Greece, formally the Hellenic Republic, was once known as Hellas. It is located in southeastern Europe. As of 2015, Greece has a population of about 10.955 million. The capital and biggest city of Greece is Athens, followed by Thessaloniki.
Greece has a key position at the intersection of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It has land borders with Albania to the northwest, Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. Greece is divided into nine geographical regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands (including the Dodecanese and Cyclades), Thrace, and Crete. To the east of the mainland is the Aegean Sea, to the west is the Ionian Sea, and to the south is the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Greece has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean Basin and the eleventh longest in the world, measuring 13,676 kilometers (8,498 miles) in length and dotted with an abundance of islands, 227 of which are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus at 2,918 metres the highest peak (9,573 ft).
Ancient Greece is regarded as the origin of Western civilisation, having produced democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature, history, political science, key scientific and mathematical concepts, and Western theatre. From the ninth century BC, the Greeks were organized into many autonomous city-states known as polis that covered the whole Mediterranean and Black Sea regions. In the fourth century BC, Philip of Macedon unified the majority of Greece’s peninsula, and his son Alexander the Great quickly conquered much of the ancient world, spreading Greek culture and knowledge from the eastern Mediterranean to the Indus River. Greece was conquered by Rome in the second century BC, becoming an important component of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, both of which were dominated by the Greek language and culture. In the first century AD, the foundation of the Greek Orthodox Church molded contemporary Greek identity and conveyed Greek customs to the broader Orthodox World. After succumbing to Ottoman rule in the mid-15th century, Greece’s modern nation state formed in 1830 after an independence struggle. Greece’s illustrious historical heritage is represented in the country’s 18 UNESCO Globe Heritage Sites, which is the highest number in Europe and the world.
Greece is a democratic and developed nation with a high-income advanced economy, a high standard of living, and a good quality of life. Greece, a founding member of the United Nations, joined the European Communities (precursor to the European Union) as the tenth member and has been a member of the Eurozone since 2001. It is also a member of a number of other international organizations, including the Council of Europe, NATO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) (OIF). Greece is classified as a medium power due to its rich cultural legacy, burgeoning tourist economy, significant maritime sector, and geostrategic significance. It is one of Europe’s most visited nations and the Balkans’ biggest economy, where it is a significant regional investor.