Greece


Greece flagGreece is a country in southern Europe. It has many mountains and hundreds of small islands. Albania, Macedonia, and Bulgaria lie to the north, with Turkey and the Aegean Sea on the east. The Mediterranean Sea is on the south and west. Athens, the capital and largest city of Greece, lies in southern Greece near the sea.

Greece is famous for its ancient history. Many of our ideas about art, government, and science came from the early Greeks.

Today, millions of people visit Greece each year. Many come to see the ruins of buildings and statues that are thousands of years old. Others come to enjoy the countryside, the food, and the music of Greece.

Land

Mountains rise through much of the country. Olympus, Greece’s highest peak, rises 9,570 feet (2,917 meters) near central Greece. Most of the country’s good farmland is found in the valleys of northern Greece.

Athens and many other important cities and places of interest lie along the coast. The Peloponnesus is an area almost cut off from mainland Greece by the Gulf of Corinth.

The Ionian Islands are in the Ionian Sea. The Aegean Islands are in the Aegean Sea. Crete, the largest Greek island, lies in the Mediterranean Sea.

People

Greece peopleGreece has about 11 million people. Most people live along the coast or in the flat areas of the country. Few people live in the mountains or on the Aegean islands.

The nation is mainly made up of Greeks whose relatives lived here long ago. Most people speak Greek. A very small group of Turks also live in Greece.

More than half of Greece’s people live in cities and towns. Most Greek cities have both old and modern neighborhoods. The old sections have low buildings, narrow streets, and few sidewalks. The modern sections usually have tall apartment buildings, wide streets, and busy shopping areas.

Some Greek cities are very crowded today. Pollution from cars and factories is a problem in these areas. In Athens, air pollution has damaged the city’s ancient ruins.

Resources and products

More than half of Greece’s workers are in service industries. People in service industries work in such places as schools, hospitals, banks, hotels, and restaurants, and in government jobs.

Industry in Greece includes many factories in Athens and Thessaloniki. Shipping is also important.

Most farms in Greece are small. Wheat is the nation’s main crop. Many grapes, olives, and other crops are grown too. Greece is one of the world’s biggest producers of olives and raisins. Greek farmers also raise sheep, goats, and other animals.

Tourism is important in Greece. Hotels, restaurants, and other businesses depend on visitors. Most people visit Athens, where the famous Acropolis stands on a rocky hilltop. This ancient site includes the still-beautiful ruins of an ancient temple called the Parthenon.

History

Greece mapThe written records of the history of Greece go back about 5,000 years. The early Greeks achieved great things in government, art, and science.Their way of life, their fine arts, and their ideas influenced people all over the world.

The ancient Greeks lived in areas called city-states. The ancient Greek way of life reached its height in the city-state of Athens during the mid-400′s B.C. In 338 B.C., the city-states of Greece were conquered by the kingdom of Macedonia. In 146 B.C., the Roman Empire took control of Macedonia and Greece. Greece remained part of larger empires until 1829, when it won its independence from the Ottoman Empire.

In the 1900′s, Greece had many problems. These problems were partly caused by bad government. The king, elected officials, and military leaders all struggled to gain control at different times. These conflicts ended in 1974. Since then, the people have been able to elect their government.

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