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Flag of Greece

Country Profile

Capital City: Athens Greater Athens (pop. 3,566,000)

Other Cities: Thessaloniki (750,000)
Municipality of Thessaloniki
Piraeus (880,529)
The Piraeus Prefecture (in Greek)
Patras (170,000), Larissa (113,000), Iraklion (132,000).

Local Time: UTC +2h


Location: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey.
Area: 132,000 sq. km. (51,146 sq. mi.).
Terrain: Mountainous interior with coastal plains; 1,400-plus islands.

Border countries
: Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Macedonia

Climate: Mediterranean; mild, wet winter and hot, dry summer.

Type: Parliamentary republic.
Independence: 1830.
Constitution: 11. June 1975, amended March 1986, April 2001.

Population: 11,018,000 million.
Languages: Greek 99% (official); Turkish (Northern Greece), English.
Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other .7%.
Literacy: 95%.


Currency: Euro (EUR)

Natural resources: Bauxite, lignite, magnesite, oil, marble; Agriculture Products.

Agriculture products:
Wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; beef, dairy products.

Industries: Tourism; food and tobacco processing, textiles; chemicals, metal products; mining, petroleum.

Exports partners:
Germany 12.6%, Italy 10.5%, UK 7%, USA 6.5%, Bulgaria 6.2%, Cyprus 4.8%, France 4.2%, Turkey 4% (2003)

Imports partners: Germany 12.5%, Italy 12.2%, France 6.6%, Russia 6.1%, South Korea 5.4%, USA 5.2%, Netherlands 5.2%, Japan 4.3%, UK 4.2% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Greece

The Prime Minister's Office

Hellenic Parliament

Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of Greece to the United Nations

Embassy of Greece in the U.S.

Greek Diplomatic and Consular Missions

Foreign Missions in Greece

The National Statistical Service of Greece

Map of Greece



Background:  Greece achieved its independence from the Ottoman Empire in
1829. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of
the 20th century, it gradually added neighboring islands and territories
with Greek-speaking populations. Following the defeat of Communist
rebels in 1949, Greece joined NATO in 1952. A military dictatorship,
which in 1967 suspended many political liberties and forced the king to
flee the country, lasted seven years. Democratic elections in 1974 and a
referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy;
Greece joined the European Community or EC in 1981 (which became the EU
in 1992).

Geography Greece

Location:  Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and
the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey

Geographic coordinates:  39 00 N, 22 00 E

Map references:  Europe

Area:  total: 131,940 sq km water: 1,140 sq km land: 130,800 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than Alabama

Land boundaries:  total: 1,228 km border countries: Albania 282 km,
Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 206 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
246 km

Coastline:  13,676 km

Maritime claims:  continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of
exploitation territorial sea: 6 NM

Climate:  temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain:  mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as
peninsulas or chains of islands

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m highest point:
Mount Olympus 2,917 m

Natural resources:  bauxite, lignite, magnesite, petroleum, marble,
hydropower potential

Land use:  arable land: 22% permanent crops: 9% other: 69% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  14,220 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  severe earthquakes

Environment - current issues:  air pollution; water pollution

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Air Pollution,
Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94,
Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources,
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species,
Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine
Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,
Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified:
Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile
Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Geography - note:  strategic location dominating the Aegean Sea and
southern approach to Turkish Straits; a peninsular country, possessing
an archipelago of about 2,000 islands

People Greece

Population:  10,645,343 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 14.8% (male 814,605; female 765,613) 15-64
years: 67.1% (male 3,579,945; female 3,564,068) 65 years and over: 18.1%
(male 851,087; female 1,070,025) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.2% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  9.82 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  9.79 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  1.96 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.06
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.8
male(s)/female total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  6.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   81.48 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  1.34 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.16% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  8,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  less than 100 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Greek(s) adjective: Greek

Ethnic groups:  Greek 98%, other 2% note: the Greek Government states
there are no ethnic divisions in Greece

Religions:  Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%

Languages:  Greek 99% (official), English, French

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 97% male: 98.5% female: 96% (1999)

Government Greece

Country name:  conventional long form: Hellenic Republic conventional
short form: Greece local short form: Ellas or Ellada former: Kingdom of
Greece local long form: Elliniki Dhimokratia

Government type:  parliamentary republic; monarchy rejected by referendum
8 December 1974

