Facts about Greece

greek flag

Greece : Name of the country: Hellas – Republic of Greece (Elliniki Dimokratia) (in Greek Ellas, Ellada)
People: Ellines (Hellenes – Greeks) Women: Ellenides Men: Ellines
Size: 131.940 sq. km (land 99%, sea 1%)
Coastline: 13,676 km
Population: just under 11000000 (46% men, 54% women)
Language: Greek (Ellinika)
Coordinates: 39 00N 22 00E
Borders to: Albania, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey
Highest mountain: Mt Olympus, 2917 m
Capital: Athens
Natural resources: petroleum, marble, hydro power, magnetite, lignite, bauxite (and gold)
Natural hazards: earthquakes
Currency: EURO €

Government:The President of the Republic is hierarchically at the top of the executive, he is involved in the law by issuing and publishing the laws and the possibility of returning to the House of a passed bill or a draft law, while he is defined by the Constitution as regulator of the government.Executive power is exercised by the Government, whose head is the Prime Minister, the strongest person in the Greek political system. The Government defines and guides the general policy of the country, implements the policy that Parliament adopts through legislative acts, but at the same time takes part in the legislative process through the drafting and promotion of draft laws (legislative initiative). The Government, on the basis of the stated principle, has to enjoy the confidence of the House, to have received a vote of confidence from the majority of MPs. In the context of modern party democracy, the government also dominates in the legislative function, as it comes from the Party that controls the majority of Parliament, thus making the passage of laws a typically formal process. Because of the frequent and abusive invocation of party discipline, the possibility of a government member’s disagreement with the government he supports is considered a rare phenomenon. In exceptional cases the
Government may propose to the President of the Republic the adoption of Acts of Legislative Content, which have the force of law and must be approved in principle within 40 days by the House.


The Greek Armed Forces consist of the Land Forces, the Navy and the Air Force. Military service in Greece is compulsory and concerns Greek male citizens and has a duration of 24 months, which is usually limited by a decision of the Minister of National Defence. Thus, by 2009, Greece had a mandatory 12-month mandate for all men over the age of 18. Even though women’s requests for service are accepted, their commitment is not mandatory. In February 2009 the Minister of Defence announced that from 2010 that those responsible for military service will be classified only in the Army and for a term of 9 months, which means that the Navy and the Air Force will be staffed exclusively by professional soldiers.Finally, as of 14 August 2009, the military service was 9 months, and there were similar reductions in the length of time for those serving a reduced term. Also, there is a full Navy and Aviation manning plan only by professionals by 2012.


National Health System: The Greek NHS (ESY) is free and covers all Greeks and EU citizens. Non-EU citizens can obtain services only in cases of emergency. Private doctors and surgeries however are not expensive in Greece, particularly dentists and General Practitioners. A visit will cost you around 50 euro. Some medicines, such as antibiotics do not require prescriptions in Greece.Smoking: Smoking is totally banned in public places as is the case in many other European countries. Smoking is not allowed in hospitals, buses, trams, trolleys, the metro, ferries, airports, and all public buildings. You can smoke only in restaurants, cafes and bars that have an open air space.
Employment: All EU citizens are able to work or carry out their businesses in Greece. Other laws apply to non-EU citizens

Passports and Visas: Greece belongs to the European Union and is part of the Segen countries. All EU citizens can enter Greece with or without passports but must show their EU Identity Cards. Non-EU citizens need passports and some nationalities will require to obtain a visa. This includes travellers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, and other countries.



The climate of Greece is typically Mediterranean. Summers are long, hot, and dry. The average temperature in July is 26.7¡ C (80¡ F), in Athens, the capital, but is much lower in the mountains. Winters are mild; the average January temperature is 9.2¡ C (48.5¡ F). Winter temperatures are also much lower in the interior; in mountain valleys averages are close to freezing, and prolonged frosts may occur. Snow is not uncommon away from the coasts. Precipitation varies greatly. In Athens it averages 394 mm (16 in) annually, but it is much higher away from the east coast and rises to more than 1,200 mm (47 in) in the higher mountains. In all parts of the country rainfall is seasonal, most of it coming in late fall and winter. Only in Macedonia and Thrace is there a significant summer rainfall; almost no rain falls in the rest of the country.


Few rivers exist in peninsular Greece; all are small, and most dry up in the summer. Only those rivers which rise farther north in the Balkan Peninsula and flow through northern Greece to the sea, the Vardar and Struma, for example have any significant summer discharge. The small size and seasonal character of most rivers is the primary reason for the limited use of irrigation. Of the several lakes within the mountains, many of them in northern Greece, most occupy basins that were formed by the dissolution of limestone.


Naturally occurring vegetation is adapted to the climate and consists largely of xerophyta, which are plants that are able to withstand the summer drought by the storage of water. Spring is the primary growing season, and flowering plants make a brilliant show during this time, before withering under the summer heat. The mountains are mostly clothed with a relatively dense scrub brush (called maquis). Evergreen forests may once have covered much of the land but have been largely destroyed in southern Greece. Extensive forest is found only in the mountains of northwestern Greece, where large stands of fir occur. About 19% of the total area is forested.


Greece is poorly endowed with minerals and fuel. Although some lignite (a soft coal) is produced, no economically significant coal deposits exist. Oil has been found in northwestern Greece and on the floor of the Aegean Sea. The Pinos oil field, off the island of Thasos, has been producing petroleum since 1981. Reserves of hydroelectric power are slight because of the small size and seasonal flow of most rivers. Iron ore and bauxite are the most important mineral resources; bauxite is quarried to the north of the Gulf of Corinth, and most of it is exported. Small amounts of pyrites (used in making sulfuric acid), lead, zinc, magnesite, manganese, chrome, and silver are also mined. In most cases the ore is exported for smelting elsewhere.