About Greece

General Information

Capital of Greece : Athens

Official language: Greek

The currency : Euro (€)

Climate: Mediterranean

Population: 11.306.183 (2010 estimate)

The country is a Presidential Parliamentary Democracy

President of the Republic: Mr. Karolos Papoulias

Prime Minister: Mr. George A. Papandreou

Calling code: The international calling code of Greece is +30

The Greek economy is based on the principles of free economy and is bound by the regulations of the world organizations that it is a member of, such as ECOFIN and WTO.

Geography

Greece is located in south-eastern Europe, on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula (Haemus peninsula); it lies at the meeting point of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa. Greece borders to the North on Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M.), to the Northwest on Albania, to the Northeast on Turkey; to the West it is washed by the Ionian Sea; to the South by the Mediterranean Sea and to the East by the Aegean Sea.
The total area of Greece is 131,957 km2 and consists of three main geographic areas:

a peninsular mainland (that extends from the region of Central Greece on the South to the region of Thrace on the North) being the biggest geographic feature of the country
the Peloponnese peninsula that is separated from the mainland by the canal of the Corinth Isthmus,
and around 6.000 islands and islets, scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Sea, most of them grouped in clusters, that constitute the unique Greek archipelago. Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, the Dodecanese and the Cyclades are some of the famous and popular islands and island clusters in Greece.
Eighty percent of the country consists of mountains or hills, making Greece one of the most mountainous countries of Europe; furthermore, it has 16.000 kilometres of coastline of which 7500 are found around the thousands islands of the Greek archipelago, a truly unparalleled phenomenon on the European continent.

Civilisation

Civilisation is the total sum of the material and cultural achievements of a group of people. Culture and art are two concepts closely interwoven, as art is the characteristic expression of the culture of a given period. Arts such as architecture, sculpture, pottery, weaving, music, jewelry making and painting have a long-term tradition in Greece, where civilisations had already developed in Prehistoric Years.

Little is known to date to the Paleolithic Era in Greece, but quite a lot is known about the Neolithic Period that followed (approx. 7th – 4th Millennium B.C.) and its civilisation, which is traced mainly in areas that included Thessaly and Macedonia.

Civilisations with impressive achievements developed during the Bronze Age (approx. 3000 – 1150 B.C.) in the Northeastern Aegean, the Cyclades (its trademark being the large-sized marble figurines), Crete and the Greek Mainland. The civilisations that flourished during the 2nd Millennium in the two regions, known as the Minoan and the Mycenean Periods respectively, are considered to be the first of the great civilisations in Greece. Architectural remains (e.g. palaces), as well as pottery work, stone carving (vessels, sealstones), metallurgy (vessels, weapons), jewelry making and paintings (murals) were impressive and representative works of these civilisations.

During the historical years, the civilisations of the Geometric Period (9th – 8th Century B.C.) and the Archaic Period (7th – 6th Century B.C.) were considered to be the forerunners of the culture found in the Classical Period (5th – 4th Century B.C.). The Classical works of art, with their ideal proportions and beauty, expressed the philosophical ideals of their times, and were the model of the European Renaissance Era of the 15th Century A.D. Greek civilisation developed during the subsequent Hellenistic Years (3rd – 1st Century B.C.) and the Roman Years (1st Century B.C. – 3rd Century A.D.), within the framework of large kingdoms and an empire respectively.
Greek civilisation again flourished -within the framework of an empire- during the Byzantine Years (early, middle and late – 4th – 15th Century A.D.), while civilisation in more recent times was marked by the Ottoman occupation and the emergence of the new Hellenic State after the Greek War of Independence (1821-1830).

A visit to archaeological sites, museums and monuments throughout the country provides a vivid picture of the civilisations in Greece and their accomplishments in arts and technology from the Prehistoric Era to modern times.

The traditional heritage of a country is the sum of the cultural and material achievements bequeathed by previous generations.Folk culture for the Greek people, rich in music, dances, poetry and theatre, is part of their every day life. All over the country have been created many specialized museums and cultural organisations aiming to preserve and study the Greek traditional heritage.


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