Capital:  Athens

Administrative divisions:  51 prefectures (nomoi, singular - nomos)and
1 autonomous region*; Agion Oros* (Mt.  Athos), Achaia, Aitolia kai
Akarmania, Argolis, Arkadia, Arta, Attiki, Chalkidiki, Chanion, Chios,
Dodekanisos, Drama, Evros, Evrytania, Evvoia, Florina, Fokidos, Fthiotis,
Grevena, Ileia, Imathia, Ioannina, Irakleion, Karditsa, Kastoria, Kavala,
Kefallinia, Kerkyra, Kilkis, Korinthia, Kozani, Kyklades, Lakonia,
Larisa, Lasithi, Lefkas, Lesvos, Magnisia, Messinia, Pella, Pieria,
Preveza, Rethynnis, Rodopi, Samos, Serrai, Thesprotia, Thessaloniki,
Trikala, Voiotia, Xanthi, Zakynthos

Independence:  1829 (from the Ottoman Empire)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 25 March (1821)

Constitution:  11 June 1975; amended March 1986 and April 2001

Legal system:  based on codified Roman law; judiciary divided into civil,
criminal, and administrative courts

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Konstandinos (Kostis)
STEPHANOPOULOS (since 10 March 1995) elections: president elected by
Parliament for a five-year term; election last held 8 February 2000
(next to be held by NA February 2005); prime minister appointed by the
president head of government:  Cabinet appointed by the president on
the recommendation of the prime minister election results: Konstandinos
STEPHANOPOULOS reelected president; percent of Parliament vote - 90%

Legislative branch:  unicameral Parliament or Vouli ton Ellinon (300
seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year
terms) elections:  election results: percent of vote by party - PASOK
43.8%, ND 42.7%, KKE 5.5%, Coalition of the Left and Progress 3.2%;
seats by party - PASOK 158, ND 125, KKE 11, Coalition of the Left and
Progress 6; note - seats by party as of January 2002 - PASOK 156, ND 122,
KKE 11, Coalition of the Left and Progress 6, independents 5

Judicial branch:  Supreme Judicial Court; Special Supreme Tribunal;
all judges appointed for life by the president after consultation with
a judicial council

Political parties and leaders:  Coalition of the Left and Progress
(Synaspismos) [Nikolaos KONSTANDOPOULOS]; Communist Party of Greece or
KKE [Aleka PAPARIGA]; New Democracy or ND (conservative) [Konstandinos
KARAMANLIS]; Panhellenic Socialist Movement or PASOK [Konstandinos

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  Australia Group, BIS, BSEC,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Alexandros PHILON; note - expected to be replaced by Yeorgios SAVVAIDHIS
in 2002 consulate(s): Atlanta, Houston, and New Orleans consulate(s)
general: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 939-5824 telephone: [1] (202) 939-5800 chancery: 2221
Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Thomas J. MILLER embassy: 91 Vassilissis Sophias Boulevard, GR-10160
Athens mailing address: PSC 108, APO AE 09842-0108 telephone: [30]
(10) 721-2951 FAX: [30] (10) 645-6282 consulate(s) general: Thessaloniki

Flag description:  nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with
white; there is a blue square in the upper hoist-side corner bearing
a white cross; the cross symbolizes Greek Orthodoxy, the established
religion of the country

Economy Greece

Economy - overview:  Greece has a mixed capitalist economy with the public
sector accounting for about half of GDP. Tourism is a key industry,
providing a large portion of GDP and foreign exchange earnings. Greece
is a major beneficiary of EU aid, equal to about 3.3% of GDP. The economy
has improved steadily over the last few years, as the government tightened
policy in the run-up to Greece's entry into the EU's Economic and Monetary
Union (EMU) on 1 January 2001. Major challenges remaining include the
reduction of unemployment and further restructuring of the economy,
including privatizing several state enterprises, undertaking social
security reforms, overhauling the tax system, and minimizing bureaucratic
inefficiencies. Economic growth is forecast at 3%-3.5% in 2002.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $189.7 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  3.7% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $17,900 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 8.3% industry: 27.3% services:
64.4% (1998)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 25.3% (1993 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  32.7 (1993)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  3.4% (2001)

Labor force:  4.32 million (1999 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  industry 21%, agriculture 20%, services 59%
(2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:  11% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $45 billion expenditures: $47.6 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

Industries:  tourism; food and tobacco processing, textiles; chemicals,
metal products; mining, petroleum

Industrial production growth rate:  7% (2000 est.)

