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
Regional units of Greece
The 74 regional units are administrative units of Greece. They are subdivisions of the country's 13 regions, further subdivided into municipalities, they were introduced as part of the "Kallikratis" administrative reform on 1 January 2011 and are comparable in area and, in the mainland, coterminous with the pre-"Kallikratis" prefectures of Greece
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus, a distinct city prior to its 5th century BC incorporation with Athens. A center for the arts and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, in particular the Romans. In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, industrial, maritime and cultural life in Greece. In 2012, Athens was ranked the world's 39th richest city by purchasing power and the 67th most expensive in a UBS study. Athens is a global one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe.
It has a large financial sector, its port Piraeus is both the largest passenger port in Europe, the second largest in the world. While at the same time being the sixth busiest passenger port in Europe; the Municipality of Athens had a population of 664,046 within its administrative limits, a land area of 38.96 km2. The urban area of Athens extends beyond its administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,090,508 over an area of 412 km2. According to Eurostat in 2011, the functional urban area of Athens was the 9th most populous FUA in the European Union, with a population of 3.8 million people. Athens is the southernmost capital on the European mainland; the heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery.
Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament and the so-called "architectural trilogy of Athens", consisting of the National Library of Greece, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Academy of Athens. Athens is home to several museums and cultural institutions, such as the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, the Acropolis Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, 108 years it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics, making it one of only a handful of cities to have hosted the Olympics more than once. In Ancient Greek, the name of the city was Ἀθῆναι a plural. In earlier Greek, such as Homeric Greek, the name had been current in the singular form though, as Ἀθήνη, it was rendered in the plural on, like those of Θῆβαι and Μυκῆναι.
The root of the word is not of Greek or Indo-European origin, is a remnant of the Pre-Greek substrate of Attica. In antiquity, it was debated whether Athens took its name from its patron goddess Athena or Athena took her name from the city. Modern scholars now agree that the goddess takes her name from the city, because the ending -ene is common in names of locations, but rare for personal names. During the medieval period, the name of the city was rendered once again in the singular as Ἀθήνα. However, after the establishment of the modern Greek state, due to the conservatism of the written language, Ἀθῆναι became again the official name of the city and remained so until the abandonment of Katharevousa in the 1970s, when Ἀθήνα, Athína, became the official name. According to the ancient Athenian founding myth, the goddess of wisdom, competed against Poseidon, the god of the seas, for patronage of the yet-unnamed city. According to the account given by Pseudo-Apollodorus, Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a salt water spring welled up.
In an alternative version of the myth from Vergil's Georgics, Poseidon instead gave the Athenians the first horse. In both versions, Athena offered the Athenians the first domesticated olive tree. Cecrops declared Athena the patron goddess of Athens. Different etymologies, now rejected, were proposed during the 19th century. Christian Lobeck proposed as the root of the name the word ἄθος or ἄνθος meaning "flower", to denote Athens as the "flowering city". Ludwig von Döderlein proposed the stem of the verb θάω, stem θη- to denote Athens as having fertile soil. In classical literature, the city was sometimes referred to as the City of the Violet Crown, first documented in Pindar's ἰοστέφανοι Ἀθᾶναι, or as τὸ κλεινὸν ἄστυ. In medieval texts, variant names include Setines and Astines, all derivations involving false splitting of p
Corinthia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese, it is situated in the north-eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. Corinthia borders on Achaea to the west and southwest, the Gulf of Corinth and Attica to the north, the Saronic Gulf to the east, Argolis to the south and Arcadia to the southwest; the Corinth Canal, carrying ship traffic between the Ionian and the Aegean seas, is about 4 km east of Corinth, cutting through the Isthmus of Corinth. Corinthia is seen as part of the wider metropolitan area of Athens, with municipalities, such as Agioi Theodoroi in the easternmost part of the regional unit, being considered suburbs of Athens; the area around Corinth and the western Saronic including the southeastern part are made up of fault lines including the Corinth Fault, the Poseidon Fault and a fault running from Perahcora to Agioi Theodoroi. More faults are near Kiras Sofiko; the eastern coastlands of Corinthia are made up of pastures and farmlands where olives, grapes and vegetables are cultivated.
