Population: 10,815,197 (est.)
- The Euro (€) is the official currency of Greece.
- The Greek Constitution recognizes the Orthodox Christian faith as the “prevailing” faith of the country, while guaranteeing freedom of religious belief for all.
- According to the U.S. State Department, an estimated 97% of Greek citizens identify themselves as Orthodox Christians.
- About 15.8% of Greeks describe themselves as “very religious”, which is the highest among all European countries.
- Greece follows a system of ‘compulsory voting’, meaning voting is required by law for every citizen who is 18 or older – this is not enforced though.
- About 7% of all the marble produced in the world comes from Greece.
- The world’s third leading producer of olives, the Greeks have cultivated olive trees since ancient times. Some olive trees planted in the thirteenth century are still producing olives.
- Greece has a huge tourism industry.
- Greece has zero navigable rivers because of the mountainous terrain. Nearly 80% of Greece is mountainous.
- Approximately 98% of the people in Greece are ethnic Greeks. Turks form the largest minority group. Other minorities are Albanians, Macedonians, Bulgarians, Armenians, and gypsies.
- About 12 million people around the world speak Greek. They live mostly in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Albania, Turkey, the United States, among other countries.
- Greece has more than 2,000 islands, of which approximately 170 are populated. Greece’s largest island is Crete (3,189 sq. miles) (8,260 sq. km.).
- Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest at 2,917 m (9,570 ft).
- Greece is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy.
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. Athens is the country’s capital and largest city (its urban area also including the municipality of Piraeus). According to the 2011 census data, Greece’s population is slightly less than 11 million.
Greece is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and has land borders with Albania, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km (8,498 mi) in length, featuring a vast number of islands (approximately 1,400, of which 227 are inhabited), including Crete, the Dodecanese, the Cyclades, and the Ionian Islands among others. Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest at 2,917 m (9,570 ft).
Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of ancient Greece, generally considered the cradle of Western civilization. As such, it is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy. This legacy is partly reflected in the seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Greece, ranking Greece 7th in Europe and 13th in the world. The modern Greek state was established in 1830, following the Greek War of Independence.
Greece has been a member of what is now the European Union since 1981 and the eurozone since 2001, NATO since 1952, and is a founding member of the United Nations. Greece is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy and very high standards of living, including the 21st highest quality of life as of 2010.