Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in . Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; is its largest and capital city, followed by . Situated on the southern tip of the , Greece is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It shares land borders with to the northwest, and to the north, and to the northeast. The lies to the east of the , the to the west, the and the to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the and the at in length, featuring many , of which 227 are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with being the highest peak at . The country consists of nine : , , the , , , the (including the and ), , , and the . Greece is considered the cradle of , being the birthplace of , , , , , major and principles, and the . From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as ''poleis'' (singular '), which spanned the and the . united most of present-day Greece in the fourth century BC, with his son rapidly conquering much of the ancient world, from the eastern Mediterranean to India. The subsequent saw the height of and influence in antiquity. Greece was annexed by in the second century BC, becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its continuation, the , which was culturally and linguistically predominantly Greek. The , which emerged in the first century AD, helped shape modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider . After falling under rule in the mid-15th century, Greece emerged as a modern in 1830 following a . The country's rich historical legacy is reflected in part by its 18 . Greece is a , and a , with an advanced , and a high , ranking simultaneously very high in the . Its economy is the in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor. A founding member of the , Greece was the tenth member to join the (precursor to the ) and has been part of the since 2001. It is also a member of numerous other international institutions, including the , the (NATO), the (OECD), the (WTO), the (OSCE), and the (OIF). Greece's unique cultural heritage, large , and geostrategic importance classify it as a .


The native name of the country in Modern Greek is (', pronounced ). The corresponding form in Ancient Greek and conservative formal Modern Greek () is (, classical: , modern: ). This is the source of the English alternate name ''Hellas'', which is mostly found in archaic or poetic contexts today. The Greek adjectival form (, ) is sometimes also translated as ''Hellenic'' and is often rendered in this way in the formal names of Greek institutions, as in the official name of the Greek state, the ''Hellenic Republic'' (, ). The English names ''Greece'' and ''Greek'' are derived, via the Latin ' and ', from the name of the (, ; singular , ), who were among the first to settle in . The term is ultimately derived from the root ', "to grow old".


Prehistory and early history

The earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000BC, is to be found in the , in the Greek province of Macedonia. The in , in southern Greece, contains the oldest remains of outside of Africa, dated to 210,000 years ago. All three stages of the Stone Age (, , and ) are represented in Greece, for example in the . settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries, as Greece lies on the route via which farming spread from the to Europe. Following the end of the in 3.200 BC, a slow transition period between the stone economy to the bronze economy during the end of the 4th Millennium BC including and with the first large buildings () until the middle of the 3rd Millenium BC took place in the Greek mainland. before the Middle Helladic period that developed the socioeconomic base of the following and . Greece is home to the first advanced civilizations in Europe and is considered the birthplace of Western civilisation, beginning with the on the islands of the at around 3200 BC, the in Crete (2700–1500 BC), and then the civilization on the mainland (1600–1100 BC). These civilizations possessed , the Minoans using an known as , and the Mycenaeans writing the earliest form of in . The Mycenaeans gradually absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC, along with other civilizations, during the regional event known as the . This ushered in a period known as the , from which written records are absent. Though the unearthed Linear B texts are too fragmentary for the reconstruction of the political landscape and can't support the existence of a larger state, contemporary Hittite and Egyptian records suggest the presence of a single state under a "Great King" based in mainland Greece.

Archaic and Classical period

The end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to 776 BC, the year of the first . The ' and the ', the foundational texts of , are believed to have been composed by in the 7th or 8th centuries BC.'s introduction to ''The Odyssey'' (Penguin, 2003), p. ''xi''. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and s across the Greek peninsula, which spread to the shores of the , ("Magna Graecia") and . These states and their colonies reached great levels of prosperity that resulted in an unprecedented cultural boom, that of , expressed in , , , and . In 508 BC, instituted the world's first system of government in . By 500 BC, the controlled the Greek city states in Asia Minor and Macedonia. Attempts by some of the Greek city-states of Asia Minor to overthrow Persian rule , and Persia in 492 BC, but was forced to withdraw after a defeat at the in 490 BC. In response, the Greek city-states formed the Hellenic League in 481 BC, led by Sparta, which was the first historically recorded union of Greek states since the mythical union of the Trojan War. A by the Persians followed in 480 BC. Following decisive Greek victories in 480 and 479 BC at , , and , the Persians were forced to withdraw for a second time, marking their eventual withdrawal from all of their European territories. Led by Athens and Sparta, the Greek victories in the are considered a pivotal moment in world history, as the 50 years of peace that followed are known as the , the seminal period of ancient Greek development that laid many of the foundations of Western civilization. Lack of political unity within Greece resulted in frequent conflict between Greek states. The most devastating intra-Greek war was the (431–404 BC), won by and marking the demise of the Athenian Empire as the leading power in ancient Greece. Both Athens and Sparta were later overshadowed by and eventually Macedon, with the latter uniting most of the city-states of the Greek hinterland in the (also known as the ''Hellenic League'' or ''Greek League'') under the control of . Despite this development, the Greek world remained largely fragmented and would not be united under a single power until the Roman years. Sparta did not join the League and actively fought against it, raising an army led by to secure the city-states of Crete for Persia. Following the assassination of Phillip II, his son ("The Great") assumed the leadership of the League of Corinth and launched an invasion of the Persian Empire with the combined forces of the League in 334 BC. Undefeated in battle, Alexander had conquered the Persian Empire in its entirety by 330 BC. By the time of his death in 323 BC, he had created one of the largest empires in history, stretching from Greece to India. Upon his death, his empire split into several kingdoms, the most famous of which were the , , the , and the . Many Greeks migrated to , , , and the many other new Hellenistic cities in Asia and Africa. Although the political unity of Alexander's empire could not be maintained, it resulted in the and spread the Greek language and Greek culture in the territories conquered by Alexander. Greek science, technology, and mathematics are generally considered to have reached their peak during the Hellenistic period.

Hellenistic and Roman periods (323 BC – 4th century AD)

After a following Alexander's death, the , descended from one of Alexander's generals, established its control over Macedon and most of the Greek city-states by 276 BC. From about 200 BC the became increasingly involved in Greek affairs and engaged in a . Macedon's defeat at the in 168 BC signalled the end of Antigonid power in Greece. In 146 BC, Macedonia was annexed as a province by Rome, and the rest of Greece became a Roman protectorate. The process was completed in 27 BC when the annexed the rest of Greece and constituted it as the of . Despite their military superiority, the Romans admired and became by the achievements of Greek culture, hence 's famous statement: ''Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit'' ("Greece, although captured, took its wild conqueror captive"). The epics of inspired the of , and authors such as wrote using Greek styles. Roman heroes such as , tended to study and regarded Greek culture and science as an example to be followed. Similarly, most Roman emperors maintained an admiration for things Greek in nature. The Roman emperor visited Greece in AD 66, and performed at the , despite the rules against non-Greek participation. was also particularly fond of the Greeks. Before becoming emperor, he served as an of Athens. Greek-speaking communities of the Hellenised East were instrumental in the spread of early Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and Christianity's early leaders and writers (notably ) were mostly Greek-speaking, though generally not from Greece itself. The was written in Greek, and some of its sections (, , , of St. John of ) attest to the importance of churches in Greece in . Nevertheless, much of Greece clung tenaciously to paganism, and ancient Greek religious practices were still in vogue in the late 4th century AD, when they were outlawed by the Roman emperor in 391–392. The last recorded Olympic games were held in 393, and many temples were destroyed or damaged in the century that followed. In Athens and rural areas, paganism is attested well into the sixth century AD and even later. The closure of the Academy of Athens by the Emperor Justinian in 529 is considered by many to mark the end of antiquity, although there is evidence that the Academy continued its activities for some time after that. Some remote areas such as the southeastern Peloponnese remained pagan until well into the 10th century AD.

Medieval period (4th – 15th century)

The Roman Empire in the east, following the in the 5th century, is conventionally known as the Byzantine Empire (but was simply called "Kingdom of the Romans" in its own time) and lasted until 1453. With its capital in , its language and culture were Greek and its religion was predominantly . From the 4th century, the Empire's Balkan territories, including Greece, suffered from the dislocation of . The raids and devastation of the and in the 4th and 5th centuries and the invasion of Greece in the 7th century resulted in a dramatic collapse in imperial authority in the Greek peninsula. Following the Slavic invasion, the imperial government retained formal control of only the islands and coastal areas, particularly the densely populated walled cities such as Athens, Corinth and Thessalonica, while some mountainous areas in the interior held out on their own and continued to recognise imperial authority. Outside of these areas, a limited amount of Slavic settlement is generally thought to have occurred, although on a much smaller scale than previously thought. However, the view that Greece in late antiquity underwent a crisis of decline, fragmentation and depopulation is now considered outdated, as Greek cities show a high degree of institutional continuity and prosperity between the 4th and 6th centuries AD (and possibly later as well). In the early 6th century, Greece had approximately 80 cities according to the chronicle, and the period from the 4th to the 7th century AD is considered one of high prosperity not just in Greece but in the entire Eastern Mediterranean. Until the 8th century almost all of modern Greece was under the jurisdiction of the of according to the system of . Byzantine moved the border of the westward and northward in the 8th century. The Byzantine recovery of lost provinces began toward the end of the 8th century and most of the Greek peninsula came under imperial control again, in stages, during the 9th century. This process was facilitated by a large influx of Greeks from Sicily and Asia Minor to the Greek peninsula, while at the same time many Slavs were captured and re-settled in Asia Minor and the few that remained were assimilated. During the 11th and 12th centuries the return of stability resulted in the Greek peninsula benefiting from strong economic growth – much stronger than that of the Anatolian territories of the Empire. During that time, the was also instrumental in the spread of Greek ideas to the wider . Following the and the fall of Constantinople to the "" in 1204, mainland Greece was split between the Greek (a Byzantine successor state) and rule (known as the '), while some islands came under rule. The re-establishment of the Byzantine imperial capital in Constantinople in 1261 was accompanied by the empire's recovery of much of the Greek peninsula, although the Frankish in the Peloponnese and the rival Greek in the north both remained important regional powers into the 14th century, while the islands remained largely under Genoese and Venetian control. During the (1261–1453) a new era of Greek patriotism emerged accompanied by a turning back to ancient Greece. As such prominent personalities at the time also proposed changing the imperial title to "Emperor of the Hellenes", and, in late fourteenth century, the emperor was frequently referred to as the "Emperor of the Hellenes". Similarly, in several international treaties of that time the Byzantine emperor is styled as "Imperator Graecorum". In the 14th century, much of the Greek peninsula was lost by the Byzantine Empire at first to the and then to the . By the beginning of the 15th century, the Ottoman advance meant that Byzantine territory in Greece was limited mainly to its then-largest city, Thessaloniki, and the Peloponnese (). After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453, the Morea was one of the last remnants of the Byzantine Empire to hold out against the Ottomans. However, this, too, fell to the Ottomans in 1460, completing the Ottoman conquest of mainland Greece. With the Turkish conquest, many Byzantine Greek scholars, who up until then were largely responsible for preserving knowledge, fled to the West, taking with them a large body of literature and thereby significantly .

