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Greece Overview

Greece mainland and the Greek islands are one of the favorite holiday destinations in Europe. In fact, Greece comes in the 15th place in the world rating of tourist destinations, since, according to the National Statistical Service of Greece, it receives more than 15 million tourists every year, after countries such as the USA, China, Spain and Great Britain.

The Greek tourism started flourishing in the late 1960s and particularly in the early 1970s. The first Greek hotel unit was created in 1968 in Agios Nikolaos, Lasithi, Crete and since then many accommodation options have made their appearance all along Greece. In a slow but stable pace, Greece has today managed to become one of the most favorite tourist destinations among Europeans, Asians and Americans. It is worth mentioning that, according to surveys, the Chinese and the Austrians vote for Greece as the best holiday
spot ever!!

Capital:
Athens

Flag:
Nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white; there is a blue square in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white cross; the cross symbolizes Greek Orthodoxy, the established religion of the country.

National Anthem:
The National Anthem of Greece consists of the first two verses of the “Hymn to Freedom”. The “Hymn to Freedom” was written by the poet Dionysios Solomos in a single month, May 1823, in Zakynthos (Zante) on the hill of his bosom friend Loudovikos Stranis.

Geography:
Location

Greece is a country located in Southern Europe, on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. Greece is surrounded on the north by Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Albania; to the west by the Ionian Sea; to the south by the Mediterranean Sea and to the east by the Aegean Sea and Turkey.

Geographic coordinates
The country ranges approximately in latitude from 35°00′N to 42°00′N and in longitude from 19°00′E to 28°30′E.

Population:
10,668,354 (July 2005 est.)

Total Area:
131,940 sq km

International dialing code:
00 code to dial out

Country Code:
+30

Language:
Greek

Currency:
Euro (EUR)

Area comparative:
Slightly smaller than Alabama

History:
Greece is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and the cradle of Western culture as we know it. The first signs of inhabitance were the Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean maritime civilisations that lived and ruled during the Bronze Age (3000-1200 BC). However, these collapsed by the 11th century BC and a 'dark age' followed. By 800 BC, there was a cultural and military revival and city-states like Athens and Sparta sprang onto the world map. The classical (or golden) age of Greece started soon after and gave rise to many of the world’s cultural emblems before ending with the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 AD) in which the Athenians were vanquished by the Spartans.

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