The Ottoman Empire known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, 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. During the 16th and 17th centuries, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire was a multinational, multilingual empire controlling most of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. At the beginning of the 17th century, the empire contained 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, the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. 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 and military throughout the 17th and much of the 18th century. 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; the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which prompted them to initiate a comprehensive process of reform and modernisation known as the Tanzimat. Thus, over the course of the 19th century, the Ottoman state became vastly more powerful and organised, despite suffering further territorial losses in the Balkans, where a number of new states emerged.
The empire allied with Germany in the early 20th century, hoping to escape from the diplomatic isolation which had contributed to its recent territorial losses, thus joined World War I on the side of the Central Powers. While the Empire was able to hold its own during the conflict, it was struggling with internal dissent with the Arab Revolt in its Arabian holdings. During this time, atrocities were committed by the Young Turk government against the Armenians and Pontic Greeks; the Empire's defeat and the occupation of part of its territory by the Allied Powers in the aftermath of World War I resulted in its partitioning and the loss of its Middle Eastern territories, which were divided between the United Kingdom and France. The successful Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey in the Anatolian heartland and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy; the word Ottoman is a historical anglicisation of the name of Osman I, the founder of the Empire and of the ruling House of Osman.
Osman's 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 Devleti; the Turkish word for "Ottoman" referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the fourteenth century, subsequently came to be used to refer to the empire's military-administrative elite. In contrast, the term "Turk" was used to refer to the Anatolian peasant and tribal population, was seen as a disparaging term when applied to urban, educated individuals. In the early modern period, an educated urban-dwelling Turkish-speaker, not a member of the military-administrative class would refer to himself neither as an Osmanlı nor as a Türk, but rather as a Rūmī, or "Roman", meaning an inhabitant of the territory of the former Byzantine Empire in the Balkans and Anatolia; 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 used interchangeably, with "Turkey" being favoured both in formal and informal situations. This dichotomy was 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", "Turks", "Turkish" when referring to the Ottomans, due to the empire's multinational character; as 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 I, a figure of obscure origins from whom the name Ottoman is derived. Osman's 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.
It is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their
Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, known as Dušan the Mighty, was the King of Serbia from 8 September 1331 and Emperor and autocrat of the Serbs, Bulgarians and Albanians from 16 April 1346 until his death. Dušan conquered a large part of southeast Europe, becoming one of the most powerful monarchs of the era. Under Dušan's rule, Serbia was the major power in the Balkans, a multi-lingual empire that stretched from the Danube in the north to the Gulf of Corynth in the south, with its capital in Skopje, he enacted the constitution of the Serbian Empire, known as Dušan's Code the most important literary work of medieval Serbia. Dušan promoted the Serbian Church from an archbishopric to a Patriarchate, finished the construction of the Visoki Dečani monastery, founded the Saint Archangels Monastery, among others. Under his rule Serbia reached its territorial, political and cultural peak. Dušan died in 1355, seen as the end of resistance against the advancing Ottoman Empire and the subsequent fall of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the region.
In 1314, Serbian King Stefan Milutin quarreled with Stefan Dečanski. Milutin sent Dečanski to Constantinople to have him blinded, though he was never blinded. Dečanski wrote to Danilo, the Bishop of Hum. Danilo wrote to Archbishop Nicodemus of Serbia, who spoke with Milutin and persuaded him to recall his son. In 1320 Dečanski was permitted to return to Serbia and was given the appanage of'Budimlje', while his half-brother, Stefan Konstantin, held the province of Zeta. Milutin became ill and died on 29 October 1321, Konstantin was crowned king. Civil war erupted as Dečanski and his cousin, Stefan Vladislav II, claimed the throne. Konstantin refused to submit to Dečanski, who invaded Zeta and killing Konstantin. Dečanski was crowned king on 6 January 1322 by Nicodemus, his son, Stefan Dušan, was crowned “young king”. Dečanski granted Zeta to Dušan, indicating him as the intended heir. In the meantime, Vladislav II mobilized local support from Rudnik, the former appanage of his father, Stefan Dragutin.