Venetian possessions and Ottoman rule (15th century – 1821)

While most of mainland Greece and the Aegean islands was under Ottoman control by the end of the 15th century, and remained territory and did not fall to the Ottomans until 1571 and 1670 respectively. The only part of the Greek-speaking world that escaped long-term Ottoman rule was the , which remained Venetian until their capture by the in 1797, then passed to the in 1809 until their unification with Greece in 1864. While some Greeks in the Ionian Islands and lived in prosperity, and Greeks of Constantinople () achieved positions of power within the Ottoman administration, much of the population of mainland Greece suffered the economic consequences of the Ottoman conquest. Heavy taxes were enforced, and in later years the Ottoman Empire enacted a policy of creation of hereditary estates, effectively turning the rural Greek populations into . The and the were considered by the Ottoman governments as the ruling authorities of the entire population of the Ottoman Empire, whether ethnically Greek or not. Although the Ottoman state did not force non-Muslims to convert to , Christians faced several types of discrimination intended to highlight their inferior status in the Ottoman Empire. Discrimination against Christians, particularly when combined with harsh treatment by local Ottoman authorities, led to conversions to Islam, if only superficially. In the 19th century, many "crypto-Christians" returned to their old religious allegiance. The nature of Ottoman administration of Greece varied, though it was invariably arbitrary and often harsh. Some cities had governors appointed by the , while others (like Athens) were self-governed municipalities. Mountainous regions in the interior and many islands remained effectively autonomous from the central Ottoman state for many centuries. When military conflicts broke out between the Ottoman Empire and other states, Greeks usually took up arms against the Ottomans, with few exceptions. Prior to the Greek Revolution of 1821, there had been a number of wars which saw Greeks fight against the Ottomans, such as the Greek participation in the in 1571, the Epirus peasants' revolts of 1600–1601 (led by the Orthodox bishop ), the of 1684–1699, and the -instigated in 1770, which aimed at breaking up the Ottoman Empire in favour of Russian interests. These uprisings were put down by the Ottomans with great bloodshed. On the other side, many Greeks were conscripted as Ottoman citizens to serve in the Ottoman army (and especially the Ottoman navy), while also the , responsible for the Orthodox, remained in general loyal to the empire. The 16th and 17th centuries are regarded as something of a "dark age" in Greek history, with the prospect of overthrowing Ottoman rule appearing remote with only the Ionian islands remaining free of Turkish domination. withstood three major sieges in , 1571 and all of which resulted in the repulsion of the Ottomans. However, in the 18th century, due to their mastery of shipping and commerce, a wealthy and dispersed Greek merchant class arose. These merchants came to dominate trade within the Ottoman Empire, establishing communities throughout the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and Western Europe. Though the Ottoman conquest had cut Greece off from significant European intellectual movements such as the and the , these ideas together with the ideals of the and began to penetrate the Greek world via the mercantile diaspora. In the late 18th century, , the first revolutionary to envision an independent Greek state, published a series of documents relating to Greek independence, including but not limited to a national anthem and the first detailed map of Greece, in . Feraios was murdered by Ottoman agents in 1798.

Modern period

Greek War of Independence (1821–1832)

In the late eighteenth century, an increase in secular learning during the led to the revival among Greeks of the diaspora of the tracing its existence to , distinct from the other Orthodox peoples, and having a right to political autonomy. One of the organizations formed in this intellectual milieu was the , a secret organization formed by merchants in in 1814. Appropriating a long-standing tradition of messianic prophecy aspiring to the resurrection of the and creating the impression they had the backing of , they managed amidst a crisis of Ottoman trade, from 1815 onwards, to engage traditional strata of the Greek Orthodox world in their liberal nationalist cause. The Filiki Eteria planned to launch revolution in the , the and . The first of these revolts began on 6 March 1821 in the Danubian Principalities under the leadership of , but it was soon put down by the Ottomans. The events in the north spurred the Greeks of the Peloponnese into action and on 17 March 1821 the declared war on the Ottomans.Brewer, D. ''The Greek War of Independence: The Struggle for Freedom from Ottoman Oppression and the Birth of the Modern Greek Nation.'' Overlook Press, 2001, , pp. 235–36. By the end of the month, the Peloponnese was in open revolt against the Ottomans and by October 1821 the Greeks under had captured . The Peloponnesian revolt was quickly followed by revolts in , and , which would soon be suppressed. Meanwhile, the makeshift Greek navy was achieving success against the Ottoman navy in the and prevented Ottoman reinforcements from arriving by sea. In 1822 and 1824 the Turks and Egyptians ravaged the islands, including and , committing wholesale of the population. Approximately three-quarters of the ' Greek population of 120,000 were or died of disease. This had the effect of galvanizing public opinion in western Europe in favour of the Greek rebels. Tensions soon developed among different Greek factions, leading to two consecutive civil wars. Meanwhile, the negotiated with , who agreed to send his son to Greece with an army to suppress the revolt in return for territorial gain. Ibrahim landed in the Peloponnese in February 1825 and had immediate success: by the end of 1825, most of the Peloponnese was under Egyptian control, and the city of —put under siege by the Turks since April 1825—fell in April 1826. Although Ibrahim was defeated in , he had succeeded in suppressing most of the revolt in the Peloponnese, and Athens had been retaken. After years of negotiation, three , , , and the , decided to intervene in the conflict and each nation sent a navy to Greece. Following news that combined Ottoman–Egyptian fleets were going to attack the Greek island of , the allied fleet intercepted the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet at . A week-long standoff ended with the (20 October 1827) which resulted in the destruction of the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet. A was dispatched to supervise the evacuation of the Egyptian army from the Peloponnese, while the Greeks proceeded to the captured part of Central Greece by 1828. As a result of years of negotiation, the was finally recognised under the in 1830.

Kingdom of Greece

In 1827, , from , was chosen by the as the first governor of the . Kapodistrias established a series of state, economic and military institutions. Soon tensions appeared between him and local interests. Following his assassination in 1831 and the subsequent a year later, the s of Britain, France and Russia installed Bavarian Prince as . Otto's reign was , and in its first 11 years of independence Greece was ruled by a Bavarian oligarchy led by as and, later, by Otto himself, who held the title of both King and Premier. Throughout this period Greece remained under the influence of its three protecting , , , and the , as well as . In 1843 an uprising forced Otto to grant a constitution and a representative assembly. Despite the of Otto's reign, the early years proved instrumental in creating institutions (improving those established by Ioannis Kapodisrias) which are still the bedrock of Greek administration and education. Important steps were taken in areas including the education system, maritime and postal communications, effective civil administration and, most importantly, the . took the form of de- and de-, in favour of promoting the country's heritage. In this spirit, the national capital was moved from , where it had been since 1829, to , which was at the time a smaller town (this approach weighed heavily in the debate over the final selection of the country's capital ). Religious reform also took place, and the was established as Greece's , although Otto remained a . 25 March, the day of , was chosen as the anniversary of the in order to reinforce the link between Greek identity and . called the Bavarian efforts to create a modern state in Greece as "not only appropriate for the peoples' needs, but also based on excellent administrative principles of the era". Otto was deposed in the . Multiple causes led to his deposition and exile, including the Bavarian-dominated government, heavy taxation, and a failed attempt to annex from the . The catalyst for the revolt was Otto's dismissal of from the Premiership. A year later, he was replaced by Prince Wilhelm (William) of Denmark, who took the name and brought with him the Ionian Islands as a coronation gift from Britain. A changed Greece's form of government from to the more democratic . In 1875 the concept of as a requirement for the formation of a government was introduced by , curbing the power of the monarchy to appoint s of its preference. Corruption, coupled with Trikoupis' increased spending to fund infrastructure projects like the , overtaxed the weak Greek economy and forced the declaration of in 1893. Greece also accepted the imposition of an International Financial Control authority to pay off the country's debtors. Another political issue in 19th-century Greece was uniquely Greek: the language question. The Greek people spoke a form of Greek called . Many of the educated elite saw this as a peasant dialect and were determined to restore the glories of . Government documents and newspapers were consequently published in ' (purified) Greek, a form which few ordinary Greeks could read. Liberals favoured recognising Demotic as the national language, but conservatives and the Orthodox Church resisted all such efforts, to the extent that, when the was translated into Demotic in 1901, riots erupted in Athens and the government fell (the ''Evangeliaka''). This issue would continue to plague Greek politics until the 1970s. All Greeks were united, however, in their determination to liberate the under Ottoman rule. Especially in , a had raised nationalist fervour. When war broke out between , Greek popular sentiment rallied to Russia's side, but Greece was too poor and too concerned about British intervention, to officially enter the war. Nevertheless, in 1881, and small parts of were ceded to Greece as part of the , while frustrating Greek hopes of receiving Crete. Greeks in Crete continued to stage regular revolts, and in 1897, the Greek government under Theodoros Deligiannis, bowing to popular pressure, declared war on the Ottomans. In the ensuing , the badly trained and equipped Greek army was defeated by the Ottomans. Through the intervention of the Great Powers, however, Greece lost only a little territory along the border to Turkey, while Crete was established as an under . With state coffers empty, fiscal policy came under . Alarmed by the abortive of the (IMRO) in 1903, the Greek government, aiming to quell (IMRO bands) and detach the from influence, sponsored a campaign in Ottoman-ruled , led by Greek officers and known as the , which ended with the in 1908.

