Greece Geography

So you want to know about Greece? Here are some highlights! Also check out the links to other sites about Greece.

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Key Facts

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Greece is one of the oldest civilizations, dating back over 5000 years.

Population: 10 million people

Geographic size: 51,000 square miles

Capital: Athens

Major cities and population: Athens, Patra, Piraeus, Larisa and Salonica


Geographic Landmarks

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Much of Greece is mountainous and rocky terrain, with the occasional plain. The Pindus Mountains start in northern Greece and stretch south to the Gulf of Patra. In the southern part of Greece are the Peloponnesus Mountains.

About 20% of Greece is made up of islands. Crete is a large island located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a popular tourist area for its beautiful mountains, coastline, and many ancient ruins.

Most of the people in Greece live along the coast, or along rivers and harbors.


Points of Interest

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The people of Greece were one of the earliest civilizations. Greece still has many ancient ruins, some over 4000 years old. Greece also has many medieval churchs. This makes Greece a very popular tourist area.
Greece is also well known for its sculptures, paintings, pottery, poetry and playwriting.


Major Industries

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The land within Greece is not very productive for farming. The Greeks have struggled to build a strong economy. The standard of living in Greece is lower than other European countries.

Manufacturing is becoming one of the key industries. Tourism is also very important, particularly along the Aegean Sea coast.

Some farming includes wheat, fruits, vegetables, olives and grapes. Some areas support goat and sheep ranching.

Fishing also continues to be an important industry.


Historical Highlights

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Ancient Greece is considered the birthplace of European civilization, dating back over 5000 years. Many of the ancient ruins date back over 4000 years, with some caves showing signs of life over 10,000 years ago. The ancient greek people may have come from northern Africa.

Ancient Greece produced many philosophers and scholars, such as Socrates and Plato. These Greeks contributed significantly to our current culture. They created the first democratic government, discovered many scientific principles, and created mathematics. The Greeks also contributed to the artistic community with Homer, who wrote the Iliad and The Odyssey, and other artisans creating sculptures, paintings, pottery, poetry and playwriting.

Competitive sports were a major part of Greek life. The first Olympic Games were held in Greece in 776 BC.

The ancient Greeks did not have a strong, unified military force. This made them an easy target for other invading people. In ancient times, Greece was conquered by the Romans. Others controlled Greece at various times. In the 15th century, the Turks invaded Greece and ruled for about 400 years. The Greeks finally got their independence in the early 1800s.


Population and Culture

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The majority of people in Greece live in cities along the coast, with over 50% living in, and around, Athens. The majority of people in Greece are of Greek heritage with small populations of Turks, Bulgarians and other Europeans.

The Greeks still maintain very strong traditions, such as folk dancing.

Many local shops still sell goods created by hand.



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Most of Greece has a mild climate. Summers are warm and dry, particularly in the southern coastal areas. Rain is heavy during the winter months, with some mountain areas getting snow.


Books on Greece

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Links to other sites about Greece

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