Vladislav proclaimed himself king, he was supported by the Hungarians, consolidating control over his lands and preparing for battle with Dečanski. As was the case with their fathers, Serbia was divided by the two independent rulers. In 1323, war broke out between Vladislav. Rudnik had fallen to Dečanski by the end of 1323, Vladislav appeared to have fled north. Vladislav was defeated in battle in late 1324 and fled to Hungary, leaving the Serbian throne to Dečanski as undisputed "king of All Serbian and Maritime lands". Dušan was the eldest son of King Stefan Dečanski and Theodora Smilets, the daughter of emperor Smilets of Bulgaria, he was born circa 1308 in Serbia, but with the exile of his father in 1314, the family lived in Constantinople until 1320, when his father was allowed to return. In Constantinople he learned Greek, gained an understanding of Byzantine life and culture, became acquainted with the Byzantine Empire, he was more a soldier than a diplomat. Dečanski appointed his nephew Ivan Stephen to the throne of Bulgaria in August 1330.
Dečanski's decision not to attack the Byzantines after the victory at Velbazhd, when he had an opportunity, resulted in the alienation of many nobles, who sought to expand to the south. By January or February 1331, Dušan was quarreling with his father pressured by the nobility. According to contemporary pro-Dušan sources, advisors turned Dečanski against his son, he decided to seize and exclude Dušan from his inheritance. Dečanski sent an army into Zeta against his son. A brief period of anarchy took place in parts of Serbia before father and son concluded peace in April 1331. Three months Dečanski ordered Dušan to meet him. Dušan feared for his life and his advisors persuaded him to resist, so Dušan marched from Skadar to Nerodimlje, where he besieged his father. Dečanski fled, Dušan captured the treasury and family, he pursued his father, catching up with him at Petrić. On 21 August 1331 Dečanski surrendered, on the advice or insistence of Dušan's advisors, he was imprisoned. Dušan was crowned King of All Maritime lands in the first week of September.
The civil war had prevented Serbia from aiding Ivan Stephen and Anna Neda in Bulgaria, who were deposed in March 1331, taking refuge in the mountains. Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria feared Serbia, as the situation there had settled, he sought peace with Dušan; as Dušan wanted to move against richer Byzantium, the two made peace and an alliance in December 1331, accepting Ivan Alexander as ruler. It was sealed with the marriage of Dušan and Helena of Bulgaria, Empress of Serbia, the sister of Ivan Alexander. Contemporary writers described Dušan as unusually tall and strong, "the tallest man of his time" handsome, a rare leader full of dynamism, quick intelligence, strength, bearing "a kingly presence". According to the contemporary depictions, he had brown eyes. Serbia made some raids into the Macedonia region in late 1331, but a planned major attack on Byzantium was delayed as Dušan had to suppress revolts in Zeta in 1332. Dušan's ingratitude toward those
A golden bull or chrysobull was a decree issued by Byzantine Emperors and by monarchs in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, most notably by the Holy Roman Emperors. The term was coined for the golden seal, attached to the decree, but came to be applied to the entire decree; such decrees were known as golden bulls in western Europe and chrysobullos logos, or chrysobulls, in the Byzantine Empire. For nearly eight hundred years, they were issued unilaterally, without obligations on the part of the other party or parties. However, this proved disadvantageous as the Byzantines sought to restrain the efforts of foreign powers to undermine the empire. During the 12th century, the Byzantines began to insert into golden bulls sworn statements of the obligations of their negotiating partners. Notable golden bulls included: The Golden Bull of 1082, issued by Alexios I Komnenos to grant Venice merchants with free trading rights, exempt from tax, throughout the Byzantine Empire in return for their defense of the Adriatic Sea against the Normans.