Expansion, disaster, and reconstruction

Amidst general dissatisfaction with the seeming inertia and unattainability of under the premiership of the cautious reformist , a group of military officers organised a in August 1909 and shortly thereafter called to Athens politician , who conveyed a vision of national regeneration. After winning and becoming Prime Minister in 1910, Venizelos initiated wide-ranging fiscal, social, and , reorganised the military, made Greece a member of the , and led the country through the . By 1913, Greece's territory and population had almost doubled, annexing , , and . In the following years, the struggle between and charismatic Venizelos over the country's foreign policy on the eve of dominated the country's political scene and divided the country into . During parts of WW1, Greece had two governments: A royalist one in and a pro- one in . The two governments were united in 1917, when Greece officially entered the war on the side of the Entente. In the aftermath of World War I, Greece attempted further expansion into , a region with a large native Greek population at the time, but was defeated in the , contributing to a massive flight of . These events overlapped, with both happening during the (1914–1922), a period during which, according to various sources, Ottoman and Turkish officials contributed to the death of several hundred thousand Asia Minor Greeks, along with similar numbers of and a rather larger number of . The resultant Greek exodus from Asia Minor was made permanent, and expanded, in an official . The exchange was part of the terms of the which ended the war. The following era was marked by instability, as over 1.5 million propertyless Greek refugees from Turkey had to be integrated into Greek society. , , and were all subject to the exchange as well. Some of the refugees could not speak the language and were from what had been unfamiliar environments to mainland Greeks, such as in the case of the Cappadocians and non-Greeks. The refugees also made a dramatic post-war population boost, as the number of refugees was more than a quarter of Greece's prior population. Following the catastrophic events in Asia Minor, the monarchy was abolished in 1924 and the was declared. In 1935, a royalist general-turned-politician took power after a and abolished the republic, holding , after which returned to Greece and was restored to the throne.

Dictatorship, World War II, and reconstruction

An agreement between Prime Minister and the head of state followed in 1936, which installed Metaxas as the head of a dictatorial regime known as the , inaugurating a period of authoritarian rule that would last, with short breaks, until 1974. Although a dictatorship, Greece remained on good terms with Britain and was not allied with the . On 28 October 1940, demanded the surrender of Greece, but the Greek administration refused, and, in the following , Greece repelled Italian forces into Albania, giving the their first victory over Axis forces on land. The Greek struggle and victory against the Italians received exuberant praise at the time.Fafalios and Hadjipateras, p. 157 Most prominent is the quote attributed to : "Hence we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but we will say that heroes fight like Greeks." French general was among those who praised the fierceness of the Greek resistance. In an official notice released to coincide with the Greek national celebration of the Day of Independence, De Gaulle expressed his admiration for the Greek resistance:
In the name of the captured yet still alive French people, France wants to send her greetings to the Greek people who are fighting for their freedom. The 25 March 1941 finds Greece in the peak of their heroic struggle and in the top of their glory. Since the Battle of Salamis, Greece had not achieved the greatness and the glory which today holds.
The country would eventually fall to urgently dispatched forces during the , despite the fierce Greek resistance, particularly in the . himself recognised the bravery and the courage of the , stating in his address to the Reichstag on 11 December 1941, that: "Historical justice obliges me to state that of the enemies who took up positions against us, the Greek soldier particularly fought with the highest courage. He capitulated only when further resistance had become impossible and useless." The Nazis proceeded to administer Athens and Thessaloniki, while other regions of the country were given to Nazi Germany's partners, Fascist Italy and Bulgaria. The occupation brought about terrible hardships for the Greek civilian population. Over 100,000 civilians died of starvation during the winter of 1941–1942, tens of thousands more died because of reprisals by Nazis and , the country's economy was ruined, and the great majority of (tens of thousands) were deported and murdered in Nazi concentration camps.Mazower (2001), p. 155 The , one of the most effective resistance movements in Europe, fought vehemently against the Nazis and their collaborators. The German occupiers committed in reprisals. In the course of the concerted anti-guerrilla campaign, hundreds of villages were systematically torched and almost 1 million Greeks left homeless. In total, the Germans executed some 21,000 Greeks, the Bulgarians 40,000, and the Italians 9,000. Following liberation and the Allied victory over the Axis, Greece annexed the from Italy and regained from Bulgaria. The country almost immediately descended into between forces and the anti-communist Greek government, which lasted until 1949 with the latter's victory. The conflict, considered one of the earliest struggles of the , resulted in further economic devastation, mass population displacement and severe political polarisation for the next thirty years. Although the post-war decades were characterised by social strife and widespread marginalisation of the left in political and social spheres, Greece nonetheless experienced and recovery, propelled in part by the U.S.-administered . In 1952, Greece joined , reinforcing its membership in the of the Cold War.

Military regime (1967–74)

King 's of 's centrist government in July 1965 prompted a prolonged period of political turbulence, which culminated in a coup d'état on 21 April 1967 by the . Under the junta, civil rights were suspended, political repression was intensified, and human rights abuses, including state-sanctioned torture, were rampant. Economic growth remained rapid before plateauing in 1972. The brutal suppression of the on 17 November 1973 set in motion the events that caused the fall of the Papadopoulos regime, resulting in a counter-coup which overthrew and established brigadier as the new junta strongman. On 20 July 1974, in response to a Greek-backed Cypriot coup, triggering a political crisis in Greece that led to the regime's collapse and the restoration of democracy through .

Third Hellenic Republic

The former prime minister was invited back from Paris where he had lived in self-exile since 1963, marking the beginning of the era. The since 1964 were held on the first anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising. A democratic and republican was promulgated on 11 June 1975 following a which chose to not restore the monarchy. Meanwhile, , George Papandreou's son, founded the (PASOK) in response to Karamanlis's conservative party, with the two political formations dominating in government over the next four decades. Greece rejoined NATO in 1980.History, Editorial Consultant: Adam Hart-Davis. . . Greece became the tenth member of the (subsequently subsumed by the ) on 1 January 1981, ushering in a period of sustained growth. Widespread investments in industrial enterprises and heavy infrastructure, as well as funds from the European Union and growing revenues from tourism, shipping, and a fast-growing service sector raised the country's standard of living to unprecedented levels. Traditionally strained , leading to the lifting of the Greek veto against for EU membership.

Recent history

The country adopted the in 2001 and successfully hosted the in Athens. More recently, Greece has suffered greatly from the and has been central to the related . Due to the adoption of the euro, when Greece experienced financial crisis, it could no longer its currency to regain competitiveness. was especially high during the 2000s. The , and subsequent policies, have resulted in protests and social strife. Left-wing , led by Prime Minister , governed Greece since 2015 until 2019. Syriza gained support by opposing the austerity policy that had affected Greeks since the beginning of the . However, prime minister Tsipras was succeeded by after the landslide victory of centre-right New Democracy in the 2019 elections. In March 2020, Greece's parliament elected a non-partisan candidate, , as the first female .


Located in and , Greece consists of a mountainous, peninsular mainland jutting out into the sea at the southern end of the , ending at the peninsula (separated from the mainland by the of the ) and strategically located at the crossroads of , , and . Due to its highly indented coastline and numerous islands, Greece has the in the world with ; its land boundary is . The country lies approximately between latitudes and , and longitudes and , with the extreme points being: *North: village *South: island *East: (Kastelorizo, Megisti) island *West: island Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains or hills, making the country one of the most mountainous in Europe. , the mythical abode of the , culminates at Mytikas peak , the highest in the country. Western Greece contains a number of lakes and wetlands and is dominated by the mountain range. The Pindus, a continuation of the , reaches a maximum elevation of at (the second-highest in Greece) and historically has been a significant barrier to east–west travel. The Pindus range continues through the central Peloponnese, crosses the islands of and Antikythera and finds its way into southwestern Aegean, in the island of Crete where it eventually ends. The islands of the Aegean are peaks of underwater mountains that once constituted an extension of the mainland. Pindus is characterised by its high, steep peaks, often dissected by numerous canyons and a variety of other karstic landscapes. The spectacular , part of the in the Pindus range, is listed by the Guinness book of World Records as the deepest gorge in the world. Another notable formation are the rock pillars, atop which have been built medieval Greek Orthodox monasteries. Northeastern Greece features another high-altitude mountain range, the range, spreading across the region of ; this area is covered with vast, thick, ancient forests, including the famous in the , in the far northeast of the country. Extensive plains are primarily located in the regions of , and . They constitute key economic regions as they are among the few arable places in the country. Rare marine species such as the pinniped seals and the live in the seas surrounding mainland Greece, while its dense forests are home to the endangered , the , the and the wild goat.


Greece features a - between 1,200 and 6,000, depending on the definition, 227 of which are inhabited - and is considered a . Crete is the largest and most populous island; , separated from the mainland by the 60 m-wide , is the second largest, followed by and . The Greek islands are traditionally grouped into the following clusters: the in the Saronic gulf near Athens, the Cyclades, a large but dense collection occupying the central part of the Aegean Sea, the , a loose grouping off the west coast of Turkey, the Dodecanese, another loose collection in the southeast between Crete and Turkey, the , a small tight group off the coast of northeast Euboea, and the Ionian Islands, located to the west of the mainland in the Ionian Sea.


The is primarily , featuring mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. This climate occurs at all coastal locations, including Athens, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, Crete, the Peloponnese, the Ionian Islands and parts of the Central Continental Greece region. The mountain range strongly affects the climate of the country, as areas to the west of the range are considerably wetter on average (due to greater exposure to south-westerly systems bringing in moisture) than the areas lying to the east of the range (due to a effect). The mountainous areas of Northwestern Greece (parts of , , , ) as well as in the mountainous central parts of Peloponnese – including parts of the regional units of , and  – feature an with heavy snowfalls. The inland parts of northern Greece, in Central Macedonia and feature a with cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers with frequent thunderstorms. Snowfalls occur every year in the mountains and northern areas, and brief snowfalls are not unknown even in low-lying southern areas, such as Athens.


, Greece belongs to the and is shared between the East Mediterranean province of the and the Illyrian province of the . According to the and the , the territory of Greece can be subdivided into six s: the , , , , , and . It had a 2018 mean score of 6.6/10, ranking it 70th globally out of 172 countries.


