Greece is on the world map. Map of Greece with cities
Map of Greece with cities. Where Greece is on the world map. The main geographical facts about Greece - population, country area, capital, official language, religions, industry and culture.
Greece Fact File
Official name Hellenic Republic
Region Southeastern Europe
Form of government Republic with single legislative body (Chamber of Deputies)
Area 1 31,940 sq km (50,942 sq miles)
Time zone GMT+ 2 hours
Projected population 2015 10,472,000
Population density 80.7 per sq km (209 per sq mile)
Life expectancy 78.7
Infant mortality (per 1,000) 6.3
Official language Greek
Other languages Albanian, Macedonian, Turkish, Romanian
Literacy rate 97%
Religions Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Ethnic groups Greek 98 %, other 2 % Currency Euro
Economy Services 62%, industry 24%, agriculture 14%
GNP per capita US$ 19,000
Climate Temperate, with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers
Highest point Mt Olympus 2,917 m (9,570 ft) Map reference Page 297
Mainland Greece occupies the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula. The western shores of this peninsula are washed by the Ionian Sea, while on the east the Aegean Sea lies between it and Turkey. In the north, Greece shares borders with Albania, and to the northeast with Macedonia and Bulgaria. In its far northeast corner there is a short border with Turkey. Dotted all over the Aegean Sea and also in the Ionian Sea are
more than 1,500 Greek islands, only about ten percent of which are inhabited. South of the mainland, in the Mediterranean Sea, is the large island of Crete.
It was in Crete that the seeds of Greek civilization were sown. For more than 2,000 years, from about 3500 вс, the Minoan civilization grew and flourished here. In about the sixteenth century вс it spread to Mycenae, in the Peloponnese Peninsula. In the fifth century вс Athens emerged as the center of Greek culture. It developed rich traditions in literature, theater, philosophy and politics which established the values on which most modern Western civilizations are based. In the fourth century вс, under Alexander the Great, a vast Greek Empire spread across Asia as far as India and southward as far as Alexandria in Egypt. Subsumed into the Roman Empire by the beginning of the second century вс, Greece eventually came under Byzantine rule, where it remained until the fall of Constantinople in ad 1204. After a quick succession of foreign rulers, the Ottoman Turks conquered Greece towards the end of the fourteenth century. Modern Greece dates back to 1832, when the country emerged from almost 400 years of Turkish domination and established a monarchy.
In 1941 Greece was overrun, in the face of fierce resistance, by German and Italian troops. It was liberated during 1944 by British and Greek forces, but almost immediately the country was plunged into civil war as monarchists and communists fought for supremacy. This destructive and debilitating struggle finally ended in 1949 with a victory by the monarchists. However, a military coup in 1967 resulted in the monarchy being expelled and a republic being established under an oppressive dictatorship. This regime fell in 1974 after an abortive attempt to invade Cyprus. In 1975, civilian government was restored and Greece became a democratic republic with a president elected for a five-year term, and a single-chamber parliament headed by a prime minister elected every
four years. Its political system soon proved stable enough that Greece was admitted as the tenth member of the EC in 1981.
Most of mainland Greece is mountainous, being dominated by the Pindos Mountains, an extension of the Dinaric Alps that extend southeastward throughout the peninsula from the Albanian border. The mountains that form Crete and the island of Rhodes, near the southwestern tip of Turkey, were once part of the same range. In the northeast the Rhodope Mountains form a natural border with Bulgaria. The only extensive low-lying areas are the northern plain, which extends from the Maritsa River on the Turkish border across the northern Aegean region to the Greek province of Macedonia, and the plain of Thessaly in the central eastern mainland. Much of the Greek landscape, including that of many of the islands, is sparsely vegetated and has a rugged, rocky grandeur that, together with its warm climate, its beaches, and its rich historic heritage, attracts more than ten million foreign visitors every year.
Despite its generally poor soils, Greece is heavily dependent on agriculture, which still employs about one-quarter of the workforce, largely on relatively small and inefficient farms. Wheat, olives, tobacco, and citrus and other fruits are among the main crops, and olives, particularly, are a major export item. Sheep and pigs are the principal livestock and are widely raised on the mainland and on Crete. Greece is almost self-sufficient in food production.
Not well endowed with mineral resources, Greece needs to import most of the raw materials for its industries, the majority of which are centered on Athens, though the area around Salonica in the northeast is also heavily industrialized. Food processing based on local agricultural production is important, as are textile manufacture and chemical processing. The tourist industry has helped the development of many local small-scale enterprises in such areas as ceramics, crafts, and textiles.