Introduction: Area: 131,957 sq. km. (51,146 sq. mi.; roughly the size of Alabama).
Major cities: Capital--Athens. Greater Athens (pop. 3,566,060), municipality of Athens (772,072), Greater Thessaloniki (pop. 1,057,825), municipality of Thessaloniki (363,987), Piraeus (175,697), Greater Piraeus (466,065), Patras (171,616), Iraklion (137,711), Larissa (126,076).
Terrain: Mountainous interior with coastal plains; 1,400-plus islands.
Climate: Mediterranean; mild, wet winter and hot, dry summer.
Greece's coastline measures 15 021 km.
Mainland Greece forms the southernmost part of the Balkan peninsula, in the north including parts of the historical regions of Macedonia and Thrace, further to the south narrowing into a "Greek peninsula" in its own right, including historical Epirus,Thessaly, Achaea, Boeotia and Attica, and concluding in the separate peninsula ofPeloponnese, comprising the historical territories Sparta, Corinth and Argos, all surrounding the peninsula's heartland of Arcadia.
The major mountain range of Greece is Olympus, separating Thessaly from Macedonia. Its highest peak rises to 2,919 m above sea level, making it the second highest of the entire Balkan peninsula after peak Musala in the Rila Mountain.
Greece is home to over 1,400 islands, with 227 of them inhabited.
Crete is the largest island of Greece and the second largest (after Cyprus) in the Eastern Mediterranean. The island has an elongated shape: it spans 260 km from east to west and 60 km at its widest, although the island is narrower at certain points, such as in the region close to Ierapetra, where it reaches a width of only 12 km. Crete covers an area of 8,336 km², with a coastline of 1046 km ; to the north it broaches the Sea of Crete; to the south the Libyan Sea; in the west theMyrtoan Sea, and toward the east the Karpathion Sea. It lies approximately 160 km south of the Greek mainland.
Crete is characterized by a mountain...