Greece is strategically located between the mainland of Europe and the Middle East. It lies in the south of the Balkan Peninsula and to the north, shares a border with Albania, FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and Bulgaria. In the East, Greece borders, Turkey, an ancient rival, while its western front faces the Adriatic Sea and its southern side straddles the Mediterranean Sea. The country covers an area of 32,000 square km.(19,838 miles)
Greece is, of course, the land of ancient sites and
architectural treasures -- the Acropolis in Athens, the amphitheater of
Epidaurus, and the reconstructed palace at Knossos among the best known.
But Greece is much more: It offers age-old spectacular natural sights,
for instance -- from Santorini's caldera to the gray pinnacles of rock
of the Meteora -- and modern diversions ranging from elegant museums to
Greece is a
mountainous peninsula with fertile plateaus, coastal belts and about 50
inhabited islands, of which Crete is the largest. The climate is
relatively mild during the winter. Daytime winter temperatures are usually
between 6° - 14° C with many hours of sunshine. The summer is warm,
with temperatures between 28° - 36°C. Low humidity and rainfall make
the country and its islands one of the most popular
vacation destinations in the world.
Greece also boasts a well educated
workforce and is a member of the Euro-zone. The tourism and shipping
industries are very important in the country and are growing rapidly.
English is widely spoken, especially within the business Community.
Historically, Greece represents one of the most ancient civilizations,
with advanced cultural and political institutions dating back to 500
B.C. During the Roman era, the country became part of the Roman Empire. Later it became one of the main administrative areas of the Byzantine
Empire. Following the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks, Greece
became a territory of the Ottoman Empire for nearly four centuries and
achieved its independence in1829. It was only after a series of local
wars that Greece stabilized its present territory.
The period ending in
1974 was often characterized by political instability, culminating in
the seven-year military coup of 1967. The 1974 democratic elections and a
referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy, leading to decades of relative political stability continuing
through today. Ironically, that stability is threatened today by Financial excess which has weakened the economy.