. Most shops and central restaurants in Greece accept payments by credit cards. Traveller’s cheques and Εurocheques issued by recognised authorities can be cashed at all Greek and foreign banks and large hotels.
The electricity supply in Greece is alternating current, 220 volts, 50 cycles. Appliances for 110 or 120 volts may be operated by using stepdown transformers of 220/110 volts connected to each outlet, provided that these transformers have two separate windings which will eliminate any danger of electric shock.
Greek television systems are PAL-SECAM-M. Therefore TV sets with the American system (NTSC) only, will not operate in Greece.
There are two different dialing systems in Greece. Tone and pulse. Therefore telephone sets must be able to change from one system to the other. Dual voltage (220/110 volts 50/60 hz) power adapters for wireless telephone sets are required.
The international access code for Greece is +30. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the USA or Canada, 0044 for the United Kingdom).
Calls can be made from your hotel or from OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation) office. Public phone card boths are available all over the Greek Region and cards can be bought from kiosks, mini markets and OTE.
Greece mobile phone operators (Vodafone, Wind, Cosmote ) use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators.In Greece, the degree of broadband penetration (connections per 100 residents) on the 1st of January 2007 reached 4,39%, compared to 2,66% on the 1st of July 2006, showing significant increase of 65%. At the same time, it is very positive that in Greece, the average number of monthly broadband connections (ADSL) is between 37.650 connections (second semester of 2006), showing an increase of demand that exceeds 40%, compared to the data regarding the previous semester.
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Emergency Phone Numbers
The quick dial number for emergencies in Greece is 199 for Police, Fire or Accident. If you need the emergency services and are a non-Greek speaking visitor, it will be easier for you to dial 199 and speak to someone in your own language to explain the emergency.
Pharmacies in Greece are able to provide first aid for simple matters, and give competent advice.
List with the most useful Greece Emergency Phone Numbers
Greece Tourism Police
Greece Tourism Police is a Service of the Greek Police Force staffed with specially trained, foreign-language speaking personnel. You can recognize them by the distinctive insignia "Tourism Police" worn on the front of the shirt.
Within the framework of its duties and functions, it provides the following services:
- Provides tourist informations ti Greek and foreign visitors
- Cooperates with locally Directorates of Tourism and local authorities in order to deal with tourism issues
- Ensures that the tourist legislation in force is applied in all tourist areas
Greece Tourism Police operates an emergency telephone line with the number 171 on a 24 hour basis. With this number you can contact Tourism Police any time, any day, from all over Greece.
Timeshare in Greece
Offering mild winters and warm summers, Greece is a prime location for tourists interested in timeshare rentals. Sometimes owners looking to sell timeshares will make them available for rent at a great price. Enjoy the rich history of Athens or lounge on Greece's local beaches and take in the breathtaking scenery!