GREECE

The Cradle of Western Civilization

Greece (officially the Hellenic Republic) is also known since ancient times as Hellas is a transcontinental country located in southeastern Europe.

Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. 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 geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands (including the Dodecanese and Cyclades), Thrace, Crete, and the Ionian Islands. 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 featuring a vast 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 (9,573 ft).

The history of Greece is one of the longest of any country, having been continuously inhabited since 270,000 BC. Considered the cradle of Western civilization, Greece is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy. 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. Philip of Macedon united most of the Greek mainland in the fourth century BC, with his son Alexander the Great rapidly conquering much of the ancient world, spreading Greek culture and science from the eastern Mediterranean to the Indus River. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, wherein the Greek language and culture were dominant. The establishment of the Greek Orthodox Church in the first century AD 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. Greece's rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, among the most in Europe and the world.

Traces of a centuries-old and important history is etched in every corner of Greek land: findings from the Prehistoric and Archaic Periods, unique works from Classical, Hellenistic, Medieval and Byzantine monuments, creations from folk art cultures, traces from the passing eons of other civilizations and different religions, that coexist with current creations, constructions and modern works of art.

Greece is a true paradise for cultural interest, a large journey into history and art. Educational excursions, theatrical productions, festivals, pilgrimages, visits to archaeological sites, monuments and museums, excursions to study the natural environment, folk art and culture.

Whoever really wants to understand history, will find an unrivalled cultural experience in Greece!