Lemnos is an island of Greece in the northern part of the Aegean Sea. Administratively the island forms a municipality within the Lemnos regional unit. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Myrina, at 477.583 square kilometres, it is the 8th-largest island of Greece. Lemnos is mostly flat, but the west, and especially the northwest part, is rough, the highest point is Mount Skopia at the altitude of 430 m. The chief towns are Myrina, on the western coast, Myrina possesses a good harbour, which is in the process of being upgraded through construction of a west-facing sea wall. It is the seat of all carried on with the mainland. Fruit and vegetables that grow on the island include almonds, melons, tomatoes, the main crops are wheat, sesame, in fact Lemnos was Constantinoples granary during Byzantine times. Lemnos produces honey, but, as is the case with most products of a nature in Greece. Muscat grapes are widely, and are used to produce an unusual table wine that is dry yet has a strong Muscat flavor.
Since 1985 the variety and quality of Lemnos wines have increased greatly, the climate in Lemnos is mainly Mediterranean. Winters are generally mild, but there will be a snowfall occasionally, strong winds are a feature of the island, especially in August and in winter time, hence its nickname the wind-ridden one. The temperature is typically 2 to 5 degrees Celsius less than in Athens, for ancient Greeks, the island was sacred to Hephaestus, god of metallurgy, who—as he tells himself in Iliad I. 590ff—fell on Lemnos when Zeus hurled him headlong out of Olympus. There, he was cared for by the Sinties, according to Iliad or by Thetis, sacred initiatory rites dedicated to them were performed in the island. Hephaestus forge, which was located on Lemnos, as well as the name Aethaleia, sometimes applied to it and it is said that fire occasionally blazed forth from Mosychlos, one of its mountains. The ancient geographer Pausanias relates that an island called Chryse. All volcanic action is now extinct, the earliest inhabitants are said to have been a Thracian tribe, whom the Greeks called Sintians, robbers.
The name Lemnos is said by Hecataeus to have applied in the form of a title to Cybele among the Thracians. The worship of Cybele was characteristic of Thrace, where it had spread from Asia Minor at an early period
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland, with an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union. The United Kingdom is a monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952, other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the regions of Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester.
The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Wales, the last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capitals, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. The relationships among the countries of the UK have changed over time, Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. A treaty between England and Scotland resulted in 1707 in a unified Kingdom of Great Britain, which merged in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, there are fourteen British Overseas Territories. These are the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, British influence can be observed in the language and legal systems of many of its former colonies. The United Kingdom is a country and has the worlds fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. The UK is considered to have an economy and is categorised as very high in the Human Development Index.
It was the worlds first industrialised country and the worlds foremost power during the 19th, the UK remains a great power with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally. It is a nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth or fifth in the world. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946 and it has been a leading member state of the EU and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. However, on 23 June 2016, a referendum on the UKs membership of the EU resulted in a decision to leave. The Acts of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain, Scotland and Northern Ireland have devolved self-government
Battle of Greece
The Battle of Greece is the common name for the invasion of Allied Greece by Nazi Germany in April 1941 during World War II. Concomitant to the stalled Greco-Italian War, it is distinguished from the Battle of Crete. These Axis operations were part of the greater Balkan Campaign of Germany, at the time of the German invasion, Greece was at war with Fascist Italy, following the Italian invasion on 28 October 1940. The Greeks joined the Allies and defeated the initial Italian attack, when Operation Marita began on 6 April, the bulk of the Greek Army was on the Greek border with Albania, a protectorate of Italy, from which the Italian troops had attacked. German troops invaded from Bulgaria, creating a second front, Greece had already received a small, inadequate reinforcement from British Empire forces in anticipation of the German attack, but no more help was sent afterward. The Greek army found itself outnumbered in its effort to defend against both Italian and German troops, the British Empire forces were overwhelmed and forced to retreat, with the ultimate goal of evacuation.