The Golden Bull of 1136, issued by Pope Innocent II, more known as the Bull of Gniezno. The Golden Bull of Sicily, issued in 1212 by Holy Roman Emperor; the Golden Bull of 1213, issued by Holy Roman Emperor. The Golden Bull of 1213, issued by the papacy to recognize its agreement with John Lackland; the Golden Bull of 1214, issued by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor to cede all German territories north of the rivers Elbe and Elde to King Valdemar the Victorious of Denmark. The Golden Bull of Berne issued by Frederick II in 1218, but now considered a forgery; the Golden Bull of 1222, issued by King Andrew II of Hungary to confirm the rights of nobility and forced on him in much the same way King John of England was made to sign the Magna Carta. The Golden Bull of 1224 issued by Andrew to grant certain rights to the Saxon inhabitants of Transylvania; the Golden Bull of Rimini, issued by Holy Roman Emperor. The Golden Bull of 1242 issued by King Béla IV to proclaim a free royal Borough for the inhabitants of Gradec and Samobor in Croatia, during the Mongol invasion of Europe.
The Golden Bull of 1267, issued by King Bela IV of Hungary. The Golden Bull of 1348, issued by King Charles I of Bohemia Holy Roman Emperor as Charles IV, to confer privileges and immunities on Charles University established by Pope Clement VI in Prague, one of the oldest universities in the world; the Golden Bull of 1356, issued by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV for promulgation at the Diet of Nuremberg, to define the constitutional structure of the Holy Roman Empire. The Golden Bull of 1702, issued by Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor to establish the Akademia Leopoldina in the Silesian capital of Breslau, the future University of Breslau. Bulla Papal Bull Andrew II of Hungary's Golden Bull of 1222 Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV's Golden Bull of 1356 Columbia Encyclopedia article on the Golden Bull Detailed Information about the Golden Bull Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Bulla Aurea". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company
Macedonia is a geographic and former administrative region of Greece, in the southern Balkans. Macedonia is the largest and second-most-populous Greek region, with a population of 2.38 million in 2017. The region is mountainous, with most major urban centres such as Thessaloniki and Kavala being concentrated on its southern coastline. Together with Thrace, sometimes Thessaly and Epirus, it is part of Northern Greece. Greek Macedonia encompasses the southern part of the region of Macedonia, making up 51% of the total area of the region, it contains Mount Athos, an autonomous monastic region of Greece. Macedonia forms part of Greece's national frontier with three countries: Bulgaria to the north-east, the Republic of North Macedonia to the north, Albania to the north-west. Macedonia incorporates most of the territories of ancient Macedon, a kingdom ruled by the Argeads and whose most celebrated members were Alexander the Great and his father Philip II; the name Macedonia was applied to a number of widely-differing administrative areas in the Roman and Byzantine empires, resulting in modern geographical Macedonia.
Prior to the establishment of the modern Greek state in 1830 Macedonia was identified as a Greek province, albeit without defined geographical borders. Modern Macedonia was established in 1913, in the aftermath of the Treaty of Bucharest which ended the Balkan Wars, it continued as an administrative subdivision of Greece until the administrative reform of 1987, when it was divided into the regions of West Macedonia, Central Macedonia, part of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace, the latter containing the whole Greek part of the region of Thrace. The region remains an important economic centre for Greece. Macedonia accounts for the majority of Greece's agricultural production and is a major contributor to the country's industrial and tourism sectors. Central Macedonia is Greece's fourth-most-popular tourist region and the most popular region, not an island, it is home to four UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Aigai, one of the ancient Macedonian capital cities. Pella, which replaced Aigai as the capital of Macedon in the fourth century BC, is located in Greek Macedonia.
The name Macedonia derives from the Greek Μακεδονία, a kingdom named after the ancient Macedonians, who were the descendants of a Bronze-age Greek tribe. Their name, Μακεδόνες, is cognate to the Ancient Greek adjective μακεδνός, meaning "tall, slim", it was traditionally derived from the Indo-European root *mak-, meaning'long' or'slender'. Linguist Robert S. P. Beekes supports the idea that both terms are of Pre-Greek substrate origin and cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European morphology. However, Beekes' views are not mainstream; the region has also been known as Македония in Bulgarian and the local South Slavic dialects, Makedonya in Turkish, Machedonia in Aromanian or Vlach. Macedonia lies at the crossroads of human development between the Aegean and the Balkans; the earliest signs of human habitation date back to the palaeolithic period, notably with the Petralona cave in, found the oldest yet known European humanoid, Archanthropus europaeus petraloniensis. In the Late Neolithic period, trade took place with quite distant regions, indicating rapid socio-economic changes.