Greece is a . The current was drawn up and adopted by the Fifth Revisionary Parliament of the Hellenes and entered into force in 1975 after the fall of the . It has been revised three times since, in , , and 2019. The Constitution, which consists of 120 articles, provides for a into , , and es, and grants extensive specific guarantees (further reinforced in 2001) of and . was guaranteed with an amendment to the 1952 Constitution. The nominal is the , who is elected by the for a five-year term. According to the Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President and the . However, the curtailed the President's duties and powers to a significant extent, rendering the position largely ceremonial; most political power is thus vested in the Prime Minister, Greece's . The position is filled by the of the that can obtain a vote of confidence by the Parliament. The President of the Republic formally appoints the Prime Minister and, on his recommendation, appoints and dismisses the other members of the Cabinet. Legislative powers are exercised by a 300-member elective . Statutes passed by the Parliament are promulgated by the President of the Republic. are held every four years, but the President of the Republic is obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier on the proposal of the Cabinet, in view of dealing with a national issue of exceptional importance. The President is also obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier, if the opposition manages to pass a . The is 17. According to a 2016 report by the OECD, Greeks display a moderate level of civic participation compared to most other developed countries; voter turnout was 64 percent during recent elections, lower than the OECD average of 69 percent.

Political parties

Since the restoration of democracy, the Greek party system was dominated by the liberal-conservative (ND) and the social-democratic (PASOK). Other parties represented in the include the (SYRIZA), the (KKE), and . PASOK and New Democracy largely alternated in power until the outbreak of the in 2009. From that time, the two major parties, New Democracy and PASOK, experienced a sharp decline in popularity. In November 2011, the two major parties joined the smaller in a , pledging their parliamentary support for a headed by former vice-president . voted against this government and he split off from ND forming the . The coalition government led the country to the . The power of the traditional Greek political parties, and , declined from 43% to 13% and from 33% to 18%, respectively. The left-wing party of became the second major party, with an increase from 4% to 16%. No party could form a sustainable government, which led to the . The result of the second elections was the formation of a coalition government composed of (29%), (12%) and (6%) parties. SYRIZA has since overtaken PASOK as the main party of the centre-left . led SYRIZA to victory in the held on 25 January 2015, falling short of an outright majority in Parliament by just two seats. The following morning, Tsipras reached an agreement with party to form a coalition, and he was sworn in as Prime Minister of Greece. Tsipras called snap elections in August 2015, resigning from his post, which led to a month-long caretaker administration headed by judge , Greece's first female prime minister. In the , Alexis Tsipras led SYRIZA to another victory, winning 145 out of 300 seats and re-forming the coalition with the Independent Greeks. However, he was defeated in the by who leads New Democracy. On 7 July 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Greece. He formed a centre-right government after the landslide victory of his New Democracy party.

Foreign relations

Greece's foreign policy is conducted through the and its head, the , currently . Officially, the main aims of the Ministry are to represent Greece before other states and international organizations; safeguard the interests of the Greek state and of its citizens abroad; promote Greek culture; foster closer relations with the ; and encourage international cooperation. Following the resolution of the with the in 2018, the Ministry identifies two remaining issues of particular importance to the Greek state: in the Aegean Sea and corresponding airspace and the involving the of . There is a long-standing conflict between Turkey and Greece over natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey doesn't recognize a legal and around the Greek islands. Additionally, due to its political and geographical proximity to , , the Middle East and , Greece is a country of significant geostrategic importance, which it has leveraged to develop a regional policy to help promote peace and stability in the , the , and the . This has accorded the country status in global affairs.Thanos Veremēs (199

"Black Rose Books"
Greece is a member of numerous international organizations, including the , the , the , the , the and the , of which it is a founding member.


The Hellenic Armed Forces are overseen by the (Greek: Γενικό Επιτελείο Εθνικής Άμυνας – ΓΕΕΘΑ), with civilian authority vested in the . It consists of three branches: * (Ellinikos Stratos, ES) * (Elliniko Polemiko Navtiko, EPN) * (Elliniki Polemiki Aeroporia, EPA) Moreover, Greece maintains the for law enforcement at sea, search and rescue, and port operations. Though it can support the navy during wartime, it resides under the authority of the . Greek military personnel total 364,050, of whom 142,700 are active and 221,350 are reserve. Greece in the number of citizens serving in the armed forces. is nine months for the Army and one year for the Navy and Air Force. Additionally, Greek males between the ages of 18 and 60 who live in strategically sensitive areas may be required to serve part-time in the National Guard. As a member of , the Greek military participates in exercises and deployments under the auspices of the alliance, although its involvement in NATO missions is minimal. Greece spends over US$7 billion annually on its military, or 2.3 percent of GDP, the in absolute terms, the on a per capita basis, and the second-highest in NATO after the United States. Moreover, Greece is one of only five NATO countries to meet or surpass the minimum defence spending target of 2 percent of GDP.

Law and justice

The is independent of the executive and the legislature and comprises three Supreme Courts: the (Άρειος Πάγος), the (Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας) and the (Ελεγκτικό Συνέδριο). The Judiciary system is also composed of civil courts, which judge civil and penal cases and administrative courts, which judge disputes between the citizens and the Greek administrative authorities. The ( el, Ελληνική Αστυνομία) is the national force of Greece. It is a very large agency with its responsibilities ranging from to . It was established in 1984 under Law 1481/1-10-1984 (Government Gazette 152 A) as the result of the fusion of the (Χωροφυλακή, ''Chorofylaki'') and the (Αστυνομία Πόλεων, ''Astynomia Poleon'') forces.

Administrative divisions

Since the reform entered into effect on 1 January 2011, Greece has consisted of 13 subdivided into a total of 325, from 2019 232 (), . The 54 old have been largely retained as ' of the regions. Seven group one to three regions for administrative purposes on a regional basis. There is also one , ( el, Agio Oros, "Holy Mountain"), which borders the region of .



According to statistics for the year 2013, the economy of Greece is the largest by at $242 billion and largest by (PPP) at $284 billion. Additionally, Greece is the 15th largest economy in the 27-member . In terms of , Greece is ranked or in the world at $18,168 and $29,045 for nominal GDP and PPP respectively. The Greek economy is classified as advanced and . Greece is a with a high standard of living and a high ranking in the . Its economy mainly comprises the (85.0%) and (12.0%), while makes up 3.0% of the national economic output. Important Greek industries include (with 14.9 million international tourists in 2009, it is ranked as the 7th most visited country in the European Union and 16th in the world by the ) and (at 16.2% of the world's total capacity, the Greek merchant marine is the largest in the world), while the country is also a considerable agricultural producer (including fisheries) within the union. Greek stood at 21.7% in April 2017. The rate (42.3% in March 2018) is extremely high compared to EU standards. With an economy larger than all the other Balkan economies combined, Greece is the largest economy in the Balkans, and an important regional investor. Greece is the number-two foreign investor of capital in Albania, the number-three foreign investor in Bulgaria, at the top-three of foreign investors in Romania and Serbia and the most important trading partner and largest foreign investor of North Macedonia. Greek banks open a new branch somewhere in the Balkans on an almost weekly basis. The Greek telecommunications company has become a strong investor in other Balkan countries. Greece was a founding member of the (OECD) and the (BSEC). In 1979 the accession of the country in the and the was signed, and the process was completed in 1982. Greece was accepted into the on 19 June 2000, and in January 2001 adopted the as its currency, replacing the at an exchange rate of 340.75 drachma to the Euro. Greece is also a member of the and the , and is ranked 24th on the KOF for 2013.

Debt crisis (2010–2018)

The Greek economy had fared well for much of the 20th century, with high growth rates and low public debt. Even until the eve of the , it featured high rates of growth, which, however, were coupled with high structural deficits, thus maintaining a (roughly unchanged throughout this period) public debt to GDP ratio of just over 100%. The Greek crisis was triggered by the turmoil of the 2007–2009 , which led the budget deficits of several Western nations to reach or exceed 10% of GDP. In Greece's case, the high budget deficit (which, after several corrections and revisions, was revealed to have been allowed to reach 10.2% and 15.1% of GDP in 2008 and 2009, respectively) was coupled with a high public debt to GDP ratio (relatively stable, at just over 100% until 2007 - as calculated after all corrections). Thus, the country appeared to lose control of its public debt to GDP ratio, which already reached 127% of GDP in 2009. In addition, being a member of the Eurozone, the country had essentially no autonomous . Finally, there was an effect of controversies about Greek statistics (due to the aforementioned drastic budget deficit revisions which led to an increase in the calculated value of the Greek public debt by , i.e., a public debt to GDP of about 100% until 2007), while there have been arguments about a possible effect of . Consequently, Greece was "punished" by the markets which increased borrowing rates, making it impossible for the country to finance its debt since early 2010. The above revisions were largely connected with the fact that in the years before the crisis , , and numerous other banks had developed financial products which enabled the governments of Greece, , and many other an countries to hide their borrowing. Dozens of similar agreements were concluded across Europe whereby banks supplied cash in advance in exchange for future payments by the governments involved; in turn, the liabilities of the involved countries were "kept off the books". These conditions had enabled Greece as well as other European governments to spend beyond their means, while meeting the deficit targets set out in the . In May 2010, the Greece's deficit was again revised and estimated to be 13.6% which was the second highest in the world relative to GDP, with in first place at 15.7% and the in third with 12.6%. Public debt was forecast, according to some estimates, to hit 120% of GDP in the same year, causing a crisis of confidence in Greece's ability pay back loans. To avert a , Greece, the other members, and the agreed on a rescue package which involved giving Greece an immediate € in loans, with additional funds to follow, totaling €. To secure the funding, Greece was required to adopt harsh to bring its deficit under control. A second bail-out amounting to € ($) was agreed in 2012, subject to strict conditions, including financial reforms and further austerity measures. A was also agreed as part of the deal. Greece achieved a primary government in 2013, while in April 2014, it returned to the global . Greece returned to growth after six years of economic decline in the second quarter of 2014, and was the Eurozone's fastest-growing economy in the third quarter. A third bailout was agreed in July 2015, after a confrontation with the newly elected government of . There was a 25% drop in Greece's GDP, connected with the bailout programmes. This had a critical effect: the Debt-to-GDP ratio, the key factor defining the severity of the crisis, would jump from its 2009 level of 127% to about 170%, solely due to the shrinking economy. In a 2013 report, the IMF admitted that it had underestimated the effects of so extensive tax hikes and budget cuts on the country's GDP and issued an informal apology. The Greek programmes imposed a very rapid improvement in structural primary balance (at least two times faster than for other Eurozone bailed-out countries). The policies have been blamed for worsening the crisis, while Greece's president, , stressed the creditors' share in responsibility for the depth of the crisis. Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, asserted that errors in the design of the first two programmes which led to a loss of 25% of the Greek economy due to the harsh imposition of excessive austerity. Between 2009 and 2017 the Greek government debt rose from €300 bn to €318 bn, i.e. by only about 6% (thanks, in part, to the 2012 debt restructuring); however, during the same period, the critical debt-to-GDP ratio shot up from 127% to 179% basically due to the severe GDP drop . Greece's bailouts successfully ended (as declared) on 20 August 2018.