For several days, Allied troops played an important part in containing the German advance on the Thermopylae position, allowing ships to be prepared to evacuate the units defending Greece. The German Army reached the capital, Athens, on 27 April and Greeces southern shore on 30 April, capturing 7,000 British Empire forces, the conquest of Greece was completed with the capture of Crete a month later. Following its fall, Greece was occupied by the forces of Germany, Italy. Hitler blamed the failure of his invasion of the Soviet Union and it nevertheless had serious consequences for the Axis war effort in the North African theatre. Enno von Rintelen, who was the military attaché in Rome, emphasizes from the German point of view, at the outbreak of World War II, Ioannis Metaxas—the fascist-style dictator of Greece and former general—sought to maintain a position of neutrality. Greece was subject to increasing pressure from Italy, culminating in the Italian submarine Delfino sinking the cruiser Elli on 15 August 1940, Italian leader Benito Mussolini was irritated that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had not consulted him on his war policy and wished to establish his independence.
He hoped to match German military success by taking Greece, which he regarded as an easy opponent, on 15 October 1940, Mussolini and his closest advisers finalised their decision. Metaxas rejected the ultimatum but even before it expired, Italian troops had invaded Greece through Albania, the principal Italian thrust was directed toward Epirus. Hostilities with the Greek army began at the Battle of Elaia–Kalamas, within three weeks, the Greek army launched a counter-offensive, during which it marched into Albanian territory, capturing significant cities such as Korça and Sarandë. Neither a change in Italian command nor the arrival of substantial reinforcements improved the position of the Italian army, after weeks of inconclusive winter warfare, the Italians launched a counter-offensive on the centre of the front on 9 March 1941, which failed, despite the Italians superior forces. After one week and 12,000 casualties, Mussolini called off the counter-offensive, elementary precautions such as issuing winter clothing had not been taken.
Mussolini had not considered the warnings of the Italian Commission of War Production, during the six-month fight against Italy, the Hellenic army made territorial gains by eliminating Italian salients
The Greco-Italian War, took place between the Kingdoms of Italy and Greece from 28 October 1940 to 23 April 1941. This local war began the Balkans Campaign of World War II between the Axis powers and the Allies and it turned into the Battle of Greece when British and German ground forces intervened early in 1941. In the mid-1930s, the Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini began an aggressive foreign policy, World War II began on 3 September 1939 and on 10 June 1940, Italy declared war on the Allies, invaded France, British Somaliland and Egypt by September and prepared to occupy Greece. In the late 1930s the Greeks had begun the Metaxas Line opposite Bulgaria, in 1940, there was a hostile press campaign in Italy and other provocations culminating in the sinking of the Greek light cruiser Elli by the Italians on 15 August. On 28 October, Mussolini issued an ultimatum to Greece demanding the cession of Greek territory, the Italian army invaded Greece on 28 October before the Italian ultimatum expired.
After reinforcing the Albanian front to 28 divisions, the Italians conducted an offensive in 1941. In the spring of 1941, the failure of the Italian counter-offensive, during the Battle of Greece and British forces in northern Greece were overwhelmed and the Germans advanced rapidly into Greece. In Albania, the Greek army made a withdrawal to avoid being cut off by the Germans, was followed up slowly by the Italians. Greece was occupied by Bulgarian and Italian troops, the Italian army suffered 154,172 casualties from all causes and the Greek army about 90,000 losses. The regime wanted hegemony in the Mediterranean–Danubian–Balkan region and Mussolini imagined the conquest of an empire stretching from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Strait of Hormuz, there were designs for a protectorate over Albania and for the annexation of Dalmatia and economic and military control of Yugoslavia and Greece. The fascist regime sought to establish protectorates over Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria, in 1936, the Spanish Civil War began and Italy made a military contribution so vast that it played a decisive role in the victory of the rebel forces of Francisco Franco.
