Located near the
crossroads of Europe and Asia, Greece forms the southern
extremity of the Balkan peninsula in south-east Europe. Its
territory includes more than 2 000 islands in the Aegean and
Ionian seas, of which only around 165 are inhabited. Mount
Olympus is the highest point in the country.
Greece is one of the cradles of European civilisation, whose
ancient scholars made great advances in philosophy,
medicine, mathematics and astronomy. Their city-states were
pioneers in developing democratic forms of government. The
historical and cultural heritage of Greece continues to
resonate throughout the modern world - in literature, art,
philosophy and politics.
Modern Greece has a republican structure based on the
constitution of 1975. The 300 members of the single-chamber
parliament are elected for a period of four years. The
country is divided into 13 administrative regions.
than 50% of Greek industry is located in the Greater Athens
area, the main economic sectors being agriculture, tourism,
construction and shipping.
The best-known contemporary Greeks include the film-maker
Kostas Gavras, the Nobel Prize winner Odysseus Elitis and
composer Mikis Theodorakis.
Greek cuisine is based on goat meat and mutton. Fish dishes
are also popular. Olive oil, which is produced in large
quantities, adds to the distinctive taste of Greek food.