Electricity - production:  49.581 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 91.53% hydro: 6.6%
other: 1.87% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  46.099 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  1.74 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  1.729 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives,
tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; beef, dairy products

Exports:  $12.5 billion (f.o.b., 2001)

Exports - commodities:  food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum
products, chemicals, textiles

Exports - partners:  EU 44% (Germany 12%, Italy 9%, UK 6%), US 5% (2000)

Imports:  $30.3 billion (f.o.b., 2001)

Imports - commodities:  machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals

Imports - partners:  EU 59% (Germany 13%, Italy 13%, France 7%,
Netherlands 6%, UK 5%), US 3% (2000)

Debt - external:  $57 billion (2000 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $5.4 billion from EU (1997 est.)

Currency:  euro (EUR); drachma (GRD) note: on 1 January 1999, the
European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be
used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002,
the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the
member countries

Currency code:  EUR; GRD

Exchange rates:  euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175
(2001); drachmae per US dollar - 380.21 (December 2000), 365.40 (2000),
305.65 (1999), 295.53 (1998), 273.06 (1997) note: in January 2001,
the drachma became a participating currency within the Eurosystem,
and the euro market rate became applicable to all transactions

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Greece

Telephones - main lines in use:  5.431 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  937,700 (1997)

Telephone system:  general assessment: adequate, modern networks reach
all areas; good mobile telephone and international service domestic:
microwave radio relay trunk system; extensive open wire connections;
submarine cable to offshore islands international: tropospheric scatter; 8
submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean
and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 26, FM 88, shortwave 4 (1998)

Radios:  5.02 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  36 (plus 1,341 low-power repeaters); also
two stations in the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (1995)

Televisions:  2.54 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .gr

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  27 (2000)

Internet users:  1.33 million (1999)

Transportation Greece

Railways:  total: 2,571 km standard gauge: 1,565 km 1.435-m gauge (36
km electrified) narrow gauge: 961 km 1.000-m gauge; 22 km 0.750-m gauge
(a rack-type railway for steep grades) dual gauge: 23 km combined 1.435-m
and 1.000-m gauges (three rail system) (2001 est.)

Highways:  total: 117,000 km paved: 107,406 km (including 470 km of
expressways) unpaved: 9,594 km (1996)

Waterways:  80 km note: system consists of three coastal canals including
the Corinth Canal (6 km) which crosses the Isthmus of Corinth connecting
the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf and shortens the sea voyage
from the Adriatic to Peiraiefs (Piraeus) by 325 km; there are also three
unconnected rivers

Pipelines:  crude oil 26 km; petroleum products 547 km

Ports and harbors:  Alexandroupolis, Elefsis, Irakleion (Crete), Kavala,
Kerkyra, Chalkis, Igoumenitsa, Lavrion, Patrai, Peiraiefs (Piraeus),
Thessaloniki, Volos

Merchant marine:  total: 802 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 27,998,523
GRT/49,458,125 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here
as a flag of convenience: Ireland 1, Japan 1, Liberia 1, Norway 1, Panama
2, Russia 1, Saudi Arabia 1, United Kingdom 1 (2002 est.)  ships by type:
bulk 294, cargo 54, chemical tanker 25, combination bulk 7, combination
ore/oil 5, container 45, liquefied gas 7, multi-functional large-load
carrier 1, passenger 13, petroleum tanker 265, refrigerated cargo 3,
roll on/roll off 23, short-sea passenger 54, specialized tanker 4,
vehicle carrier 2

Airports:  79 (note - new Athens airport at Spafa opened in March 2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 65 over 3,047 m: 6 2,438 to 3,047
m: 15 914 to 1,523 m: 16 under 914 m: 9 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 19

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 14 914 to 1,523 m: 4 under 914 m:
10 (2001)

Heliports:  4 (2001)

Military Greece

Military branches:  Hellenic Army, Hellenic Navy, Hellenic Air Force,
Police, National Guard

Military manpower - military age:  21 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 2,668,872 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 2,034,192
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 77,976
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $6.12 billion (FY99/00 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  4.91% (FY99/00 est.)

Transnational Issues Greece

Disputes - international:  Greece and Turkey have resumed discussions to
resolve their complex maritime, air, territorial, and boundary disputes
in the Aegean Sea; Cyprus question with Turkey; dispute with The Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over its name

Illicit drugs:  a gateway to Europe for traffickers smuggling cannabis
and heroin from the Middle East and Southwest Asia to the West and
precursor chemicals to the East; some South American cocaine transits
or is consumed in Greece

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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