The rest of Corinthia is mountainous. Its tallest mountain is Kyllini in its west and the largest lake is Lake Stymphalos, situated in the southwest; the reservoir will become one of the largest lakes after its completion. The climate of Corinthia consists of hot summers and mild winters in the coastal areas and somewhat colder winters with occasional snowfalls in the mountainous areas; the regional unit Corinthia is subdivided into 6 municipalities. These are: Corinth Loutraki-Perachora-Agioi Theodoroi Nemea Sikyona Velo-Vocha Xylokastro-Evrostina As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit Corinthia was created out of the former prefecture Corinthia; the prefecture had the same territory as the present regional unit. At the same time, the municipalities were reorganised, according to the table below; the main cities and towns of Corinthia are: Corinth 30,176 Loutraki 13,353 Kiato 9,812 Xylokastro 5,715 From 1833 to 1899, the Corinthia prefecture included Argolis and was known as Argolidocorinthia.
It included Hydra and Kythira. Argolis joined Corinthia to reform Argolidocorinthia again in 1909. Forty years in 1949, the prefecture was separated from Argolis; the highway was first paved at the turn of the 20th century. The mid to late-20th century saw the population shifting from agriculture to other jobs, as people migrated to larger towns and cities as well as other parts of the world. In the 1960s, the motorway GR-8A was constructed to handle the increasing traffic between Corinth and Athens and allow higher speed limits; the section from the old Corinth interchange eastward in Corinthia was opened in 1962 and the section west of Corinth was added in 1969. The new highway had a significant effect on the local industry, as it lowered the cost of transportation of goods between Corinthia and the Athens metropolitan area. In late 2006, the prefect of Corinthia announced the construction of a new dam, to be located 5 to 7 km south of Kiato and Sicyon, near Stimanika, over the Elissos River.
It will be the second largest body of water in Corinthia. The dam will be designed to withstand natural disasters, including flooding. On July 17, 2007, a forest fire struck the area around its castle; the main sources of income are goods and services, manufacturing and agriculture. Several major roadways are situated within Corinthia. Motorways: Olympia Odos Moreas Motorway Highways-National Roads: Greek National Road 7 Greek National Road 8 Greek National Road 66 Top Channel - Corinth Notable attractions include Ancient Corinth with its acropolis, the Corinth Canal, the thermal springs of Loutraki, the archaeological sites of Nemea and the Heraion of Perachora. List of settlements in Corinthia korinthia.net The Ultimate guide for Corinthia GTP - Corinthia Geomorphological Survey of Eastern Korinthia KRRC Geomorphology Xenios Magazine articles on Corinthia Kiato
The Peloponnese or Peloponnesus is a peninsula and geographic region in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the Isthmus of Corinth land bridge which separates the Gulf of Corinth from the Saronic Gulf. During the late Middle Ages and the Ottoman era, the peninsula was known as the Morea, a name still in colloquial use in its demotic form; the peninsula is divided among three administrative regions: most belongs to the Peloponnese region, with smaller parts belonging to the West Greece and Attica regions. In 2016, Lonely Planet voted the Peloponnese the top spot of their Best in Europe list; the Peloponnese is a peninsula that covers an area of some 21,549.6 square kilometres and constitutes the southernmost part of mainland Greece. While technically it may be considered an island since the construction of the Corinth Canal in 1893, like other peninsulas that have been separated from their mainland by man-made bodies of waters, it is if referred to as an "island".