A full-scale external war was fought for Spanish subservience to the Italian Empire, to place Italy on a war footing, and to create a warrior culture. In September 1938, the Italian army had plans to invade Albania. Albania was a territory that Italy could acquire for living space to ease its overpopulation as well as a foothold for expansion in the Balkans, during 1940, Italy invaded France and Egypt. A plan to invade Yugoslavia was drawn up, but postponed due to opposition from Nazi Germany, Italy had captured the predominantly Greek-inhabited Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea from the Ottoman Empire in the Italo-Turkish War of 1912. It had occupied them since, after reneging on the 1919 Venizelos–Tittoni agreement to them to Greece. Italy occupied parts of Anatolia which threatened the Greek occupation zone, Greek troops were landed and the Greco-Turkish War began with Greek troops advanced into Anatolia. Turkish forces eventually defeated the Greeks and with Italian aid, recovered the lost territory, in 1923, Mussolini used the murder of an Italian general on the Greco-Albanian border as a pretext to bombard and temporarily occupy Corfu, the most important of the Ionian Islands
International Standard Book Number
The International Standard Book Number is a unique numeric commercial book identifier. An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation of a book, for example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, the method of assigning an ISBN is nation-based and varies from country to country, often depending on how large the publishing industry is within a country. The initial ISBN configuration of recognition was generated in 1967 based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering created in 1966, the 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO2108. Occasionally, a book may appear without a printed ISBN if it is printed privately or the author does not follow the usual ISBN procedure, this can be rectified later. Another identifier, the International Standard Serial Number, identifies periodical publications such as magazines, the ISBN configuration of recognition was generated in 1967 in the United Kingdom by David Whitaker and in 1968 in the US by Emery Koltay.
The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO2108, the United Kingdom continued to use the 9-digit SBN code until 1974. The ISO on-line facility only refers back to 1978, an SBN may be converted to an ISBN by prefixing the digit 0. For example, the edition of Mr. J. G. Reeder Returns, published by Hodder in 1965, has SBN340013818 -340 indicating the publisher,01381 their serial number. This can be converted to ISBN 0-340-01381-8, the check digit does not need to be re-calculated, since 1 January 2007, ISBNs have contained 13 digits, a format that is compatible with Bookland European Article Number EAN-13s. An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation of a book, for example, an ebook, a paperback, and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, a 13-digit ISBN can be separated into its parts, and when this is done it is customary to separate the parts with hyphens or spaces.
Separating the parts of a 10-digit ISBN is done with either hyphens or spaces, figuring out how to correctly separate a given ISBN number is complicated, because most of the parts do not use a fixed number of digits. ISBN issuance is country-specific, in that ISBNs are issued by the ISBN registration agency that is responsible for country or territory regardless of the publication language. Some ISBN registration agencies are based in national libraries or within ministries of culture, in other cases, the ISBN registration service is provided by organisations such as bibliographic data providers that are not government funded. In Canada, ISBNs are issued at no cost with the purpose of encouraging Canadian culture. In the United Kingdom, United States, and some countries, where the service is provided by non-government-funded organisations. Australia, ISBNs are issued by the library services agency Thorpe-Bowker
Voukourestiou Street named after the Treaty of Bucharest, which in 1913 ended the second Balkan War, is a rather narrow street in the Kolonaki district of Athens known for its high-end boutiques. Starting in the 1950s, this street was the street for hip and trendy European and American goods in the Greek capital as well as gold, running from Panepistimiou Street to the slope of Mt. Lycabettus, the street epitomized fancy shopping in Greece for generations. Voukourestiou Street is one of the four streets which enclose the building of the former Army Shareholders Fund. Now the building houses the Attica Department Store and the headquarters of the Piraeus Bank, among others, there are a spa, three theatres and three cafés and restaurants, one of which is the famous Zonars–Le café dAthènes. The building is crossed by an arcade which connects Voukourestiou and Amerikis Streets and this block—recently known as Athens City Link—houses the majority of the high-end boutiques in central Athens
Three modern Greek currencies, the first introduced in 1832 and the last replaced by the euro in 2001. The euro did not begin circulating until 2002 but the rate was fixed on 19 June 2000. It was a unit of weight. The name drachma is derived from the verb δράσσομαι and it is believed that the same word with the meaning of handful or handle is found in Linear B tablets of the Mycenean Pylos. Initially a drachma was a fistful of six oboloí or obeloí used as a form of currency as early as 1100 BC and being a form of bullion, copper, a hoard of over 150 rod-shaped obeloi was uncovered at Heraion of Argos in Peloponnese. Six of them are displayed at the Numismatic Museum of Athens and it was the standard unit of silver coinage at most ancient Greek mints, and the name obol was used to describe a coin that was one-sixth of a drachma. Similar information about Pheidons obeloi was recorded at the Parian Chronicle, ancient Greek coins normally had distinctive names in daily use. The Athenian tetradrachm was called owl, the Aeginetic stater was called chelone, the exact exchange value of each was determined by the quantity and quality of the metal, which reflected on the reputation of each mint.
