Greece (in Greek, Hellas), officially known as the Hellenic Republic (Ellinikí Dimokratía), country in south-eastern Europe, occupying the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula and numerous islands. It is bordered on the north-west by Albania, on the north by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Bulgaria, on the north-east by Turkey, on the east by the Aegean Sea, on the south by the Mediterranean Sea, and on the west by the Ionian Sea. The total area is 131,957 sq km (50,949 sq mi), of which about one fifth is composed of islands in the Aegean and Ionian seas. Athens is the capital and largest city. Greece population : 11 120 000. Capital : Athens. Government : Hellenic Republic
The mainland portion of Greece comprises the regions of Thrace and Macedonia in the north; Epirus, Thessaly (Thessalía), and Central Greece in the central section; and, in the south, Pelopónnisos, the Peloponnese Peninsula, which is connected to the rest of the mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth. The Corinth Canal, completed in 1893, passes through the Isthmus of Corinth, making an artificial island of the Pelopónnisos region. The remainder of Greece consists of islands, including Euboea (Évvoia); Crete (Kríti); the Northern Sporades; the Cyclades, Dodecanese, and Ionian islands; and Ikaría (Icaria), Khíos (Chios), Límnos (Lemnos), Lésvos (Lesbos), Sámos (Samos), Samothráki (Samothrace), and Thásos.
The coastal waters of Greece are shallow and penetrate far inland. The Corinthian and Saronic gulfs, separated by the Isthmus of Corinth, divide the Peloponnese Peninsula from central and northern Greece. The country, despite its indented coasts, has few good harbours. The Saronic Gulf has the best anchorages, notably in the fine natural harbour of Pireás (Piraeus), which is the port of Athens. Corfu, one of the Ionian Islands, also has an excellent harbour. © "Greece" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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