In 2010, Greece was the 's largest producer of (183,800 tons) and (8,000 tons) and ranked second in the production of (229,500 tons) and s (147,500 tons), third in the production of (11,000 tons), s (44,000 tons), es (1,400,000 tons), and s (578,400 tons) and fourth in the production of (22,000 tons). Agriculture contributes 3.8% of the country's GDP and employs 12.4% of the country's labor force. Greece is a major beneficiary of the of the European Union. As a result of the country's entry to the European Community, much of its agricultural infrastructure has been upgraded and agricultural output increased. Between 2000 and 2007, in Greece increased by 885%, the highest change percentage in the EU.


Electricity production in Greece is dominated by the state-owned (known mostly by its acronym ΔΕΗ, transliterated as DEI). In 2009 DEI supplied for 85.6% of all electric energy demand in Greece, while the number fell to 77.3% in 2010. Almost half (48%) of DEI's power output is generated using , a drop from the 51.6% in 2009. Twelve percent of Greece's electricity comes from hydroelectric power plants and another 20% from . Between 2009 and 2010, independent companies' energy production increased by 56%, from 2,709 in 2009 to 4,232 GWh in 2010. In 2012, renewable energy accounted for 13.8% of the country's total energy consumption, a rise from the 10.6% it accounted for in 2011, a figure almost equal to the EU average of 14.1% in 2012. 10% of the country's renewable energy comes from , while most comes from and waste recycling. In line with the 's Directive on Renewable Energy, Greece aims to get 18% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. In 2013, according to the independent power transmission operator in Greece (ΑΔΜΗΕ) more than 20% of the electricity in Greece has been produced from renewable energy sources and hydroelectric powerplants. This percentage in April reached 42%. Greece currently does not have any s in operation; however, in 2009 the suggested that research in the possibility of Greek nuclear power plants begin.

Maritime industry

The shipping industry has been a key element of Greek economic activity since ancient times. Shipping remains one of the country's most important industries, accounting for 4.5 percent of GDP, employing about 160,000 people (4 percent of the workforce), and representing a third of the trade deficit. According to a 2011 report by the , the is the largest in the world at 16.2 percent of total global capacity, up from 15.96 percent in 2010 but below the peak of 18.2 percent in 2006. The country's merchant fleet ranks first in total tonnage (202 million ), fourth in total number of ships (at 3,150), first in both and dry s, fourth in the number of , and fifth in other ships. However, today's fleet roster is smaller than an all-time high of 5,000 ships in the late 1970s. Additionally, the total number of ships flying a Greek flag (includes non-Greek fleets) is 1,517, or 5.3 percent of the world's dwt (ranked fifth globally). During the 1960s, the size of the Greek fleet nearly doubled, primarily through the investment undertaken by the shipping magnates, and . The basis of the modern Greek maritime industry was formed after World War II when Greek shipping businessmen were able to amass surplus ships sold to them by the U.S. government through the Ship Sales Act of the 1940s. Greece has a significant shipbuilding and ship maintenance industry. The six shipyards around the port of Piraeus are among the largest in Europe. In recent years, Greece has also become a leader in the construction and maintenance of luxury yachts.


Tourism has been a key element of the economic activity in the country and one of the country's most important sectors, contributing 20.6% of the gross domestic product as of 2018. Greece welcomed over 28 million visitors in 2016, which is an increase from the 26.5 million tourists it welcomed in 2015 and the 19.5 million in 2009, and the 17.7 million tourists in 2007, making Greece one of the in in the recent years. The vast majority of visitors in Greece in 2007 came from the European continent, numbering 12.7 million, while the most visitors from a single nationality were those from the United Kingdom, (2.6 million), followed closely by those from Germany (2.3 million). In 2010, the most visited of Greece was that of , with 18% of the country's total tourist flow (amounting to 3.6 million tourists), followed by with 2.6 million and the with 1.8 million. is the country's most-visited geographical region, with 6.5 million tourists, while Central Greece is second with 6.3 million. In 2010, ranked Greece's northern and second-largest city of as the world's fifth-best party town worldwide, comparable to other cities such as and . In 2011, was voted as "The World's Best Island" in '. Its neighboring island , came in fifth in the European category. There are 18 s in Greece, and Greece is ranked 16th in the world in terms of total sites. 14 further sites are on the tentative list, awaiting nomination.


Since the 1980s, the road and rail network of Greece has been significantly modernised. Important works include the motorway, that connects northwestern Greece () with northern Greece (Thessaloniki) and northeastern Greece (); the , the longest suspension cable bridge in Europe ( long), connecting the Peloponnese (, from ) with Aetolia-Akarnania () in western Greece. Also completed are the motorway that connects northwestern Greece () with western Greece (Antirrio); the last sections of the , connecting Athens to and in northern Greece; as well as the (part of the ) in Peloponnese, connecting Athens to Patras. The remaining section of Olympia Odos, connecting Patras with , is under planning. Other important projects that are currently underway, include the construction of the . The Athens Metropolitan Area in particular is served by some of the most modern and efficient transport infrastructure in Europe, such as the , the privately run motorway network and the expanded system. Most of the Greek islands and many main cities of Greece are connected by air mainly from the two major Greek airlines, and . Maritime connections have been improved with modern high-speed craft, including and . Railway connections play a somewhat lesser role in Greece than in many other European countries, but they too have also been expanded, with new suburban/ connections, serviced by around Athens, towards its airport, and ; around Thessaloniki, towards the cities of and ; and around Patras. A modern intercity rail connection between Athens and Thessaloniki has also been established, while an upgrade to double lines in many parts of the network is underway; along with a railway between and (replacing the old ) which is currently under construction and opening in stages. International railway lines connect Greek cities with the rest of Europe, the Balkans and Turkey.


Modern digital information and communication networks reach all areas. There are over of fiber optics and an extensive open-wire network. Broadband internet availability is widespread in Greece: there were a total of 2,252,653 broadband connections , translating to 20% broadband penetration. According to 2017 data, around 82% of the general population used the internet regularly. s that provide net access, office applications and multiplayer gaming are also a common sight in the country, while mobile internet on and - cellphone networks and connections can be found almost everywhere. 3G/4G mobile internet usage has been on a sharp increase in recent years. Based on 2016 data 70% of Greek internet users have access via 3G/4G mobile. The United Nations International Telecommunication Union ranks Greece among the top 30 countries with a highly developed information and communications infrastructure.

Science and technology

The General Secretariat for Research and Technology of the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness is responsible for designing, implementing and supervising national research and technological policy. In 2017, spending on research and development (R&D) reached an all-time high of €2 billion, equal to 1.14 percent of GDP. Although lower than the EU average of 1.93 percent, between 1990 and 1998, total R&D expenditure in Greece enjoyed the third-highest increase in Europe, after and Ireland. Greece was ranked 43rd in the in 2020, down from 41st in 2019. Because of its strategic location, qualified workforce, and political and economic stability, many multinational companies such as , , , , and have their regional R&D headquarters in Greece. Greece has several major technology parks with incubator facilities and has been a member of the (ESA) since 2005. Cooperation between ESA and the began in 1994 with the signing of the first cooperation agreement. After applying for full membership in 2003, Greece became the ESA's sixteenth member on 16 March 2005. The country participates in the ESA's telecommunication and technology activities and the Initiative. The was founded in 1959. The original objective of the center was the advancement of . Today, its activities cover several fields of science and engineering. Greece has one of the highest rates of tertiary enrollment in the world, while Greeks are well represented in academia worldwide; numerous leading Western universities employ a disproportionately high number of Greek faculty. Greek scientific publications have grown significantly in terms of , surpassing both the EU and global average from 2012 to 2016. Notable Greek scientists of modern times include (inventor of the ), mathematician (known for the and ), astronomer , archaeologists , , , (discovered the tomb of in ), Indologist , botanist , such as , , , (2007 for his contributions on the physics of the charm quark, a major contribution to the birth of the Standard Model, the modern theory of Elementary Particles), (2007 , the "Nobel Prize" of Computer Science), (2002 , 2012 ), (2005 ) and physicist .


According to the official statistical body of Greece, the (ELSTAT), the country's total population in 2011 was 10,816,286. Eurostat places the current population at 10.7 million in 2018. Greek society has changed rapidly over the last several decades, coinciding with the of declining fertility and rapid aging. The in 2003 stood at 9.5 per 1,000 inhabitants, significantly lower than the rate of 14.5 per 1,000 in 1981. At the same time, the mortality rate increased slightly from 8.9 per 1,000 inhabitants in 1981 to 9.6 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2003. Estimates from 2016 show the birth rate decreasing further still to 8.5 per 1,000 and mortality climbing to 11.2 per 1,000. The of 1.41 children per woman is well below the , and is one of the lowest in the world, considerably below the high of 5.47 children born per woman in 1900. Subsequently, Greece's median age is 44.2 years, the seventh-highest in the world. In 2001, 16.71 percent of the population were 65 years old and older, 68.12 percent between the ages of 15 and 64 years old, and 15.18 percent were 14 years old and younger. By 2016, the proportion of the population age 65 and older had risen to 20.68 percent, while the proportion of those aged 14 and younger declined to slightly below 14 percent. Marriage rates began declining from almost 71 per 1,000 inhabitants in 1981 until 2002, only to increase slightly in 2003 to 61 per 1,000 and then fall again to 51 in 2004. Moreover, divorce rates have seen an increase from 191.2 per 1,000 marriages in 1991 to 239.5 per 1,000 marriages in 2004. As a result of these trends, the average Greek household is smaller and older than in previous generations. The economic crisis has exacerbated this development, with 350,000-450,000 Greeks, predominantly young adults, emigrating since 2010.


