Geography of Greece

Greece is a country in Southern Europe,[1] bordered to the north by Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria; to the east by Turkey, and is surrounded to the east by the Aegean Sea, to the south by the Cretan and the Libyan Seas, and to the west by the Ionian Sea which separates Greece from Italy.

The country consists of a mountainous, peninsular mainland jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea at the southernmost tip of the Balkans, and two smaller peninsulas projecting from it: the Chalkidiki and the Peloponnese, which is joined to the mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth. Greece also has many islands, of various sizes, the largest being Crete, Euboea, Lesvos, Rhodes, Chios, Kefalonia, and Corfu; groups of smaller islands include the Dodecanese and the Cyclades. According to the CIA World Factbook, Greece has 13,676 kilometres (8,498 mi) of coastline, the largest in the Mediterranean Basin.[2]

Greece's latitude ranges from 35°N to 42°N and its longitude from 19°E to 28°E. As a result of this and its physical geography, the country has considerable climatic variation.

Greece topo
A geographical map of Greece and its offshore territories

Physical geography

Greece is located in Southern Europe, bordering the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey. It is a peninsular country, with an archipelago of about 3,000 islands.

It has a total area of 131,957 km2 (50,949 sq mi),[3] of which land area is 130,647 km2 and internal waters (lakes and rivers) account for 1,310 km2. Land boundaries with Albania (212 km), North Macedonia (234 km), Bulgaria (472 km) and Turkey (192 km) measure approximately 1,110 km in total. Of the country's total territory, 83.33% or 110,496 km2 (42,663 sq mi) is mainland territory and the rest 16.67% or 21,461 km2 (8,286 sq mi) is island territory.[4]

Greece's coastline measures 13,676 km (8,498 mi).

80% of Greece is mountainous. The Pindus mountain range lies across the center of the country in a northwest-to-southeast direction, with a maximum elevation of 2,637 m. Extensions of the same mountain range stretch across the Peloponnese and underwater across the Aegean, forming many of the Aegean Islands including Crete, and joining with the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey. Central and western Greece contain high and steep peaks intersected by many canyons and other karstic landscapes, including the Meteora and the Vikos Gorges – the latter being the world's deepest canyon in proportion to its width, and the third deepest after the Copper Canyon in Mexico and the Grand Canyon in the United States, plunging vertically for more than 1,100 metres.[5]

Mount Olympus is the highest point in Greece, the 7th highest and the 9th most prominent mountain in mainland Europe (together with Gerlachovský štít and including Großglockner as a separate mountain),[6] rising to 2,917 m above sea level. The Rhodope Mountains form the border between Greece and Bulgaria; that area is covered with vast and thick forests.

Greece's lowest point is sea level.[7]

Plains are found in eastern Thessaly, in central Macedonia and in Thrace.

Extremities of Greece

The extreme points of Greece are [8]

  • North: Ormenio village (41°45′41″ N, 26°13′15″ E)
  • South: Gavdos island (34°48′11″ N, 24°07′25″ E)
  • East: Strongyli island (36°06′17″ N, 29°38′39″ E)
  • West: Othonoi island (39°51′11″ N, 19°22′41″ E)
Regions of Greece
Cities and islands of Greece
GreeceOMC
Greece's cities, main towns, main rivers, islands and selected archaeological sites.

Mainland

Mainland Greece forms the southernmost part of the Balkan peninsula with two additional smaller peninsulas projecting from it: the Chalkidiki and the Peloponnese. The north of the country includes the regions of Macedonia and Thrace. To the south the mainland narrows and includes the regions of Epirus, Thessaly and Central Greece, where the region of Attica and the capital city Athens are located. Further south, the smaller peninsula of Peloponnese is separated from the rest of the Greek mainland by the Corinthian and Saronic Gulfs, but joined by the Isthmus of Corinth.

Mainland Greece covers about 80% of the total territory and is largely mountainous. The largest mountain range of Greece is the Pindus range, the southern extension of the Dinaric Alps, which forms the spine of the Greek mainland, separating Epirus from Thessaly and Macedonia. The country's tallest mountain is Mount Olympus, which also separates Thessaly from Macedonia. Its highest peak rises to 2,918 m above sea level, making it the second highest of the Balkan peninsula after Musala in the Rila Mountain.

the number of islands vary between 1,200 and 6,000.[9] A figure frequently cited in travel guides is 1,425 islands, of which 166 are said to be inhabited.[10] The Greek Tourism Organization reports a figure of 6,000, with 227 of them inhabited.[11] Paris Match, however, raises this number to 9,841 islands, of which only 169 have a recorded continuous human presence. [12]

The Greek islands account for about 20% of the country's total territory,[13] and vary greatly in size as well as in climate. The country's largest island is Crete, with Euboea being second largest. Other large Greek islands include Rhodes and Lesbos in the Aegean Sea, and Corfu and Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea. Many of the smaller Greek islands form groups or chains, often called archipelagos, with notable examples being the Cyclades and the Sporades in the south and central Aegean Sea respectively.

