Greece is a country in South Eastern Europe, situated in the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It has borders with Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey. The Mediterranean Sea, Ionian Sea and Aegean Sea all surround Greece. The territory of Greece is divided into three parts - mainland, central Greece and islands (in the Aegean Sea). More than two thousand islands are part of the Greek territories.
The capital of Greece is Athens (748 thousand population). Among the biggest cities are Thessaloniki (378 thousand), Peloponnese (155 thousand), Pireas (170 thousand), and Iraklio (117 thousand).
Greece is divided into 13 provinces, which are further subdivided into 54 prefectures, the "Nomoj'' in Greek. Greece also includes one autonomous region, the Monastic Community of the Holy Mountain, Mount Athos.
Total area of the country - 131,957 sq. km
Population - 11,1 million (by 2007)
Greece is a presidential parliamentary republic. The head of state is the President, who is elected by Parliament and performs some executive and legislative functions in addition to ceremonial duties.
The Prime Minister is elected by the people and he or she is the leader of the party controlling the absolute majority of Parliament members. In this way the Prime Minister plays a central role in the political process in Greece.
Greece has been a member of the European Union since 1981, as well as NATO and other international organizations.
Even if the economy of Greece has improved in recent years due to the tight policy before and after EU's single currency and the holding of the Olympic Games of 2004, Greece is one of the poorest countries of the European Union with the second-to-lowest average income.
Among Greece's main economy improvements are a budget deficit below 1% of GDP and an inflation which fell from 20% to 3.1% from 1990 and 2000. During the third quarter of 2006, Greece experienced a strong 4.4% growth rate in comparison to other EU member countries (2.7%-1.7%).
Nevertheless, the reconstruction of the economy, the reduction of unemployment (now it's 8.8%), reform of the tax system and social security system are the major challenges of the country.
Greece's main economic sectors are agriculture, tourism, construction and shipping.
The Greek currency is Euro.