Name of Greece: “Greece” is the English translation of Hellas, which is what the Greeks call their country. The name “Greece” comes from the name the Romans applied to Hellas — Graecia. While the people of Hellas thought of themselves as Hellenes, the Romans called them by the Latin word Graeci.

Official name: Hellenic Republic

Government system: The Greek government is a parliamentary republic

Head of state: President Karolos Papoulias

Population: 11 million

Where is Greece? Greece is considered to be part of Southern Europe; it is also included as a Western European nation.

Border countries:

Albania 282 km
Bulgaria 494 km
Turkey 206 km
FYROM 246 km

How big is Greece? Greece has a total area of 131,940 square kilometers or about 50,502 square miles.

Coastline: 15,147 kilometers or about 9,411 miles

Greek islands: There are about 140 inhabited islands in Greece, but if you count every rocky outcrop, the total surges to about 3,000.

Largest Greek Island: The biggest Greek island is Crete, followed by the lesser-known island of Evvia or Euboia. Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.

Highest point: The highest point in Greece is Mount Olympus, legendary home of Zeus and the other Olympian gods and goddesses. The highest peak of Olympus, Mytikas, meaning “nose”, rises to 2,917 metres (9,570 ft)

Currency: Euro

European Union: Greece joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the EU, in 1981. Greece became a member of the European Union in January 1999, and met the requirements to become a member of the European Monetary Union, using the Euro as currency, in 2001. The Euro went into circulation in Greece in 2002, replacing the drachma.

Tourists: 18.8 million annually

Orthodox real estate: the Greek Orthodox Church is the second-largest landowner in Greece

Seismic activity: Greece is the most seismically active country in Europe, with more than half of the continent’s volcanic activity

Cost of living: Athens is the world’s 28th most expensive city to live in

Cheesy: Greeks are the world’s biggest per capita consumers of cheese, eating around 25kg per capita annually

Too much of a good thing? Greeks record the highest obesity rates in the EU