It has two land connections with the rest of Greece, a natural one at the Isthmus of Corinth, an artificial one by the Rio–Antirrio bridge. The peninsula has a mountainous interior and indented coasts; the Peloponnese possesses four south-pointing peninsulas, the Messenian, the Mani, the Cape Malea, the Argolid in the far northeast of the Peloponnese. Mount Taygetus in the south is the highest mountain in the Peloponnese, at 2,407 metres. Οther important mountains include Cyllene in the northeast, Aroania in the north and Panachaikon in the northwest, Mainalon in the center, Parnon in the southeast. The entire peninsula has been the site of many earthquakes in the past; the longest river is the Alfeios in the west, followed by the Evrotas in the south, the Pineios in the west. Extensive lowlands are found only in the west, with the exception of the Evrotas valley in the south and in the Argolid in the northeast; the Peloponnese is home to numerous spectacular beaches. Two groups of islands lie off the Peloponnesian coast: the Argo-Saronic Islands to the east, the Ionian to the west.
The island of Kythira, off the Epidaurus Limera peninsula to the south of the Peloponnese, is considered to be part of the Ionian Islands. The island of Elafonisos used to be part of the peninsula but was separated following the major quake of 365 AD. Since antiquity, continuing to the present day, the Peloponnese has been divided into seven major regions: Achaea, Argolis, Laconia and Elis; each of these regions is headed by a city. The largest city is Patras in Achaia, followed by Kalamata in Messenia; the peninsula has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Its modern name derives from ancient Greek mythology the legend of the hero Pelops, said to have conquered the entire region; the name Peloponnesos means "Island of Pelops". The Mycenaean civilization, mainland Greece's first major civilization, dominated the Peloponnese in the Bronze Age from its stronghold at Mycenae in the north-east of the peninsula; the Mycenean civilization collapsed at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. Archeological research has found that many of its palaces show signs of destruction.
The subsequent period, known as the Greek Dark Ages, is marked by an absence of written records. In 776 BC, the first Olympic Games were held at Olympia, in the western Peloponnese and this date is sometimes used to denote the beginning of the classical period of Greek antiquity. During classical antiquity, the Peloponnese was at the heart of the affairs of ancient Greece, possessed some of its most powerful city-states, was the location of some of its bloodiest battles; the major cities of Sparta, Corinth and Megalopolis were all located on the Peloponnese, it was the homeland of the Peloponnesian League. Soldiers from the peninsula fought in the Persian Wars, it was the scene of the Peloponnesian War of 431–404 BC; the entire Peloponnese with the notable exception of Sparta joined Alexander's expedition against the Persian Empire. Along with the rest of Greece, the Peloponnese fell to the expanding Roman Republic in 146 BC, when the Romans razed the city of Corinth and massacred its inhabitants.
The Romans created the province of Achaea comprising central Greece. During the Roman period, the peninsula remained prosperous but became a provincial backwater cut off from the affairs of the wider Roman world. After the partition of the Empire in 395, the Peloponnese became a part of the East Roman or Byzantine Empire; the devastation of Alaric's raid in 396–397 led to the construction of the Hexamilion wall across the Isthmus of Corinth. Through most of late antiquity, the peninsula retained its urbanized character: in the 6th century, Hierocles counted 26 cities in his Synecdemus. By the latter part of that century, building activity seems to have stopped everywhere except Constantinople, Thessalonica and Athens; this has traditionally been attributed to calamities such as plague and Slavic invasions. However, more recent analysis suggests that urban decline was linked with the collapse of long-distance and regional commercial networks that underpinned and supported late antique urba
Vehicle registration plates of Greece
Greek vehicle registration plates are composed of three letters and four digits per plate printed in black on a white background. The letters represent the district that issues the plates while the numbers begin from 1000 to 9999; as from 2004, a blue strip was added on the left showing the country code of Greece in white text and the Flag of Europe. Similar plates with digits beginning from 1 to 999 are issued for motorcycles. With the exception of Athens and Thessaloniki, all districts are represented by the first 2 letters; the final letter in the sequence changes in Greek alphabetical order after 9,000 issued plates. For example, Patras plates are ΑΧΑ-1000, where ΑΧ represents the Achaia prefecture of which Patras is the capital; when ΑΧΑ-9999 is reached the plates turn to ΑΧΒ-1000 and this continues until ΑΧΧ is finished. Only the letters from the intersection between the Latin and Greek alphabets by glyph appearance are used, namely Α, Β, Ε, Ζ, Η, Ι, Κ, Μ, Ν, Ο, Ρ, Τ, Υ, Χ; this is because Greece is a contracting party to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which in Annex 2 requires registration numbers to be displayed in capital Latin characters and Arabic numerals.
