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Information on Greece.
Facts on Greece. Greece history, Greek life.
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in south-eastern Europe, situated on the southern end of the Balkan peninsula. It is bordered by Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania to the north and by Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece (actually to the south of the Greek periphery Eastern Macedonia and Thrace), while the Ionian Sea lies to the west. Both parts of the eastern Mediterranean basin feature a vast number of islands.
Greece lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is heir to the heritages of classical Greece, the Byzantine Empire, and nearly four centuries of Ottoman
rule. Regarded as the cradle of western civilization and being the birthplace of
democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, western literature, political science, major scientific principles, and
drama (including both tragedy and comedy), Greece has a particularly long and eventful history and a cultural heritage considerably influential in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East.
The mythical Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in the country, located in the southwestern Pieria prefecture, near
Vital Statistics: According to the NSSG, in 2005, Greece had a total population of 11.082.752 of whom 5.486.632 were males and 5.596.119 females. As statistics from 1971, 1981 and 2001 show, the Greek population has been ageing the past several decades. In 2001, 16,71% of the population were 65 years old and older, 68,12% between the ages of 15 and 64 years old, and 15,18% were 14 years old and younger. In 1971 the figures were 10.92%, 63.72% and 25,36% respectively. Greek societal traits have also rapidly changed through the passage of time. For example, marriage rates kept falling from almost 71/1,000 inhabitants in 1981 until 2002, only to increase slightly in 2003 to 61/1,000. Divorce rates on the other hand, have seen an everlasting and accelerating increase – from 89,2/1,000 marriages in 1981 to 191/1,000 marriages in 2002. Almost 2/3 of Greeks live in urban areas. Greece's largest cities in 2005 were: Athens (3,190,336), Thessaloniki (980,419), Patra (216,592), Iraklio (188,650) and Volos (151,591). (source: The Regions of Greece, All Media Publication, 2005)
The climate of Greece can be categorised into three types that influence well defined regions of its territory. The Pindus mountain range strongly affects the climate of the country by making the western side of it (areas prone to the
southwesterlies) wetter than the areas lying to the east of it (lee side of the mountains). The three distinct types are the Mediterranean, the Alpine and the Temperate types. The first one features mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The
Cyclades, the Dodecanese, Crete, Eastern Peloponessus and parts of the Sterea Ellada region are mostly affected by this particular type. Temperatures rarely reach extreme values although snowfalls do occur occasionally even in the Cyclades or Crete during the winter months. The Alpine type is dominant mainly in the mountainous areas of Northwestern Greece (Epirus, Central Greece,
Thessaly, Western Macedonia as well as in the central parts of Peloponessus, including the prefectures of
Achaea, Arcadia and parts of Laconia, where the Pindus range passes by). Finally, the Temperate type affects Central and Eastern Macedonia as well as Thrace, mainly affecting the cities of
Komotini, Xanthi and the towns of northern Evros; it features cold, damp winters (with 52 inches of rain in Corfu and 25 inches in Crete) and hot, dry summers. Athens is located in a transitional area featuring both the Mediterranean and the temperate types. It averages about 16 inches of rain annually. The city's northern suburbs are dominated by the temperate type while the downtown area and the southern suburbs enjoy a typical Mediterranean type.
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