The 5th century BC Athenian tetradrachm coin was perhaps the most widely used coin in the Greek world prior to the time of Alexander the Great and it featured the helmeted profile bust of Athena on the obverse and an owl on the reverse. In daily use they were called γλαῦκες glaukes, hence the proverb Γλαῦκ’ Ἀθήναζε, the reverse is featured on the national side of the modern Greek 1 euro coin. Drachmae were minted on different weight standards at different Greek mints, the standard that came to be most commonly used was the Athenian or Attic one, which weighed a little over 4.3 grams. The Armenian dram derives its name from the drachma. S, modern commentators derived from Xenophon that half a drachma per day would provide a comfortable subsistence for the poor citizens. Earlier in 422 BC, we see in Aristophanes that the daily half-drachma of a juror is just enough for the daily subsistence of a family of three. Fractions and multiples of the drachma were minted by many states, most notably in Ptolemaic Egypt, notable Ptolemaic coins included the gold pentadrachm and octadrachm, and silver tetradrachm and pentakaidecadrachm.
This was especially noteworthy as it would not be until the introduction of the Guldengroschen in 1486 that coins of substantial size would be minted in significant quantities, for the Roman successors of the drachma, see Roman provincial coins. The weight of the drachma was approximately 4.3 grams or 0.15 ounces. It was divided into six obols of 0.72 grams, the New Testament mentions both didrachma and, by implication, tetradrachma in context of the Temple tax. Lukes Gospel includes a parable told by Jesus of a woman with 10 drachmae, the drachma was reintroduced in May 1832, shortly before the establishment of the modern state of Greece
After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans the Ottoman Beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror, at the beginning of the 17th century the empire contained 32 provinces and numerous vassal states. Some of these were absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries. With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, while the empire was once thought to have entered a period of decline following the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, this view is no longer supported by the majority of academic historians. The empire continued to maintain a flexible and strong economy, however, during a long period of peace from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military system fell behind that of their European rivals, the Habsburg and Russian Empires. While the Empire was able to hold its own during the conflict, it was struggling with internal dissent.
Starting before World War I, but growing increasingly common and violent during it, major atrocities were committed by the Ottoman government against the Armenians and Pontic Greeks. The word Ottoman is an anglicisation of the name of Osman I. Osmans name in turn was the Turkish form of the Arabic name ʿUthmān, in Ottoman Turkish, the empire was referred to as Devlet-i ʿAlīye-yi ʿOsmānīye, or alternatively ʿOsmānlı Devleti. In Modern Turkish, it is known as Osmanlı İmparatorluğu or Osmanlı Devleti, the Turkish word for Ottoman originally referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the fourteenth century, and subsequently came to be used to refer to the empires military-administrative elite. In contrast, the term Turk was used to refer to the Anatolian peasant and tribal population, the term Rūmī was used to refer to Turkish-speakers by the other Muslim peoples of the empire and beyond. In Western Europe, the two names Ottoman Empire and Turkey were often used interchangeably, with Turkey being increasingly favored both in formal and informal situations and this dichotomy was officially ended in 1920–23, when the newly established Ankara-based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name.