Aegean

The islands of the Aegean Sea are situated between mainland Greece to the west and north, Anatolia to the east and the island of Crete to the south. Traditionally, the islands are classified into seven groups, from north to south:


Geographical features

Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands are a group of seven islands. The six northern islands lie off the western coast of Greece, in the Ionian Sea. The other island, Kythira, lies off the southern tip of the Peloponnese. Kythira is part of the modern administrative region of Attica, not the Ionian Islands (Ionioi Nisoi). The Ionian Islands are distinct from the historical region of Ionia, which is today part of western Turkey.

Crete

Island of Crete, Greece
NASA photograph of Crete

Crete is the largest island of Greece and the second largest in the Eastern Mediterranean, after Cyprus. The island spans 260 km from east to west and 60 km from north to south at its widest. The island narrows in the region close to Ierapetra, where it is only 12 km wide. Crete covers an area of 8,336 km2 (3,219 sq mi), with a coastline of 1046 km. It is surrounded to the north by the Sea of Crete; to the south by the Libyan Sea; to the west by the Myrtoan Sea; and to the east by the Karpathion Sea. It lies about 160 km south of the Greek mainland.

Crete is characterized by a mountain range crossing from west to east, formed by three different subranges:

These encompass fertile plateaus, such as Lasithi, Omalos and Nidha; caves such as Diktaion and Idaion; and gorges such as the Samariá Gorge. The protected area of the Samariá Gorge is the home of the Cretan goat, or kri-kri, while the endangered Bearded vulture or lammergeyer lives in the Cretan mountains and gorges.

Crete's rivers include the Ieropotamos River in the southern part of the island.

Land use

  • Arable land: 19.71%
  • Permanent crops: 8.95%
  • Other: 71.37% (2012 est.)

Irrigated land: 15,550 km2 (2007)

Environment

Map of earthquakes in Greece 1900-2017
Map of earthquakes in Greece and adjacent countries 1900-2017

Greece is a mostly mountainous country with a very long coastline, filled with peninsulas and islands.

The climate can range from semi-desert to cold climate mountain forests.

Greece's natural hazards include severe earthquakes, floods, droughts and wildfires. Current environmental issues include air pollution and water pollution.

Gallery

010607-0930-17 - Nea Kameni - Krater

Volcanic crater, Santorini

Pilion with monastery pau

Mount Pelion

Kanal von Potidea

Potidea Kanal, Chalkidiki

Manganari2

Manganari beach, Ios (island)

Stymfalia-north 2006

Landscape of Stymfalia with Mount Kyllini

Vai R05

Palm beach of Vai (Crete)

See also

References

  1. ^ "UNITED NATIONS GROUP OF EXPERTS ON GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES: Working Paper No. 48" (PDF). UN. 2006. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  2. ^ "The World Fact Book – Field Listing :: Coastline". CIA. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
  3. ^ National me="CIA">CIA World Fact Book, [1]
  4. ^ Artificial Structures and Shorelines
  5. ^ Guinness World Records 2005: Special 50th Anniversary Edition
  6. ^ Schmitt A(1983)Nouvelles contributions à l'étude géologique des Pieria, de l'Olympe, et de l'Ossa (Grèce du Nord)[Ph.D. dissert.]. Mons, Belgium, Faculté Polytechnique de Mons
  7. ^ CIA. "Europe::Greece". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Statistical Yearbook of Greece 2009 & 2010" (PDF). Hellenic Statistical Authority. p. 27. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-13.
  9. ^ Marker, Sherry; Kerasiotis, Peter (2010). "Greece in depth". In Nadeau, Mark (ed.). Frommer's Greece. Hoboken: Wiley. p. 12.
  10. ^ Poffley, Frewin (2002). Greek Island Hopping. Thomas Cook. p. 15.
  11. ^ Ellinikos Organismos Tourismou (EOT). "Greek islands". Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  12. ^ parismatch.com. "Top 5 : Les plus belles îles grecques". Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  13. ^ "The Law of the Sea".

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.

Aigio

Aigio, also written as Aeghion, Aegion, Aegio, Egio, (Greek: Αίγιο, pronounced [ˈeʝo]) is a town and a former municipality in Achaea, West Greece, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform, it is part of the municipality Aigialeia, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 151.101 km2. Its population is around 26,000. Aigio is a port town on the Gulf of Corinth, and takes its name from the ancient city of Aegium.

