About Greece

Greece, Hellas, officially known as the “Hellenic Republic” is the southeasternmost country in Europe, occupying the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula. It is bordered by Albania, FYROM and Bulgaria from the north, and the European part of Turkey from the northeast. From the east by the Aegean Sea, from the south by the Mediterranean Sea, and from the west the Ionian Sea, including more than 400 islands, which occupy more than one fifth of its total land territory the total area of the country is 131,957 square kilometers (50.949 square miles).

The mainland portion of Greece comprises the regions of Thraki and Macedonia in the north; Epirus, Thessaly, and Central Greece in the central section; and in the south Peloponnisos, a peninsula which is connected to the rest of the mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth.The remainder of Greece consists of more than 400 islands, (only 149 are inhabited.) These are Evia, Crete, or Kriti, the Northern Sporades, the Cyclades, the Dodecanisa, Chios, Limnos, Lesvos, Samos, Samothraki, and Thassos, all of which are spread out in the Aegean Sea. In the west, the Ionian Sea, is where the Eptanisa are found, a group of seven inhabited major islands and three small uninhabited ones.

The coastal waters of the country are relatively shallow and penetrate far inland. Despite its indented coastline, Greece has fine natural harbors, namely its main harbor of Piraeus, the second largest in the Mediterranean Sea, after Marseilles in France. Piraeus is considered an excellent harbor in the East Mediterranean waters.

The climate of Greece is similar to that of other Mediterranean regions. In the lowlands the summers are hot and dry, with clear, cloudless skies. The winters are relatively mild, but rainy. The mountainous regions are much cooler, with considerable rain during the summer months. Frost, sleet, ice, or snow are rare in the lowlands, but most mountains are covered with snow in the winter. Precipitation varies from region to region.

The largest and most important city is Athens, the capital, with a population of 748.110. Piraeus, seaport of Athens, is the largest port of Greece (second largest in the Mediterranean Sea after Marseilles in France) with a population of 169.622. Thessaloniki, (sometimes referred to as the co-capital) with a population of 377.951, is a seaport and an important textile center. Patra, located on the northwestern part of Peloponnisos, is a major seaport with 155,180 inhabitants. Other sizable cities are Heraclion, Crete (117.167) and Larisa (113.426).

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