Greece, officially known as The Hellenic Republic, is the southernmost country on the European mainland. With an area of 131.940 square kilometres, Greece is about the same size as England or New York state. Greece's longest border is with the sea. Over 2,000 Greek islands are scattered about the eastern Mediterranean, roughly 200 of them inhabited. The Greek mainland shares land borders with Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bulgaria and Turkey.
The climate is mostly dry and temperate, though it snows in the mountains and in the north. The mild weather and sheltered valleys of the region, along with the early development of seafaring, contributed to the rise of Ancient Greek Civilisation. Greece has a long and eventful history. It was part of each of the great empires - the Roman, the Byzantine and the Ottoman - that ruled the region.
Greece has strong historical ties with southeastern and western Europe, Asia and Africa. At the crossroads of so many civilisations, Greece is gifted with a rich and fascinating cultural heritage. The country's turbulent history has had remarkably little effect on the Greek language. Modern Greek is easily recognisable as the language of Plato.