Almost two-thirds of the Greek people live in urban areas. Greece's largest and most influential metropolitan centres are those of and —that latter commonly referred to as the (, )—with metropolitan populations of approximately 4 million and 1 million inhabitants respectively. Other prominent cities with urban populations above 100,000 inhabitants include , , , , , , , , and . The table below lists the largest cities in Greece, by population contained in their respective contiguous built up urban areas, which are either made up of many municipalities, evident in the cases of Athens and Thessaloniki, or are contained within a larger single municipality, case evident in most of the smaller cities of the country. The results come from the preliminary figures of the population census that took place in Greece in May 2011.


The Greek Constitution recognises as the 'prevailing' faith of the country, while guaranteeing freedom of religious belief for all. The Greek government does not keep statistics on religious groups and censuses do not ask for religious affiliation. According to the U.S. State Department, an estimated 97% of Greek citizens identify themselves as , belonging to the , which uses the and the , the original language of the . The administration of the Greek territory is shared between the and the . In a 2010 – poll, 79% of Greek citizens responded that they "believe there is a God". According to other sources, 15.8% of Greeks describe themselves as "very religious", which is the highest among all European countries. The survey also found that just 3.5% never attend a church, compared to 4.9% in and 59.1% in the Czech Republic. Estimates of the recognised , which is mostly located in , range around 100,000, (about 1% of the population). Some of the Albanian immigrants to Greece come from a nominally Muslim background, although most are secular in orientation. Following the and the 1923 , Greece and Turkey agreed to a . About 500,000 Muslims from Greece, predominantly those defined as , but also like the of western Macedonia, were exchanged with approximately 1.5 million Greeks from Turkey. However, many refugees who settled in former Ottoman Muslim villages in , and were defined as Christian Orthodox , arrived from the former Russian province of , after it had been retroceded to Turkey prior to the official population exchange. Judaism has in Greece for more than 2,000 years. The ancient community of Greek Jews are called , while the were once a prominent community in the city of , numbering some 80,000, or more than half of the population, by 1900. However, after the and during World War II, is estimated to number around 5,500 people. The community is estimated to be around 250,000 of which 50,000 are Greek citizens. is nominally separate from the smaller , which recognises the primacy of the but maintains the of the . account for 500,000 followers. Protestants, including the and , stand at about 30,000. Other Christian minorities, such as , and various churches of the total about 12,000 members. The independent is the biggest Protestant denomination in Greece with 120 churches. There are no official statistics about Free Apostolic Church of Pentecost, but the Orthodox Church estimates the followers as 20,000. The report having 28,874 active members. Since 2017, , or Helenism has been legally recognised as an actively practiced religion in Greece, with estimates of 2,000 active practitioners and an additional 100,000 "sympathisers". Hellenism refers to various religious movements that continue, revive, or reconstruct .


The first textual evidence of the Greek language dates back to 15th century BC and the script which is associated with the . Greek was a widely spoken in the Mediterranean world and beyond during , and would eventually become the official parlance of the Byzantine Empire. During the 19th and 20th centuries there was a major dispute known as the , on whether the official language of Greece should be the archaic , created in the 19th century and used as the state and scholarly language, or the , the form of the which evolved naturally from and was the language of the people. The dispute was finally resolved in 1976, when Dimotiki was made the only official variation of the Greek language, and Katharevousa fell to disuse. Greece is today relatively homogeneous in linguistic terms, with a large majority of the native population using Greek as their first or only language. Among the Greek-speaking population, speakers of the distinctive dialect came to Greece from Asia Minor after the and constitute a sizable group. The dialect came to Greece due to the genocide as well, but is endangered and is barely spoken now. Indigenous Greek dialects include the archaic Greek spoken by the , traditionally transhument mountain shepherds of and other parts of . The , a distinct Greek language deriving from instead of , is still spoken in some villages in the southeastern Peloponnese. The in Thrace, which amounts to approximately 0.95% of the total population, consists of speakers of , () and . Romani is also spoken by Christian in other parts of the country. Further minority languages have traditionally been spoken by regional population groups in various parts of the country. Their use has decreased radically in the course of the 20th century through assimilation with the Greek-speaking majority. Today they are only maintained by the older generations and are on the verge of extinction. This goes for the , an -speaking group mostly located in the rural areas around the capital Athens, and for the and , also known as "", whose language is closely related to and who used to live scattered across several areas of mountainous central Greece. Members of these groups usually identify ethnically as Greek and are today all at least bilingual in Greek. Near the northern Greek borders there are also some , locally known as ''Slavomacedonian''-speaking, most of whose members identify ethnically as Greeks. It is estimated that after the population exchanges of 1923, had 200,000 to 400,000 speakers.Roudometof, Victor; Robertson, Roland (2001)
''Nationalism, Globalization, and Orthodoxy – The Social Origins of Ethnic Conflict in the Balkans''
: . p. 186. .
The Jewish community in Greece traditionally spoke (Judeo-Spanish), today maintained only by a few thousand speakers. Other notable minority languages include , , and the Greco-Turkic dialect spoken by the , a community of from the region of central Georgia and ethnic Greeks from southeastern who arrived in mainly Northern Greece as economic migrants in the 1990s.


Throughout the 20th century, millions of Greeks migrated to the , , , , and , creating a large . Net migration started to show positive numbers from the 1970s, but until the beginning of the 1990s, the main influx was that of returning Greek migrants or of and others from , , the , and elsewhere in the former .Triandafyllidou, Anna
"Migration and Migration Policy in Greece"
. ''Critical Review and Policy Recommendations''. . No. 3, April 2009
A study from the Mediterranean Migration Observatory maintains that the 2001 census recorded 762,191 persons residing in Greece without Greek citizenship, constituting around 7% of the total population. Of the non-citizen residents, 48,560 were EU or nationals and 17,426 were Cypriots with privileged status. The majority come from Eastern European countries: Albania (56%), Bulgaria (5%) and Romania (3%), while migrants from the former Soviet Union (Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, etc.) comprise 10% of the total. Some of the immigrants from Albania are from the centred on the region of . In addition, the total Albanian national population which includes temporary migrants and undocumented persons is around 600,000. The recorded 9,903,268 Greek citizens (91,56%), 480,824 n citizens (4,44%), 75,915 n citizens (0,7%), 46,523 n citizenship (0,43%), 34,177 i citizens (0,32%), 27,400 citizens (0,25%) and 247,090 people had other or unidentified citizenship (2,3%). 189,000 people of the total population of Albanian citizens were reported in 2008 as ethnic Greeks from , in the historical region of . The greatest cluster of non-EU population are the larger urban centers, especially the Municipality of Athens, with 132,000 immigrants comprising 17% of the local population, and then Thessaloniki, with 27,000 immigrants reaching 7% of the local population. There is also a considerable number of co-ethnics that came from the Greek communities of Albania and the former . Greece, together with and Spain, is a major entry point for . Illegal immigrants entering Greece mostly do so from the border with at the and the islands of the eastern Aegean across from Turkey (mainly , , , and ). In 2012, the majority of illegal immigrants entering Greece came from , followed by is and is. In 2015, arrivals of refugees by sea had increased dramatically mainly due to the ongoing . There were 856,723 arrivals by sea in Greece, an almost fivefold increase to the same period of 2014, of which the represent almost 45%. The majority of refugees and migrants use Greece as a transit country, while their intended destinations are northern European Nations such as , and .


Greeks have a long tradition of valuing and investing in ' (education), which was upheld as one of the highest societal values in the Greek and Hellenistic world. The first European institution described as a university was founded in fifth-century Constantinople and continued operating in various incarnations until the to the Ottomans in 1453. The was Christian Europe's first secular institution of higher learning, and by some measures was the world's first university. Compulsory education in Greece comprises primary schools (Δημοτικό Σχολείο, ''Dimotikó Scholeio'') and (Γυμνάσιο). Nursery schools (Παιδικός σταθμός, ''Paidikós Stathmós'') are popular but not compulsory. s (Νηπιαγωγείο, ''Nipiagogeío'') are now compulsory for any child above four years of age. Children start primary school aged six and remain there for six years. Attendance at gymnasia starts at age 12 and lasts for three years. Greece's post-compulsory secondary education consists of two school types: unified upper secondary schools (Γενικό Λύκειο, ''Genikό Lykeiό'') and – educational schools (Τεχνικά και Επαγγελματικά Εκπαιδευτήρια, "TEE"). Post-compulsory secondary education also includes vocational training institutes (Ινστιτούτα Επαγγελματικής Κατάρτισης, "IEK") which provide a formal but unclassified level of education. As they can accept both ''Gymnasio'' (lower secondary school) and ''Lykeio'' (upper secondary school) graduates, these institutes are not classified as offering a particular level of education. According to the Framework Law (3549/2007), Public higher education "Highest Educational Institutions" (Ανώτατα Εκπαιδευτικά Ιδρύματα, ''Anótata Ekpaideytiká Idrýmata'', "ΑΕΙ") consists of two parallel sectors:the university sector (Universities, Polytechnics, Fine Arts Schools, the Open University) and the Technological sector (Technological Education Institutions (TEI) and the School of Pedagogic and Technological Education). There are also State Non-University Tertiary Institutes offering vocationally oriented courses of shorter duration (2 to 3 years) which operate under the authority of other Ministries. Students are admitted to these Institutes according to their performance at national level examinations taking place after completion of the third grade of ''Lykeio''. Additionally, students over twenty-two years old may be admitted to the through a form of lottery. The is the oldest university in the eastern Mediterranean. The Greek education system also provides special kindergartens, primary, and secondary schools for people with special needs or difficulties in learning. There are also specialist gymnasia and high schools offering musical, theological, and physical education. Seventy-two percent of Greek adults aged 25–64 have completed upper secondary education, which is slightly less than the OECD average of 74 percent. The average Greek pupil scored 458 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD's 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is lower than the OECD average of 486. On average, girls outperformed boys by 15 points, much more than the average OECD gap of two points.