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece (Greek: Ἑλλάς, romanized: Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (c. AD 600). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on ancient Rome, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean Basin and Europe. For this reason, Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture and is considered the cradle of Western civilization.Classical Greek culture gave great importance to knowledge. Science and religion were not separate and getting closer to the truth meant getting closer to the gods. In this context, they understood the importance of mathematics as an instrument for obtaining more reliable ("divine") knowledge. Greek culture, in a few centuries and with a limited population, managed to explore and make progress in many fields of science, mathematics, philosophy and knowledge in general.

Ano Panta

Ano Panta (el: Άνω Πάντα) is one of the two regions of Othoni island, near Corfu, Greece. It includes the western villages of the island (Chorio, Dafni, Stavros etc.) while Kato Panta (el: Κάτω Πάντα) covers the central and eastern part of Othoni.

Boeotia

Boeotia, sometimes alternatively Latinised as Boiotia, or Beotia (; Greek: Βοιωτία, Modern Greek: [vi.oˈti.a], Ancient Greek: [bojɔːtía]; modern transliteration Voiotía, also Viotía, formerly Cadmeis), is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, and its largest city is Thebes.

Boeotia was also a region of ancient Greece, since before the 6th century BC.

Cycladic Massif

The Cycladic Massif is a Miocene high-pressure orogenic segment located in the Aegean Sea underlying the Cyclades. Initially, the Massif was a single island which began to break apart due to the tectonic activities of the subduction of the African plate under the Eurasian plate during the late Miocene Epoch.

Dicaearchus

Dicaearchus of Messana (; Greek: Δικαίαρχος Dikaiarkhos; c. 350 – c. 285 BC), also written Dicearchus or Dicearch (), was a Greek philosopher, cartographer, geographer, mathematician and author. Dicaearchus was Aristotle's student in the Lyceum. Very little of his work remains extant. He wrote on the history and geography of Greece, of which his most important work was his Life of Greece. He made important contributions to the field of cartography, where he was among the first to use geographical coordinates. He also wrote books on philosophy and politics.

Geographic regions of Greece

The traditional geographic regions of Greece (Greek: γεωγραφικά διαμερίσματα, literally "geographic departments") are the country's main historical-geographic regions, and were also official administrative regional subdivisions of Greece until the 1987 administrative reform. Despite their replacement as first-level administrative units by the newly defined administrative regions (Greek: περιφέρειες), the nine traditional geographic divisions—six on the mainland and three island groups—are still widely referred to in unofficial contexts and in daily discourse.

As of 2011, the official administrative divisions of Greece consist of 13 regions (Greek: περιφέρειες)—nine on the mainland and four island groups—which are further subdivided into 74 regional units and 325 municipalities. Formerly, there were also 54 prefectures or prefectural-level administrations.

Geographical name changes in Greece

The Greek state has systematically replaced geographical and topographic names of non-Greek origin with Greek names as part of a policy and ideology of Hellenization. The main objective of the initiative has been to assimilate or hide geographical or topographical names that were deemed foreign and divisive against Greek unity or considered to be "bad Greek". The names that were considered foreign were usually of Turkish, Albanian, and Slavic origin. Most of the name changes occurred in the ethnically heterogeneous northern Greece and the Arvanite settlements in central Greece. Place names of Greek origin were also renamed after names in Classical Greece.The policy commenced after the independence of Greece from the Ottoman Empire in the early 1830s, after the territorial expanses of Greece and continued into the Greek Republic. To this day use of the old Turkish, Albanian, or Slavic placenames by authorities, organisations, and individuals is penalized under Greek law.

Hippocampus (mythology)

The hippocampus or hippocamp, also hippokampos (plural: hippocampi or hippocamps; Greek: ἱππόκαμπος, from ἵππος, "horse" and κάμπος, "sea monster"), often called a sea-horse in English, is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician, Etruscan, Pictish, Roman and Greek mythology, though its name has a Greek origin. The hippocampus has typically been depicted as having the upper body of a horse with the lower body of a fish.

Index of Greece-related articles

This page list topics related to Greece.

Kato Panta

Kato Panta (el: Κάτω Πάντα) is one of the two regions of Othoni island, near Corfu, Greece. It includes the central and eastern villages of the island (Ammos, Mastoratika, Kasimatika etc.) while Ano Panta (el: Άνω Πάντα) covers the western part of Othoni.

List of extreme points of Greece

This is a list of the extreme points of Greece, the points that are farther north, south, east or west than any other location.

