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Greece

Greece

Geography

Greece is located in south-eastern Europe, on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula (Haemus peninsula); it lies at the meeting point of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa. Greece borders to the North on Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M.), to the Northwest on Albania, to the Northeast on Turkey; to the West it is washed by the Ionian Sea; to the South by the Mediterranean Sea and to the East by the Aegean Sea.

The total area of Greece is 131,957 km2 and consists of three main geographic areas:

a peninsular mainland (that extends from the region of Central Greece on the South to the region of Thrace on the North) being the biggest geographic feature of the country

the Peloponnese peninsula that is separated from the mainland by the canal of the Corinth Isthmus,

and around 6.000 islands and islets, scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Sea, most of them grouped in clusters, that constitute the unique Greek archipelago. Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, the Dodecanese and the Cyclades are some of the famous and popular islands and island clusters in Greece.

Eighty percent of the country consists of mountains or hills, making Greece one of the most mountainous countries of Europe; furthermore, it has 16.000 kilometres of coastline of which 7500 are found around the thousands islands of the Greek archipelago, a truly unparalleled phenomenon on the European continent.

General Info

Capital of Greece : Athens
Official language: Greek
The currency : Euro(€)
Climate: Mediterranean
Population: 11.306.183 (2010 estimate)
The country is a Presidential Parliamentary Democracy 
President of the Republic: Mr. Karolos Papoulias
Prime Minister: Mr. Antonis Samaras
Calling code: The international calling code of Greece is +30

Exchange Currencies

Greece is a Member-State of the European Union and uses its uniform currency – the Euro. Greece, as is the case with the other Member-States of the E.U. uses eight coins as follows: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents (lepta in Greek) and 1 and 2 Euros. The banknotes are issued in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros.
Currency exchange rates are clearly displayed in every bank that accepts currency exchange, while credit card holders may acquire money from the ATMs of the collaborating banks. Greek banks are open for the public from 8:00 to 14:30 Mondays to Thursdays and from 8:00 to 13:30 on Fridays. They are closed on Public Holidays. 
Euros can also be exchanged for notes of other foreign currencies at exchange offices that are situated at the airport and certain main ports, in the larger cities, as well as at many tourist destinations. A passport is required when exchanging currencies.

Time Zone & Local Holidays

Time Greece: GMT +2

National celebrations and Holidays 

-New Years Day: 1st of January
-Epiphany: 6th of January. Sea water is consecrated in the area of Piraeus. The priests throw the Cross into the sea and young men dive to catch it.
-Ash Monday: 41 days before Easter. It is the day people begin the Lent. On Ash Monday Greeks fly kites, eat meatless food and celebrate Koulouma. Athenians gather on Philopappou Hill.
-Independence Day & Celebration of Evaggelismos: 25th of March. Military parade.
-Easter: From Holy Friday until Easter Monday. On Holy Friday evening every church decorates the Epitaph (Bier of Christ). During the procession of the Epitaph the streets of every city or village in the country are full of people. It is a religious procession where everybody holds lit candles in their hands and sings hymns.
-Night of the Resurrection: It is celebrated in midnight before Easter Sunday with fireworks and candles.
-Easter Sunday: On Easter Sunday Greeks eat barbecue lamb. The celebrations include singing and dancing all day long.
-Labor Day: 1st of May. Flower feasts all around Athens.
-Pentecost: It is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
-Assumption of the Virgin Mary: 15th of August.
-28th of October: National Celebration. Military parade.
-Christmas: 25th-26th of December.

Health & Safety

In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from member states of the European Union (EU) wishing to visit Greece must be holders of the European Health Card (EHIC) or any other legal Community document issued by their competent social security agency.

In these cases, the necessary treatment in Greece is provided by:

-Social Security Institute Health Units (polyclinics) or doctor’s offices in the region; 
-Regional clinics (former rural clinics) or the Health Centres of the National Health System; and
-the outpatients’ departments of the hospitals on contract
In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from countries other than the member states of the European Union wishing to visit Greece must consult their social security agency for information before travelling.

In case of emergency call:

-Ambulance Service: 166
-SOS Doctors : 1016
-Duty Hospitals and Clinics: 1434
-Pharmacies: 1434
-Open Line for alcohol drug Addiction: 210 36 17 089
-Poisoning First Aid: 210 77 93 777
-Police: 100
-Tourist Police: 1571

Capital

Athens is the historic capital of Europe as it has been inhabited since the Neolithic Era. Through the course of its long, fascinating history, it reached its zenith in the 5th century B.C. (the "Golden Age of Pericles"), a period when its values and its culture crossed the geographical borders of the city and spread worldwide. Political thinking, theater, arts, philosophy, science, architecture and so many other human intellectualities reached their zenith in a unique time coincidence and spiritual completion.

Hence, Athens became the core of western civilization, while many Greek words and understandings such as democracy, harmony, music, mathematics, art, gastronomy, architecture, logic, Eros, euphoria and many more, enriched various languages and inspired different civilizations.

During centuries Athens came across many conquerors, which left their mark on monuments of outstanding prestige and charm creating rare historic palimpsest.

Due to its historic past Athens was declared the capital of the newly-established Greek state in 1834. In the two centuries that followed, it has developed to a modern metropolitan center of incomparable charm and great interest.

Nowadays, visiting Athens is a unique experience. It is a “journey” to a 6.000 years history. 

A "baptism" or initiation to all great monuments and art masterpieces, from the ancient times up to the medieval period, as well as to the architectural heritage of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is the feeling of “warmth” and spiritual uplift that the bright sunlight of Attica sky offers. The beauty of the area’s natural landscape (“lacy” coastlines, beaches and mountains). The pleasure of seeing the city’s modern structure and the vividness of its inhabitants.

Athens is one of the most beautiful and charming capitals in Europe that fascinates its visitors all year long.

Climate - Weather

Greece has a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and a limited amount of rainfall. 

Due to the country's geographical position, its rugged relief and its distribution between the mainland and the sea, there is great variation in Greece's climate. 

In summer, the dry hot days are cooled by seasonal winds called the meltemi, while mountainous regions have generally lower temperatures.

The winters are mild in lowland areas, with a minimum amount of snow and ice, yet, mountains are usually snow-covered. Moreover, a common phenomenon is the occurrence of different climactic conditions during the same season (for instance, mild heat in coastal areas and cool temperatures in mountainous regions).

 

Information Courtesy Of Greek Tourism

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