Greece – November 2nd, 2008
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in southeastern Europe, situated on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. It lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia and Africa. Greece has borders with Albania, Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the north, and Turkey to the east.
Athens, visible in the center of the close-up to the right, is the capital and largest city of Greece.
In the main image, we can see the Aegean Sea to the east and south of mainland Greece, and the Ionian Sea to the west (the “heel” of Italy is visible on the left). Both parts of the Eastern Mediterranean basin feature a vast number of islands.
Greece consists of a mountainous peninsula mainland jutting out into the sea at the southern end of the Balkans, the Peloponnesus peninsula (separated from the mainland by the canal of the Isthmus of Corinth), and numerous islands (1400, 227 of which are inhabited), including Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, Chios, the Dodecanese and the Cycladic groups of the Aegean Sea as well as the Ionian Sea islands. The islands of the Aegean are peaks of underwater mountains that once constituted an extension of the mainland.
Greece has the tenth longest coastline in the world with 14,880 km (9,246 mi); its land boundary is 1,160 km (721 mi).
Four fifths of Greece consist of mountains or hills, making the country one of the most mountainous in Europe. Western Greece contains a number of lakes and wetlands and it is dominated by the Pindus mountain range. Pindus has a maximum elevation of 2,636 m (8,648 ft) and it is essentially a prolongation of the Dinaric Alps.
The range continues through the western Peloponnese, crosses the islands of Kythera and Antikythera and find its way into southwestern Aegean, in the island of Crete where it eventually ends.
Mount Olympus, a focal point of Greek culture throughout history is host to the Mytikas peak 2,917 m (9,570 ft), the highest in the country. In the image detail to the right we can see Mount Olympus near the center, as well as flatter lands around Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, to the North.
Northeastern Greece features yet another high-altitude mountain range, the Rhodope range, spreading across the periphery of East Macedonia and Thrace; this area is covered with vast, thick, ancient forests. The famous Dadia forest is in the prefecture of Evros, in the far northeast of the country.
Expansive plains are primarily located in the prefectures of Thessaly, Central Macedonia and Thrace. They constitute key economic regions as they are among the few arable places in the country.