One of the most important innovations was the start of copper working. According to Herodotus, the history of Macedonia began with the Makednoi tribe, among the first to use the name, migrating to the region from Histiaeotis in the south. There they lived near Thracian tribes such as the Bryges who would leave Macedonia for Asia Minor and become known as Phrygians. Macedonia was named after the Makednoi. Accounts of other toponyms such as Emathia are attested to have been in use before that. Herodotus claims that a branch of the Macedonians invaded Southern Greece towards the end of the second millennium B. C. Upon reaching the Peloponnese the invaders were renamed Dorians, triggering the accounts of the Dorian invasion. For centuries the Macedonian tribes were organized in independent kingdoms, in what is now Central Macedonia, their role in internal Hellenic politics was minimal before the rise of Athens; the Macedonians claimed to be Dorian Greeks and there were many Ionians in the coastal regions.
The rest of the region was inhabited by various Thracian and Illyrian tribes as well as coastal colonies of other Greek states such as Amphipolis, Potidea and many others, to the north another tribe dwelt, called the Paeonians. During the late 6th and early 5th century BC, the region came under Persian rule until the destruction of Xerxes at Plataea. During the Peloponnesian War, Macedonia became the theatre of many military actions by the Peloponnesian League and the Athenians, saw incursions of Thracians and Illyrians, as attested by Thucidydes. Many Macedonian cities were allied to the Spartans, but Athens maintained the colony of Amphipolis under her control for many years; the kingdom of Macedon, was reorganised by Philip II and achieved the union of Greek states by forming the League of Corinth. After his assassination, his son Alexander succeeded to the throne of Macedon and carrying the title of Hegemon of League of Corinth started his long campaign towards the east. Macedonia remained an important and powerful kingdom until the Battle of Pydna, in which the Roman general Aemilius Paulus defeated King Perseus of Macedon, ending the reign of the Antigonid dynasty over Macedonia.
For a brief period a Macedonian republic
Meliti is a village in the Florina regional unit, Greece, 15 km northeast of the city of Florina. It is part of the municipal unit Meliti; the name of the village is "Voshterani", "Voštarani" or "Ovčarani" in both Macedonian and Bulgarian. The village was called Türbeli during the Ottoman Empire. In 1926, it was renamed to "Meliti" in Greek; the village was first mentioned in an Ottoman defter of 1481, where it was listed under the name Voštarani and described as having one hundred and ninety-eight households. During the Ottoman period, the village had Turkish population. In 1845 the Russian slavist Victor Grigorovich recorded Vushtarani as Bulgarian village. A Bulgarian school stood in the village at the beginning of 20th century. After the Balkan Wars, Greece annexed the village. In World War I, Bulgaria occupied it, but with Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine it was returned to Greece. After the Greco-Turkish War, the Turkish population left the village and 182 refugees from Pontus and East Thrace were settled there.
After the defeat of Greece by Nazi Germany in April 1941, a local government was established and villagers were involved in the pro-Bulgarian organization "Ohrana." In 1946, 20 activists from "Ohrana", were sentenced to prison by a court in Florina. During the Greek Civil War, about 200 villagers joined the Communist-led Democratic Army of Greece. After the Greek Civil War, 66 Macedonian and 12 Pontic families left the village. In 2008, a group of 30 villagers from Meliti joined in protest with fellow ethnic Macedonians from Lofoi and Kella to protest the presence of the Greek military conducting training exercises in the vicinity of these villages. Meliti holds an annual festival in honour of the Prophet Elijah. Held every year on 19–20 July, it is known as "Ilinden" in the local dialect, is considered by some ethnic Macedonians living in the village to be a celebration in honour of the Ilinden Uprising; the festival has attracted performers from the neighbouring Republic of Macedonia such as Vaska Ilieva, Suzana Spasovska, Elena Velevska and the Tanec folklore ensemble.
