Major Cities: ATHENS (capital) 3.252 million; Thessaloniki 834,000 (2009), Patras
Major Landforms: Over 200 inhabited islands including Crete, Euboea, Rhodes, and Lesbos. Aegean Islands, Argo-Saronic Islands, Peloponnese peninsula, Mount Olympus, Pindus Mountain Range, Vikos Gorge, Rhodope Range
Major Bodies of Water: Aliakmonas River, Achelous River, Evros River, Lake Volvi, Lake Trihonida, the Prespa Lakes, Ionian Sea, Aegean Sea, Sea of Crete, Mediterranean Sea
Famous Places: Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens, Ionian Islands, Mount Athos Orthodox monastery, ancient city of Mystras, Delphi Theatre, Meteora (monasteries that are "suspended in air"), the whitewashed houses of the city of Lindos, Samaria Gorge, Myrtos Beach, Santorini
Economy of Greece
Major Industries: tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products; mining, petroleum
Major Exports: food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles
Major Imports: machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
Currency: euro (EUR)
National GDP: $293,900,000,000
Government of Greece
Type of Government: parliamentary republic
Independence: 1829 (from the Ottoman Empire)
Divisions: Greece is divided up into thirteen regions (Attica, Central Greece, Central Macedonia, Crete, East Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Ionian Islands, North Aegean, Peloponnese, South Aegean, Thessaly, West Greece, West Macedonia) and one autonomous state (Mount Athos).
National Anthem or Song: Ymnos eis tin Eleftherian (Hymn to Liberty)
Greek Coat of Arms - A white cross on a blue shield surrounded by a circle of blue and white laurel branches.
Food - Feta, Greek salad, olive oil
Other symbols - Phoenix (mythical), double-headed eagle, Vergina Sun, the goddess Athena, the owl
Description of flag: The Greek flag was adopted on December 22, 1978. It has nine horizontal stripes of alternating blue and white with five blue and four white stripes. In the upper left is a white cross with a blue background. It is sometimes referred to as "I Galanolefki" or the "Blue and White". The cross represents Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The nine stripes are said to represent the nine Muses from Greek Mythology or the number of syllables in the Greek motto. The blue and white colors represent the Greek sea, sky, and clouds.
National Holiday: Independence Day, 25 March (1821)
Other Holidays: New Years' Day (January 1), Epiphany (January 6), Independence Day (March 25), Good Friday, Easter, Labor Day (May 1), Whit Monday, Assumption (August 15), Ochi Day (October 28), Christmas (December 25)
The People of Greece
Languages Spoken: Greek 99% (official), English, French
Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Origin of the name Greece: The name "Greece" comes from the Latin term "Graecia" which was used by the Romans. It means "land of the Greeks." However, the Greek people refer to the country as Hellas and the official name for the country is the Hellenic Republic.