Healthcare system

Greece has . The system is mixed, combining a national health service with (SHI). 2000 report, its ranked 14th in overall performance of 191 countries surveyed. In a 2013 report, Greece was ranked the 19th out of 176 countries for the state of mothers and newborn babies. In 2010, there were 138 hospitals with 31,000 beds, but in 2011, the announced plans to decrease the number to 77 hospitals with 36,035 beds to reduce expenses and further enhance healthcare standards. However, as of 2014, there were 124 public hospitals, of which 106 were general hospitals and 18 specialised hospitals, with a total capacity of about 30,000 beds. Greece's healthcare expenditures as a percentage of GDP were 9.6% in 2007, just above the OECD average of 9.5%. By 2015, spending declined to 8.4% of GDP (compared with the EU average of 9.5%), a decline of one-fifth since 2010. Nevertheless, the country maintains the highest doctor-to-population ratio of any OECD country and the highest doctor-to-patient ratio in the EU.Economou C, Kaitelidou D, Karanikolos M, Maresso A. Greece: Health system review. Health Systems in Transition, 2017; 19(5):1–192. in Greece is among the highest in the world; a 2011 OECD report placed it at 80.3 years, above the OECD average of 79.5, while a more recent 2017 study found life expectancy in 2015 to be 81.1 years, slightly above the EU average of 80.6. The island of has the highest percentage of nonagenarians in the world; approximately 33% of islanders are 90 or older. Icaria is subsequently classified as a "", a region where people allegedly live longer than average and have lower rates of cancer, heart disease, or other chronic illnesses. The 2011 OECD report showed that Greece had the largest percentage of adult daily smokers of any of the 34 OECD members. The country's obesity rate is 18.1%, which is above the OECD average of 15.1%, but considerably lower than the rate of 27.7%. In 2008, Greece had the highest rate of perceived good health in the OECD, at 98.5%. Infant mortality, with a rate of 3.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, was below the 2007 OECD average of 4.9.


The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in and continuing most notably into , through the influence of the and its ern continuation, the Eastern Roman or . Other cultures and nations, such as the , the , the , the , and the have also left their influence on modern Greek culture, although historians credit the with revitalising Greece and giving birth to a single, cohesive entity of its multi-faceted culture. In ancient times, Greece was the birthplace of . Modern democracies owe a debt to Greek beliefs in government by the people, trial by jury, and equality under the law. The ancient Greeks pioneered in many fields that rely on systematic thought, including , , , , , , , and . They introduced such important literary forms as epic and lyric poetry, history, tragedy, comedy and drama. In their pursuit of order and proportion, the Greeks created an ideal of beauty that strongly influenced .

Visual arts

Artistic production in Greece began in the prehistoric pre-Greek and the civilizations, both of which were influenced by local traditions and the . There were several interconnected traditions of painting in ancient Greece. Due to their technical differences, they underwent somewhat differentiated developments. Not all painting techniques are equally well represented in the archaeological record. The most respected form of art, according to authors like or , were individual, mobile paintings on wooden boards, technically described as s. Also, the tradition of wall painting in Greece goes back at least to the and , with the lavish fresco decoration of sites like , and . Much of the figural or architectural sculpture of ancient Greece was painted colourfully. This aspect of Greek stonework is described as . was composed almost entirely of or ; with cast bronze becoming the favoured medium for major works by the early 5th century. Both marble and bronze are easy to form and very durable. sculptures, used for temple s and luxury works, used , most often in and for all or parts (faces and hands) of the figure, and probably gems and other materials, but were much less common, and only fragments have survived. By the early 19th century, the systematic excavation of ancient Greek sites had brought forth a plethora of sculptures with traces of notably multicolored surfaces. It was not until published findings by German archaeologist in the late 20th century, that the painting of ancient Greek sculptures became an established fact. The art production continued also during the Byzantine era. The most salient feature of this new aesthetic was its "abstract", or anti-naturalistic character. If classical art was marked by the attempt to create representations that mimicked reality as closely as possible, Byzantine art seems to have abandoned this attempt in favour of a more symbolic approach. The Byzantine painting concentrated mainly on s and . The was the artistic expression of , a label sometimes used to describe the period of the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire (867–1056), especially the 10th century, which some scholars have seen as a time of increased interest in classical scholarship and the assimilation of classical motifs into work. Post Byzantine art schools include the and . The first artistic movement in the can be considered the (''Munich School''). Notable modern Greek painters include , , , , , and , while some notable sculptors are , , , and .


The architecture of ancient Greece was produced by the ancient Greeks (''Hellenes''), whose flourished on the Greek mainland, the and their , for a period from about 900 BC until the 1st century AD, with the earliest remaining architectural works dating from around 600 BC. The formal vocabulary of ancient Greek architecture, in particular the division of architectural style into three defined orders: the , the and the , was to have profound effect on of later periods. Byzantine architecture is the promoted by the , also known as the Eastern Roman Empire, which dominated Greece and the Greek speaking world during the Middle Ages. The empire endured for more than a , dramatically influencing throughout Europe and the Near East, and becoming the primary progenitor of the and traditions that followed its collapse. After the , the modern Greek architects tried to combine traditional Greek and Byzantine elements and motives with the western European movements and styles. was the first city of the modern Greek state to develop a city plan. In January 1829, , a Greek engineer of the French army, presented the plan of the new city to the Governor , who approved it. Voulgaris applied the orthogonal rule in the urban complex of Patras. Two special genres can be considered the , featuring white-coloured houses, in the and the in the region of . Important is also the influence of the in the and the "Mediterranean style" of (during the years of the fascist regime) in the . After the establishment of the , the architecture of Athens and other cities was mostly influenced by the . For Athens, the first , , commissioned the architects and to design a modern city plan fit for the capital of a state. As for , after the , the government ordered for a new city plan under the supervision of . Other modern Greek architects include , , , , , and .


Theatre in its western form was born in Greece. The of , which became a significant cultural, political, and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was alised as part of a called the , which honoured the god . (late 6th century BC), (486 BC), and the were the three tic s to emerge there. During the Byzantine period, the theatrical art was heavily declined. According to Marios Ploritis, the only form survived was the folk theatre (''Mimos'' and ''Pantomimos''), despite the hostility of the official state. Later, during the Ottoman period, the main theatrical folk art was the '. The renaissance which led to the modern Greek theatre, took place in the . Significal dramatists include and . The modern Greek theatre was born after the , in the early 19th century, and initially was influenced by the Heptanesean theatre and melodrama, such as the Italian opera. The was the first theatre and house of modern Greece and the place where the first Greek opera, ' ''The Parliamentary Candidate'' (based on an exclusively Greek ) was performed. During the late 19th and early 20th century, the Athenian theatre scene was dominated by , , and and notable playwrights included , , and others. The was opened in 1900 as ''Royal Theatre''. Notable playwrights of the modern Greek theatre include , , , and , while notable actors include , , , , , and . Significant directors include , and .


Greek literature can be divided into three main categories: Ancient, Byzantine and modern Greek literature.Encyclopædia Britannica - "Greek literature: Byzantine literature" Athens is considered the birthplace of Western literature. At the beginning of Greek literature stand the two monumental works of : the ' and the '. Though dates of composition vary, these works were fixed around 800 BC or after. In the classical period many of the genres of western literature became more prominent. , s, , , ; dramatic presentations of comedy and ; , treatises, philosophical dialectics, and philosophical treatises all arose in this period. The two major lyrical poets were and . The Classical era also saw the dawn of drama. Of the hundreds of written and performed during the classical age, only a limited number of plays by three authors have survived: those of , , and . The surviving plays by are also a treasure trove of comic presentation, while and are two of the most influential historians in this period. The greatest prose achievement of the 4th century was in philosophy with the works of the three great philosophers. refers to literature of the Byzantine Empire written in , and early , and it is the expression of the intellectual life of the during the Christian . Although ''popular'' Byzantine literature and early both began in the 11th century, the two are indistinguishable. refers to literature written in common Modern Greek, emerging from late Byzantine times in the 11th century. The Cretan Renaissance poem ' is considered the masterpiece of this period of Greek literature. It is a verse written around 1600 by (1553–1613). Later, during the period of Greek enlightenment (), writers such as and prepared with their works the (1821–1830). Leading figures of modern Greek literature include , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and . Two Greek authors have been awarded the : in 1963 and in 1979.


Most western philosophical traditions began in in the 6th century BC. The first philosophers are called "Presocratics," which designates that they came before , whose contributions mark a turning point in western thought. The Presocratics were from the western or the eastern colonies of Greece and only fragments of their original writings survive, in some cases merely a single sentence. A new period of philosophy started with Socrates. Like the , he rejected entirely the physical speculations in which his predecessors had indulged, and made the thoughts and opinions of people his starting-point. Aspects of Socrates were first united from , who also combined with them many of the principles established by earlier philosophers, and developed the whole of this material into the unity of a comprehensive system. of , the most important disciple of Plato, shared with his teacher the title of the greatest philosopher of antiquity. But while Plato had sought to elucidate and explain things from the supra-sensual standpoint of the forms, his pupil preferred to start from the facts given to us by experience. Except from these three most significant Greek philosophers other known schools of from other founders during ancient times were , , and . refers to the distinctive philosophical ideas of the philosophers and scholars of the , especially between the 8th and 15th centuries. It was characterised by a world-view, but one which could draw ideas directly from the Greek texts of , , and the . On the eve of the , tried to restore the use of the term "Hellene" and advocated the return to the of the ancient world. After 1453 a number of who fled to western Europe contributed to the . In modern period, (Greek: Διαφωτισμός, "enlightenment", "illumination") was the Greek expression of the and its philosophical and political ideas. Some notable representatives were , and . Other modern era Greek philosophers or political scientists include , and .