List of islands of Greece

Greece has a large number of islands, with estimates ranging from somewhere around 1,200 to 6,000, depending on the minimum size to take into account. The number of inhabited islands is variously cited as between 166 and 227.The largest Greek island by area is Crete, located at the southern edge of the Aegean Sea. The second largest island is Euboea, which is separated from the mainland by the 60m-wide Euripus Strait, and is administered as part of the Central Greece region. After the third and fourth largest Greek Islands, Lesbos and Rhodes, the rest of the islands are two-thirds of the area of Rhodes, or smaller.

The Greek islands are traditionally grouped into the following clusters: the Argo-Saronic Islands in the Saronic gulf near Athens; the Cyclades, a large but dense collection occupying the central part of the Aegean Sea; the North Aegean islands, a loose grouping off the west coast of Turkey; the Dodecanese, another loose collection in the southeast between Crete and Turkey; the Sporades, a small tight group off the coast of Euboea; and the Ionian Islands, chiefly located to the west of the mainland in the Ionian Sea. Crete with its surrounding islets and Euboea are traditionally excluded from this grouping.

Outline of Greece

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Greece:

Greece – sovereign country located on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula in Southern Europe. Greece borders Albania, Bulgaria, and North Macedonia to the north, and Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east and south of mainland Greece, while the Ionian Sea lies to the west. Both parts of the Eastern Mediterranean basin feature a vast number of islands.

Greece lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is heir to the heritages of ancient Greece, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and nearly four centuries of Ottoman rule. Greece is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games (for this reason, unless it is the host nation, it always leads the Parade of Nations in accordance with tradition begun at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics), 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 and ESA since 2005. Athens is the capital; Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Volos, Ioannina, Larissa and Kavala are some of the country's other major cities.

Peloponnese

The Peloponnese () or Peloponnesus (; Greek: Πελοπόννησος, Peloponnisos [peloˈponisos]) is a peninsula and geographic region in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the Isthmus of Corinth land bridge which separates the Gulf of Corinth from the Saronic Gulf. During the late Middle Ages and the Ottoman era, the peninsula was known as the Morea (Byzantine Greek: Μωρέας), a name still in colloquial use in its demotic form (Greek: Μωριάς).

The peninsula is divided among three administrative regions: most belongs to the Peloponnese region, with smaller parts belonging to the West Greece and Attica regions.

In 2016, Lonely Planet voted the Peloponnese the top spot of their Best in Europe list.

Piraeus

Piraeus (; Greek: Πειραιάς Pireás [pireˈas], Ancient Greek: Πειραιεύς, Peiraieús, pronounced [peːrai̯eús]) is a port city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens urban area, 12 kilometres (7 miles) southwest from its city centre (municipality of Athens), and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf.

According to the 2011 census, Piraeus had a population of 163,688 people within its administrative limits, making it the fourth largest municipality in Greece and the second largest within the urban area of the Greek capital, following the municipality of Athens. The municipality of Piraeus and several other suburban municipalities within the regional unit of Piraeus form the greater Piraeus area, with a total population of 448,997.

Piraeus has a long recorded history, dating to ancient Greece. The city was founded in the early 5th century BC, when this area was selected to become the new port of classical Athens and was built as a prototype harbour, concentrating all the import and transit trade of Athens. During the Golden Age of Athens the Long Walls were constructed to fortify Athens and its port (Piraeus). Consequently, it became the chief harbour of ancient Greece, but declined gradually after the 4th century AD, growing once more in the 19th century, after Athens' declaration as the capital of Greece. In the modern era, Piraeus is a large city, bustling with activity and an integral part of Athens, acting as home to the country's biggest harbour and bearing all the characteristics of a huge marine and commercial-industrial centre.

The port of Piraeus is the chief port in Greece, the largest passenger port in Europe and the second largest in the world, servicing about 20 million passengers annually. With a throughput of 1.4 million TEUs, Piraeus is placed among the top ten ports in container traffic in Europe and the top container port in the Eastern Mediterranean. The city hosted events in both the 1896 and 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens. The University of Piraeus is one of the largest universities in Greece.

Thrace

Thrace (; Greek: Θράκη, Thráki; Bulgarian: Тракия, Trakiya; Turkish: Trakya) is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. It comprises southeastern Bulgaria (Northern Thrace), northeastern Greece (Western Thrace) and the European part of Turkey (East Thrace).

Thracia

Thracia or Thrace (Θρᾴκη Thrakē) is the ancient name given to the southeastern Balkan region, the land inhabited by the Thracians.

Wildlife of Greece

The wildlife of Greece includes the diverse flora and fauna of Greece, a country in southern Europe. The country is mostly mountainous with a very long, convoluted coastline, consisting of peninsulas and many islands. The climate ranges from Mediterranean through temperate to alpine, and the habitats include mountains, hills, forests, rivers, lakes, coasts and cultivated land.

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