An estimated 3,000–5,000 people attend the event every year. The festival however has not gone without criticism from the Greek authorities and local Greek media. In the past, as was common with all festivals involving songs in the Macedonian language, there were suppressive measures enforced by local authorities. According to the president of the local community, this was so severe that it was only until 1983 that songs in the Macedonian language were allowed to be sung. In 1988 the local police interrupted the festival to by switching off all power to the sound system, a reaction to the singing of Macedonian language songs; the police justified these actions claiming that the mayor of the village had been warned not to use the local Macedonian names of songs, but to instead use the Greek version. Two years the police employed similar tactics in response to a folkloric group singing in the Macedonian language; some Greek media has perceived the festival to constitute a threat alleging that the festival represents a "rebellion against Greek sovereignty".
Within the Macedonian-language media however, an alternate approach has been taken, with the event being publicised as the largest annual gathering of ethnic Macedonians in Greece. The village is home to both ethnic Macedonian and Pontic Greek folkloric groups, with the ethnic Macedonian group "KUD Ovčarani" notably performing at the 40th "Macedonian Border Festival" at the border village of Trnovo, Republic of Macedonia; the village has been described as the "epicenter of Macedonian ethnic activism in Greece". A 1993 EU funded survey revealed that the village is inhabited by a mixed population of Macedonian Slavic speakers and the descendants of Greek refugees, including Pontians, from Asia Minor. According to the 2011 census, the population of Meliti was 1,432 people. Florina Power Station, a lignite-fired power station
Florina is a town and municipality in the mountainous northwestern Macedonia, Greece. Its motto is,'Where Greece begins'; the town of Florina is the capital of the Florina regional unit and the seat of the eponymous municipality. It belongs to the administrative region of West Macedonia; the town's population is 17,686 people. It is in a wooded valley about 13 km south of the international border of Greece with the Republic of North Macedonia. Florina is the gateway to the Prespa Lakes and, until the modernisation of the road system, of the old town of Kastoria, it is located west of Edessa, northwest of Kozani, northeast of Ioannina and Kastoria cities. Outside the Greek borders it is in proximity to Korçë in Albania and Bitola in the Republic of Macedonia; the nearest airports are situated to the south. The mountains of Verno lie to Varnous to the northwest. Winters bring heavy snow and long periods of temperature below freezing point. Furthermore, the town and the surrounding valley is covered in thick fog during the winter months that may last for weeks under specific conditions.
During the summer months it becomes a busy market town with an economy boosted by summer and winter tourism due to the heavy snowfalls and the nearby ski resorts. Though Florina was the site of the first rail line built in the southern Ottoman provinces in the late 19th century, its rail system remains undeveloped. Today, Florina is linked by a single track standard gauge line to Thessaloniki and Bitola, to Kozani where it was intended to continue south and link up with the terminal in Kalambaka, in Thessaly but this did not proceed due to the 1930s financial crisis. Florina is passed by GR-2 and GR-3/E65; the new Motorway 27 will run east of Florina with its Florina-Niki segment operational since 2015. The historic Via Egnatia is situated to the east. Florina is one of the coldest towns in Greece, because of its geographic position. Heavy snowfalls, thick fog and below-freezing temperatures are common during the winter months, while the summers are mild. Under the Köppen climate classification, Florina has a humid subtropical climate with strong hot-summer continental climate influences.
