Country File

Understand the basics of Greece at a glance...

The total area of Greece is 131,957 Km2, eighty percent of which consists of mountains or hills, making Greece one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. The country consists of three main geographic areas: a peninsular mainland, the Peloponnese peninsula, and around 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which only 227 are inhabited. The islands are an integral part of the country's culture and tradition, and the Aegean Sea, while over-fished, is the least polluted sea in Europe.

The population of Greece is 10,760,136 (2011 figures). Athens, its capital, has a population of 3,165,823. Three other major cities are Thessaloniki (786,212), Patras (222,462) and Heraklion (202,426) in Crete.

Greek is the oldest European language, and has been spoken for at least 4,000 years. The modern Greek language is a southern Greek dialect that combines ancient vocabulary with Greek regional dialects, namely Cretan, Cypriot and Macedonian.

About 97 percent of Greeks belong to the Greek Orthodox Church. The rest of the population is divided between Roman Catholic, Protestant, Evangelist, Jewish and Muslim.