Music and dances

Greek vocal music extends far back into ancient times where mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration and spiritual reasons. Instruments during that period included the double-reed and the plucked string instrument, the , especially the special kind called a . Music played an important role in the education system during ancient times. Boys were taught music from the age of six. Later influences from the , Middle East, and the also had effect on Greek music. While the new technique of polyphony was developing in the West, the resisted any type of change. Therefore, remained monophonic and without any form of instrumental accompaniment. As a result, and despite certain attempts by certain Greek chanters (such as Manouel Gazis, Ioannis Plousiadinos or the Cypriot Ieronimos o Tragoudistis), Byzantine music was deprived of elements of which in the West encouraged an unimpeded development of art. However, this method which kept music away from polyphony, along with centuries of continuous culture, enabled monophonic music to develop to the greatest heights of perfection. Byzantium presented the monophonic ; a melodic treasury of inestimable value for its rhythmical variety and expressive power. Along with the Byzantine (Church) chant and music, the Greek people also cultivated the (''Demotiko'') which is divided into two cycles, the and . The akritic was created between the 9th and 10th centuries and expressed the life and struggles of the (frontier guards) of the Byzantine empire, the most well known being the stories associated with . The klephtic cycle came into being between the late Byzantine period and the start of the . The klephtic cycle, together with historical songs, ''paraloghes'' (narrative song or ballad), love songs, , wedding songs, songs of exile and dirges express the life of the Greeks. There is a unity between the Greek people's struggles for freedom, their joys and sorrow and attitudes towards love and death. The an (καντάδες 's'; sing.: καντάδα) became the forerunners of the Greek modern urban popular song, influencing its development to a considerable degree. For the first part of the next century, several Greek composers continued to borrow elements from the Heptanesean style. The most successful songs during the period 1870–1930 were the so-called Athenian serenades, and the songs performed on stage (επιθεωρησιακά τραγούδια 'theatrical revue songs') in , s and s that were dominating Athens' theater scene. , initially a music associated with the lower classes, later (and especially after the ) reached greater general acceptance as the rough edges of its overt subcultural character were softened and polished, sometimes to the point of unrecognizability. It was the base of the later (song of the people). The leading performers of the genre include , , , , and . Regarding the classical music, it was through the (which were under western rule and influence) that all the major advances of the western European classical music were introduced to mainland Greeks. The region is notable for the birth of the first School of modern Greek classical music (, Greek: ''Επτανησιακή Σχολή''), established in 1815. Prominent representatives of this genre include , , and . is considered the founder of the Greek National School of Music. In the 20th century, Greek composers have had a significant impact on the development of and modern , with figures such as , , and achieving international prominence. At the same time, composers and musicians such as , , , and garnered an international following for their music, which include famous s such as , , , , , , , among others. composers known for their film scores include also and . Notable Greek singers and ians of the 20th and 21st century include , , , , and others. During the , the music of Mikis Theodorakis was banned by the junta and the composer was jailed, internally exiled, and put in a , before finally being allowed to leave Greece due to international reaction to his detention. Released during the junta years, ''Anthrope Agapa, ti Fotia Stamata'' (Make Love, Stop the Gunfire), by the group is considered the first anti-war protest song in the history of . The song was echoing the hippie slogan and was inspired directly by the , becoming a "smash hit" in Greece. Greece participated in the 35 times after its debut at the . In , Greece won with the song "", performed by Greek-Swedish singer . The song received 230 points with 10 sets of 12 points from Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Albania, Cyprus, Serbia & Montenegro, Sweden and Germany and also became a smash hit in different countries and especially in Greece. The was held in at the of the in , with hosted by and .


is characteristic of the healthy , which is epitomised by dishes of . Greek cuisine incorporates fresh ingredients into a variety of local dishes such as , , classic , , and . Some dishes can be traced back to ancient Greece like (a thick purée of walnuts, almonds, crushed garlic and olive oil), , (white or rosé wine sealed with pine resin) and (candy bar with sesame seeds baked with honey). Throughout Greece people often enjoy eating from small dishes such as with various dips such as , grilled octopus and small fish, , (rice, currants and pine kernels wrapped in vine leaves), various , s and cheese. is added to almost every dish. Some sweet desserts include , and , and drinks such as , and a variety of wines including retsina. Greek cuisine differs widely from different parts of the mainland and from island to island. It uses some flavorings more often than other Mediterranean cuisines: , , garlic, , and leaves. Other common herbs and spices include , and seed. Many Greek recipes, especially in the northern parts of the country, use "sweet" spices in combination with meat, for example and s in stews.


Cinema first appeared in Greece in 1896, but the first actual cine-theatre was opened in 1907 in Athens. In 1914, the ''Asty Films Company'' was founded and the production of long films began. ''Golfo'' (Γκόλφω), a well known traditional love story, is considered the first Greek , although there were several minor productions such as newscasts before this. In 1931, directed ''Daphnis and Chloe'' (''Δάφνις και Χλόη''), containing one of the first nude scene in the history of European cinema; it was also the first Greek movie which was played abroad. In 1944, was honoured with the for '. The 1950s and early 1960s are considered by many to be a "golden age" of Greek cinema. Directors and actors of this era were recognised as important figures in Greece and some gained international acclaim: , , , , , , , , , and others. More than sixty films per year were made, with the majority having film noir elements. Some notable films include ' (1950, directed by ), ' (1955, by ), ''Πικρό Ψωμί'' (1951, by ), ' (1956, by ), ' (1955, directed by Cacoyannis and written by Kampanellis), ' (1961, by ), ' (1962, by ) and ' (1963, by ) Cacoyannis also directed ' with Anthony Quinn which received Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film nominations. also contributed in this period with movies such as ''Λατέρνα, Φτώχεια και Φιλότιμο'', ', ', ''Το ξύλο βγήκε από τον Παράδεισο'' and many more. During the 1970s and 1980s, directed a series of notable and appreciated movies. His film ' won the and the at the . There are also internationally renowned filmmakers in the Greek diaspora, such as the Greek-French and the Greek-Americans , and . More recently (film and stage director, producer, and screenwriter) has received four nominations for his work, including for ' (2009), for ' (2015), and and for ' (2018).


Greece is the birthplace of the , first recorded in 776 BC in , and hosted the modern twice, the inaugural and the . During the parade of nations, Greece is always called first, as the founding nation of the ancient precursor of modern Olympics. The nation has competed at every , one of only four countries to have done so. Having won a total of 110 medals (30 gold, 42 silver and 38 bronze), Greece is ranked 32nd by gold medals in the . Their best ever performance was in the 1896 Summer Olympics, when Greece finished second in the with 10 gold medals. The , ranking 12th in the in 2014 (and having reached a high of 8th in the world in 2008 and 2011), were crowned in in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. The is the highest professional football league in the country, comprising fourteen teams. The most successful are , , and . The has a decades-long tradition of excellence in the sport, being considered among the world's top basketball powers. , it ranked 4th in the and 2nd in . They have won the twice in and , and have reached the final four in two of the last four s, taking the second place in the world in , after a 101–95 win against in the tournament's semifinal. The domestic top basketball league, , is composed of fourteen teams. The most successful Greek teams are , , , and . Greek basketball teams are the in , having won 9 since the establishment of the modern era format in 1988, while no other nation has won more than 4 Euroleague championships in this period. Besides the 9 Euroleagues, Greek basketball teams (Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, Aris Thessaloniki, AEK Athens, P.A.O.K, ) have won 3 , 5 , 2 and 1 . After the triumph of the Greek national basketball team, Greece became the reigning European Champion in both football and basketball. The have emerged as one of the leading powers in the world, becoming after their gold medal win against the hosts at the . They also won the silver medal at the , the gold medal at the and the silver medals at the and . The became the third best water polo team in the world in 2005, after their win against in the bronze medal game at the in Canada. The domestic top water polo leagues, and are considered amongst the top national leagues in European water polo, as its clubs have made significant success in European competitions. In men's European competitions, has won the , the European Super Cup and the in 2002 becoming the first club in water polo history to win every title in which it has competed within a single year (, , Champions League and European Super Cup), while has won the in 1997. In women's European competitions, Greek water polo teams (, , , ) are amongst the most successful in European water polο, having won 4 , 3 and 2 European Supercups. The has won two bronze medals, one in the and another one in the , a 5th place in the and a 6th place in the . The Greek league, the , is considered one of the top volleyball leagues in Europe and the Greek clubs have had significant success in European competitions. is the most successful volleyball club in the country having won the most domestic titles and being the only Greek club to have won European titles; they have won two , they have been runners-up twice and they have played in 12 Final Fours in the European competitions, making them one of the most traditional volleyball clubs in Europe. have also seen significant success in European competitions, having been three times runners-up of the . In handball, is the only Greek club to have won a . Apart from these, is relatively popular in .


The numerous gods of the as well as the mythical heroes and events of the ancient Greek (' and ') and other pieces of art and literature from the time make up what is nowadays colloquially referred to as Greek mythology. Apart from serving a religious function, the mythology of the world also served a cosmological role as it was meant to try to explain how the world was formed and operated. The principal gods of the ancient Greek religion were the , or the ''Twelve Gods'', who lived on the top of Mount Olympus. The most important of all ancient Greek gods was , the king of the gods, who was married to his sister, . The other Greek gods that made up the were , , , , , , , , , and . Apart from these twelve gods, Greeks also had a variety of other mystical beliefs, such as and other magical creatures.

Public holidays and festivals

According to Greek law, every Sunday of the year is a public holiday. Since the late '70s, Saturday also is a non-school and not working day. In addition, there are four mandatory official public holidays: 25 March ('), , 15 August ('), and 25 December ('). 1 May (') and 28 October (') are regulated by law as being optional but it is customary for employees to be given the day off. There are, however, more public holidays celebrated in Greece than are announced by the Ministry of Labour each year as either obligatory or optional. The list of these non-fixed national holidays rarely changes and has not changed in recent decades, giving a total of eleven national holidays each year. In addition to the national holidays, there are public holidays that are not celebrated nationwide, but only by a specific professional group or a local community. For example, many municipalities have a "Patron Saint" parallel to "", or a "Liberation Day". On such days it is customary for schools to take the day off. Notable festivals, beyond the religious fests, include , and various local wine festivals. The city of is also home of a number of festivals and events. The is one of the most important film festivals in .

See also

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* "Minorities in Greece – Historical Issues and New Perspectives". ''History and Culture of South Eastern Europe''. An Annual Journal. München (Slavica) 2003. * *, 257 pp. *. * *, 376 pp. * *, 219 pp. The impact of European Union membership on Greek politics, economics, and society. * * * * * * * * *. *. * *

External links

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