The rule applies in a similar way in Russia, Belarus and Herzegovina and Bulgaria. Combinations used for overseas residents are limited; until 2003, taxis used L-NNNN. Up until 1954 Greek number plates were quite simple: black numbers on a white background, indicating the serial number shown on the car's license; these started at 1 and advanced to 75-000 when the system was changed. The owner had to provide the plates and specifications were minimal: the size of the plates and numbers, as well as their respective colours; this meant that plates were not uniform. Taxis had to indicate the initial of the city. In 1954 it was compulsory for all vehicles to change to a new system. For just 2 years the system was L-NNNN or L-NNNNN with black characters on yellow background where L was the initial of the city they were licensed in. All these plates display "1953-54" in black characters on a white background using a smaller typeface in the top left corner; these plates were compulsorily withdrawn in 1956.
In 1956 the system was again changed to just numbers NNNNNN. NNNNNN could be any number from one to six digits starting once again with "1" and ending this time at about "451000", though not all numbers were allocated. Characters were black on white background with a blue band at the top of both front and back plates indicating city/district of registration and type of usage. After 1960 the blue band on the front plate was abandoned and hence that plate became shorter in height; this time it was not compulsory to change plates after 1972. Hence these so-called "six-figure plates" can still be spotted on a few old vehicles. In 1972, they became lettered and the system was LL-NNNN while trucks used L-NNNN. Again, they were black characters on white background but with a different typeface, it was not compulsory to change these plates. In 1982, the system changed to LLL-NNNN and the first two letters are prefecture letters. Again, it was not compulsory to change to the newer system plates in 2004. In 2004 the euroband was added to the left and the typeface changed, in all other respects the previous system continued.
The first 2 of 3 letters of a licence plate represent the prefecture where the car was registered. The full list of plates in Greece is below: ΑΑ Achaia prefecture - Patras ΑΒ Kavala prefecture - Kavala ΑΕ Lasithi prefecture - Agios Nikolaos ΑΖ Achaia prefecture - Patras ΑΗ Xanthi prefecture - Xanthi ΑΙ Aitoloakarnania prefecture - Agrinio area ΑΚ Laconia prefecture - Sparti ΑΜ Phokida prefecture - Amfissa ΑΜ tax free cars ΑΝ Lasithi prefecture - Agios Nikolaos ΑΟ Achaia prefecture - Patras AO used in Mount Athos in style of AO-NNN-NN. ΑΡ Argolis prefecture - Nafplio ΑΤ Arta prefecture - Arta AY Achaia prefecture - Patras ΑΧ Achaia prefecture - Patras ΒΑ Magnesia prefecture - Volos ΒΒ Magnesia prefecture - Volos ΒΕ Piraeus prefecture BZ Piraeus prefecture ΒΗ Piraeus prefecture ΒΙ Boeotia prefecture - Livadeia ΒΚ East Attica prefecture - Pallini ΒΜ East Attica prefecture - Pallini ΒΝ West Attica prefecture - Elefsina ΒΟ Magnesia prefecture - Volos ΒΡ West Attica prefecture - Elefsina ΒΤ Magnesia prefecture - Volos ΒΥ Boeotia prefecture - Livadeia ΒΧ Piraeus prefecture ΕΑ Dodecanese prefecture - Kos island ΕΒ Evros prefecture - Alexandroupoli ΕΕ Pella Prefecture - Edessa ΕΖ Cyclades prefecture - Ermoupoli ΕΗ Euboea prefecture - Chalkida EI Euboea prefecture - Chalki
Vrachati is a beach town in the municipal unit of Vocha, Greece, population 3,338. It is located 12 km west of Corinth, is a popular destination for day trippers from Athens, its beach has been awarded with the blue flag from the European Union. Vrachati is located on the Gulf of Corinth; the local economy is based on tourism and on the production of citrus fruits