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                       Heraklion                                                             Santorini                                                                Naxos                         

Greece, which is historically known as the Hellenic Republic, is a country in southeastern Europe.  Greece is
situated on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula.  The country borders with Albania, the Republic of
 Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the east.  The Aegean Sea lies to the east and south
 of mainland Greece, and the Ionian Sea to the west.  Amazingly, there are 1,400 Islands surrounding
 Greece, of which 227 are inhabited.


Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of ancient Greece, generally considered to be the cradle of
Western civilization. As such, it is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games,
Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles,
and Western
drama, including both tragedy and comedy.


Greece is a developed country, a member of the European Union since 1981, a member of the Economic and
Monetary Union of the European Union
since 2001, NATO since 1952, the OECD since 1961, the WEU since
1995, a founding member of the
Black Sea Economic Cooperation and a member of ESA since 2005.  Athens
is the capital;
Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Larissa, Volos, Ioannina, Kavala, Rhodes and Serres are
some of the country's other major cities.

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