Most scholarly historians avoid the terms Turkey and Turkish when referring to the Ottomans, as the power of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum declined in the 13th century, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent Turkish principalities known as the Anatolian Beyliks. One of these beyliks, in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman, osmans early followers consisted both of Turkish tribal groups and Byzantine renegades, many but not all converts to Islam. Osman extended the control of his principality by conquering Byzantine towns along the Sakarya River and it is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their neighbours, due to the scarcity of the sources which survive from this period. One school of thought which was popular during the twentieth century argued that the Ottomans achieved success by rallying religious warriors to fight for them in the name of Islam, in the century after the death of Osman I, Ottoman rule began to extend over Anatolia and the Balkans.
Osmans son, captured the northwestern Anatolian city of Bursa in 1326 and this conquest meant the loss of Byzantine control over northwestern Anatolia. The important city of Thessaloniki was captured from the Venetians in 1387, the Ottoman victory at Kosovo in 1389 effectively marked the end of Serbian power in the region, paving the way for Ottoman expansion into Europe
Axis occupation of Greece
The occupation of Greece by the Axis Powers began in April 1941 after Nazi Germany invaded Greece to assist its ally, Fascist Italy, which had been at war with Greece since October 1940. Following the conquest of Crete, all of Greece was occupied by June 1941, the occupation in the mainland lasted until Germany and its ally Bulgaria were forced to withdraw under Allied pressure in early October 1944. However, German garrisons remained in control of Crete and some other Aegean islands until after the end of World War II in Europe, surrendering these islands in May, Nazi Germany was forced to an intervention on its allys behalf in southern Europe. As result, the Greek government went into exile, and an Axis collaborationist puppet government was established in the country, other regions of the country were given to Germanys partners and Bulgaria. The occupation ruined the Greek economy and brought about terrible hardships for the Greek civilian population, much of Greece was subjected to enormous destruction of its industry, ports, roads and bridges, forests and other natural resources and loss of civilian life.
Over 40,000 civilians died in Athens alone from starvation, tens of thousands more died because of reprisals by Nazis, at the same time the Greek Resistance, one of the most effective resistance movements in Occupied Europe, was formed. These resistance groups launched attacks against the occupying powers, fought against the collaborationist Security Battalions. By late 1943 the resistance began to fight amongst themselves. When liberation of the came in October 1944, Greece was in a state of extreme political polarization. In the early morning hours of 28 October 1940, Italian Ambassador Emmanuel Grazzi awoke Greek Premier Ioannis Metaxas, Metaxas rejected the ultimatum and Italian forces invaded Greek territory from Italian-occupied Albania less than three hours later. The Hellenic Army proved to be an opponent, and successfully exploited the mountainous terrain of Epirus. The Hellenic forces counterattacked and forced the Italians to retreat, by mid-December, the Greeks had occupied nearly one-quarter of Albania, before Italian reinforcements and the harsh winter stemmed the Greek advance.
