Greece, or Hellenic Republic, a country consisting of part of the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe and many offshore islands. It was in Greece that, centuries before Christ, there arose an enlightened civilization noted for its achievements in art and architecture, literature, philosophy, science, and government. Greece is often called the birthplace of Western civilization.
Greece is bounded by Albania, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and the Aegean, Mediterranean, and Ionian seas.
|Facts in brief about Greece|
|Official language: Greek.|
|Official name: Elliniki dimokratia (Hellenic Republic).|
|Area: 50,949 mi2 (131,957 km2). Greatest mainland distances—north-south, 365 mi (587 km); east-west, 345 mi (555 km). Coastline (including islands)—9,333 mi (15,020 km).|
|Elevation: Highest—Mount Olympus, 9,570 ft (2,917 m) above sea level. Lowest—sea level along the coasts.|
|Population: Current estimate—11,128,000; density, 218 per mi2 (84 per km2); distribution, 60 percent urban, 40 percent rural. 2001 census—10,964,020.|
|Chief products: Agriculture—corn, cotton, grapes and raisins, olives, poultry, sheep, sugar beets, tobacco, wheat. Manufacturing—cement, chemicals, cigarettes, clothing, fabricated metal products, petrochemicals, processed foods, textiles. Mining—bauxite, chromite, lignite, magnesite, marble.|
|National anthem: "Ethnikos Hymnos" ("National Anthem").|
|Flag: Greece's flag, adopted in 1822, has a white cross symbolizing the Greek Orthodox religion in the upper-left corner. The flag has nine alternating horizontal blue and white stripes. The blue stripes represent the sea and sky, and the white stripes stand for the purity of the struggle for independence.|
|Money: Basic unit—euro. One hundred cents equal one euro. The drachma was taken out of circulation in 2002.|