Greece is located in south-eastern Europe, on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. It lies at the meeting point of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa. Greece borders to the North on Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M.), to the Northwest on Albania, to the Northeast on Turkey; to the West it is washed by the Ionian Sea; to the South by the Mediterranean Sea and to the East by the Aegean Sea.
The total area of Greece is 131,957 km2 and consists of three main geographic areas: a peninsular mainland, the Peloponnese peninsula and around 6.000 islands, scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Sea. Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, the Dodecanese and the Cyclades are some of the famous and popular islands and island clusters in Greece. Eighty percent of the country consists of mountains or hills, making Greece one of the most mountainous countries of Europe; furthermore, it has 16.000 kilometres of coastline.
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy. Thessaloniki is Greece's second major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre, and a major transportation hub for the rest of southeastern Europe.
The 9th - 8th Century B.C. marked the formation of the Greek City-States, the creation of the Greek alphabet and the composition of the Homeric epics, later followed by the dominance of Athens. The Macedonians began to play a leading role in Greece. Alexander’s campaign to the East spread the Macedonian Empire as far as the Indus River.
The Roman Empire forced Greece to join the empire in 146 B.C. The decision by Constantine the Great to move the capital of the empire from Rome to Constantinople (324 A.D.), shifted the focus of attention to the eastern part of the empire. The Ottomans gradually began to seize parts of the empire from the 14th Century A.D., and completed the breakup of the empire with the capture of Constantinople in 1453. Around four centuries of Ottoman domination then followed, up to the beginning of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. The Greek State took its current form after the end of World War II with the incorporation of the Dodecanese Islands.
Presently, Greece is ademocratic countrywith an advanced economy. Greece is a founding member of theUnited Nations, and is a member of EU,NATO, OECD and other international organizations.
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