On 18 January 2012, a temperature of -25.1 °C was recorded by the HNMS's station with several reports, however, in the local press for temperatures in villages of the municipality that reached -32 °C, but there was no official record of such temperature. The National Observatory of Athens's station reported a temperature of -22.2 °C a day earlier in Florina, while the same station continuously recorded minimum temperatures below -20 °C from 16/1/12 until 19/1/12, with the average maximum temperature for January just -0.6 °C, the prevalence for 13 consecutive days of temperatures below 0 °C 24 hours a day. The above situation resulted in the Greek General Secretariat of Civil Protection to declare the municipality of Florina in a state of emergency on 16/1/12, at the request of the mayor of Florina, due to the polar temperatures and the intense snowfall that prevailed for days; the city's original Byzantine name, Χλέρινον, derives from the Greek word χλωρός. The name was sometimes Latinized as Florinon in the Byzantine period, in early Ottoman documents the forms Chlerina and Florina are both used, with the latter becoming standard after the 17th century.
The form with is a local dialect form of χλωρός in Greek. The Slavic name for the city is Lerin, a borrowing of the Byzantine Greek name, but with the loss of the initial characteristic of the local dialect; the Albanian name for the city is Follorinë. The current municipality of Florina was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 4 former municipalities, that since 2011 became municipal units: Florina Kato Kleines Meliti PerasmaThe municipality has an area of 819.698 km2, the municipal unit 150.634 km2. The municipal unit of Florina is further divided into the following communities: Alona Armenochori Florina Koryfi Mesonisi Proti Skopia Trivouno Within the boundaries of the present-day city lie the remains of a Hellenistic settlement on the hill of Agios Panteleimon. Archaeologists excavated on the site in 1930-1934, but a hotel was built over the ruins. Excavations began again in the 1980s and the total excavated area is now around 8,000 metres square; the buildings uncovered are residential blocks, the range of finds suggests that the site was continuously inhabited from the 4th century BC until its destruction by fire in the 1st century BC.
Many of these finds are now on display in the Archaeological Museum of Florina. The town is first mentioned in 1334, when the Serbian king Stefan Dušan established a certain Sphrantzes Palaeologus as commander of the fortress of Chlerenon. By 1385, the place had fallen to the Ottomans. An Ottoman defter for the year 1481 records a settlement of 243 households. Florina and its inhabitants contributed to the Macedonian Struggle. Prominent leaders included Nikolaos Pyrzas, Petros Chatzitasis. In the late Ottoman period the area surrounding Florina supported the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization who fought against the Ottomans. During the Macedonian Struggle the Greek makedonomachoi gained significant advantage towards the Bulgarian Exarhists within 10 months in 1905 and extended their zone of control in various regions of western Macedonia including the plains north and south of Florina. In 1
Greece the Hellenic Republic, self-identified and known as Hellas, is a country located in Southern and Southeast Europe, with a population of 11 million as of 2016. Athens is largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is located at the crossroads of Europe and Africa. Situated on the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, Turkey to the northeast; 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 large number of islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres; the country consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Thrace and the Ionian Islands.
Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilisation, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, Western drama and notably the Olympic Games. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as poleis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. Philip of Macedon united most of the Greek mainland in the fourth century BC, with his son Alexander the Great conquering much of the ancient world, from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, in which Greek language and culture were dominant. Rooted in the first century A. D. the Greek Orthodox Church helped shape 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.
Greece's rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The sovereign state of Greece is a unitary parliamentary republic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, a high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the tenth member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001, it is a member of numerous other international institutions, including the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Greece's unique cultural heritage, large tourism industry, prominent shipping sector and geostrategic importance classify it as a middle power, it is the largest economy in the Balkans. The names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures.
The Greek name of the country is Hellas or Ellada, its official name is the Hellenic Republic. In English, the country is called Greece, which comes from Latin Graecia and means'the land of the Greeks'; 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, in the Greek province of Macedonia. All three stages of the stone age are represented for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic 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 Near East to Europe. Greece is home to the first advanced civilizations in Europe and is considered the birthplace of Western civilisation, beginning with the Cycladic civilization on the islands of the Aegean Sea at around 3200 BC, the Minoan civilization in Crete, the Mycenaean civilization on the mainland; these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek.
The Mycenaeans absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC, during a time of regional upheaval known as the Bronze Age collapse. This ushered 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; the end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to the year of the first Olympic Games. 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, which spread to the shores of the Black Sea, So