Greece , formally called the Hellenic Republic (Greek is a country in the southeast of Europe on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula . It has land boundaries with Bulgaria , the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania to the north; and with Turkey to the east.
» The waters of the Aegean Sea border on Greece to the east, and those of the Ionian and Mediterranean Seas to the west and south. Regarded by many as the cradle of Western civilization, Greece has a long and rich history during which it spread its influence over three continents.
The English name " Greece " derives from a Latin name, Graecia, originally used for the Magna Graecia region. The country consists of a large mainland at the southern end of the Balkans; the Peloponnesus peninsula, which is separated from the mainland by the canal.
» About 80% of Greece is mountainous or hilly. Much of the country is dry and rocky; only 28% of the land is arable. Western Greece contains lakes and wetlands. Pindus, the central mountain range, has an average elevation of 2,650 m. Mount Olympus forms the highest point in Greece at 2,911 m above sea level. Greece 's climate features mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Temperatures rarely reach extremes, although snowfalls do occur in the mountains and occasionally even in Athens in the winter.
» The Greek Constitution claims absolute freedom of religion. It also states that all persons living within the Greek territory shall enjoy full protection of their religious beliefs. Note however that apart from Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, temples of other religions do not exist in the capital.