In March 1941, a major Italian counterattack failed, fifteen of the 21 Greek divisions were deployed against the Italians, so only six divisions were facing the attack from German troops in the Metaxas Line during the first days of April. Greece received help from British Commonwealth troops, moved from Libya on the orders of Winston Churchill, on 6 April 1941, Germany came to the aid of Italy and invaded Greece through Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Greek and British Commonwealth troops fought back but were overwhelmed, the Bulgarians occupied territory between the Strymon River and a line of demarcation running through Alexandroupoli and Svilengrad west of the Evros River. The Greek capital Athens fell on 27 April, and by 1 June, after the capture of Crete, after the invasion King George II fled, first to Crete and to Cairo. A nominally right-wing Greek government ruled from Athens, but it was a puppet of the occupiers, the occupation of Greece was divided among Germany and Bulgaria. German forces occupied the most strategically important areas, namely Athens, Thessaloniki with Central Macedonia and several Aegean Islands, the German zone was ruled by the ambassador Günther Altenburg of the German Foreign Office and Field Marshal Wilhelm List
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is an American hotel and leisure company headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. One of the worlds largest hotel companies, it owns, operates and manages hotels, spas and vacation ownership properties under its 11 owned brands. As of 1 December 2014, Starwood Hotels and Resorts owned, managed, or franchised over 1,200 properties employing over 180,400 people, of whom approximately 26% were employed in the United States. On November 16,2015, Marriott International announced it would purchase Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide for $13.6 billion, the merger was finalized on September 23,2016 after gaining the final approval from the American authorities. After the acquisition by Marriott was approved, the Starwood Preferred Guest program announced it would provide reciprocal benefits with Marriotts guest reward program, the two programs will be merged under a single brand in the future. The Westin Hotels and Resorts brand is Starwoods largest upscale hotels and it was bought by Starwood in 1994 and is the oldest brand within Starwood, dating back to 1930 and still continuing with it.
Sheraton is Starwoods flagship brand, providing hotel and resort accommodation. It began operating in 1937 and was sold to Starwood in 1998 by ITT, under the Sheraton brand are 7 Vacation Ownership properties. The flagship of the division was The St Regis in New York City, the majority of the CIGA hotels were folded into the ITT Sheraton Luxury Collection. Both ITT Sheraton and Starwood kept CIGAs original logo for The Luxury Collection brand logo until 2010, after Starwood bought Sheraton, they established a separate brand identity for The Luxury Collection and expanded it. Many hotels in The Luxury Collection are smaller establishments in converted palaces or other significant buildings, launched in 1995 under the Sheraton Groups brand, this brand is a set of mid-range hotels that replaced the Sheraton Inn sub-brand of Sheraton. W Hotels is Starwoods luxury boutique hotel brand, generally marketed towards a younger crowd, for example, the lobbies of all the hotels are known as the Living Room.
W Hotels attempt to include the letter W wherever possible - the swimming pool is known as Wet, the concierge is known as Whatever Whenever, the bag in every room is known as Wash. St. Regis is Starwoods main luxury brand, launched in 1999, in the 1930s, head bartender Fernand Petiot, introduced the Bloody Mary cocktail. It has a total of 137 properties operating or in the worldwide, with its first property being Le Méridien Etoile in Paris. Certain locations offer guests complimentary access to art galleries and museums through collaborations, Le Méridien has a partnership with the Italian coffee roasting company Illy and promoting Illy-branded coffee and products throughout its hotels around the world. Aloft, was launched in 2005 as Aloft, a Vision of W Hotels, in a relationship with W similar to Four Points by Sheraton and its brand parent, Aloft is a mid-scale, urban-style business/boutique hotel brand. Announced in 2006, and originally known as Element by Westin, the designs include energy and water efficient features
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, historically known as Hellas, is a country in southeastern Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million as of 2015. Athens is the capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. Greece consists of nine regions, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Crete. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a vast number of islands, eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as polis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea.
Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming a part of the Roman Empire and its successor. The Greek Orthodox Church shaped modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World, falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence. Greeces rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, among the most in Europe, Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, and a very high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001. Greeces unique cultural heritage, large industry, prominent shipping sector. It is the largest economy in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor, the names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures.
The earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, all three stages of the stone age are represented in Greece, for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries and these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, and the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek. The Mycenaeans gradually absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC and this ushered in a period known as the Greek Dark Ages, from which written records are absent. The end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to 776 BC, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, in 508 BC, Cleisthenes instituted the worlds first democratic system of government in Athens