Greece is a country in Southern Europe, with its southern and most of its eastern borders formed by the Ionian Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and the Aegean Sea. To the north, its land border are with Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and European portion of Turkey. It includes a number of chains of islands. The capital is Athens.
The country's official name is the Hellenic Republic, and it is a parliamentary republic. The population in July, 2007 was estimated at 10,706,290. Greek, the official language of Greece, is spoken by 99 percent of the population, while the other 1 percent speak a variety of languages, including English and French.
Tourism is an important part of the economy of Greece. Agricultural products include grains, such as barley, corn, and wheat; olives, wine, tomatoes and potatoes; and beef. Industries besides tourism include food processing, textiles, chemicals, and mining and petroleum.
Landmarks and notable features abound in Greece, including many fine archaeological finds as well as modern elements of interest. Athens is home to the Parthenon on the Acropolis as well as the Temples of Olympian Zeus and Hephaestus and the agora. Mycenae, Delphi, Olympia, Corinth, and Thessaloniki are just some of the spots that shed light on Greek history. Archaeological tours and tours following the travels of the Apostle Paul are available.
People who have made notable contributions to the culture of Greece include:
- philosophers, such as Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates;
- historians, such as Themistocles, Thucydides, and Herodotus;
- playwrights, such as Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides, and Sophocles;
- writers, such as Nikos Kazantzakis and Giorgos Seferis;
- poets, such as Homer and Sappho;
- musicians, such as Maria Callas, Vangelis, Yanni, and Nana Mouskouri
- actors, such as Melina Mercouri and Irene Papas; and
- filmmakers, such as Elia Kazan.
The cuisine of Greece is characterized by olive oil, olives, seafood, honey, oregano, goat cheese, wine, and lamb. Well-known dishes include dolmades—stuffed grape leaves, spanakopita — a stuffed phyllo usually containing spinach and feta cheese; gyros — lamb sandwiches on pita; avgolemono — a lemony egg soup; souvlaki — grilled meat; or baklava — phyllo dough layered with nuts, sugar syrup, honey, and spices.