World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Europe

Greece Travelling Guide
Greece Travelling Guide

General 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).

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than Alabama

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

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

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

Ethnic groups: Greek 98%, other 2%

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

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

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

Capital: Athens

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

Economic 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.

Communication/Telephone system: Adequate, modern networks reach all areas; good mobile telephone and international service.

Places of interest: Hot sun and limpid seas conspire to make Greece a compelling place to relax.

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