Greece, officially known as The Hellenic Republic, is the southernmost
country on the European mainland. With an area of 131,940 square kilometres,
Greece is about the same size as England. The longest border of Greece is with
the sea. Over 2,000 Greek islands are scattered about the eastern Mediterranean,
roughly 200 of them are inhabited. The Greek mainland shares land borders with
Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bulgaria and Turkey.
The climate is mostly dry and temperate, though it snows on the mountains and
in the north. The mild weather and sheltered valleys of the region, along with
the early development of seafaring, contributed to the rise of Ancient Greek
civilisation. Greece has a long and eventful history, it was part of each of the
great empires - the Roman, the Byzantine and the Ottoman - that ruled the
Greece has strong historical ties with southeastern and western Europe, Asia
and Africa. At the crossroads of so many civilisations, Greece is gifted with a
rich and fascinating cultural heritage. The country's turbulent history has had
remarkably little effect on the Greek language. Modern Greek is easily
recognisable as the language of Plato.