Greece or, Hellas, is located in the south east Mediterranean with the neighbour countries of Italy to the west, Turkey to the east and Albania, FYROM Skopje, Bulgaria to the north. The capital city is Athens.
The Greek capital has a population of 745,514 (in 2001) within its administrative limits and a land area of 39 km2 (15 sq mi). The urban area of Athens extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3.37 million (in 2005). The area of Athens prefecture spans 412 km2 (159 sq mi) and encompasses a population of 3,192,606. The Athens Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) is the 7th most populated LUZ in the European Union with a population of 3,894,573 (in 2001). A bustling and cosmopolitan metropolis, Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece. It is rapidly becoming a leading business centre in the European Union. In 2008, Athens was ranked the world’s 32nd-richest city in a UBS study.
Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles and its many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent.
The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by a number of ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon on the Acropolis, widely considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains a vast variety of Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of remaining Ottoman monuments projecting the city’s long history across the centuries. Landmarks of the modern era are also present, dating back to 1830 (the establishment of the independent Greek state), and taking in the Greek Parliament (19th century) and the Athens Trilogy (Library, University, and Academy). Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics, with great success.
BOAT – FERRY TRANSPORTATION
Piraeus, the port of Athens is the place to take your ferry to all the Greek islands. There are ferries to all islands every day. Ferries offer, tourist class and first class and cabins on the overnight journeys.Also another port at Rafina can take you to Syros, Mykonos,Santorini and other islands.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Tap water is drinkable throughout Greece although, bottled mineral water is also available everywhere with the cost of 0.50€. The food served in restaurants is international cuisine but, there is a large variety of taverns offering Greek cuisine.
As of January 1, 2002, the currency in Greece is now called the Euro and cents. The Euro (€ ) is in note and coins form. The denominations of the coins are Euro – 1, 2 and Cents – 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. The notes are in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 €. Credit cards such as Visa and Master Card are widely accepted.
SHOPPING IN ATHENS
One of the most attractive areas for shopping in Athens is around Syntagma square(Constitution square), Voukourestiou St., Kolonaki, Ermou St. and Plaka, the old quarter of the city, as it includes a flea market and a large variety of restaurants as well as shops and boutiques. Shops hours are: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 09.00-21.00. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday: 09.00-17.00 The shops in Plaka are open every day including Sundays from morning until late at night.
Greek (the mother tongue of the western languages) are about 65.000 Greek words in the western languages. Greek is the common spoken language but, English is widely spoken as well as other European languages. All street directions are in Greek and English.
Greece is 2 hours ahead of GMT.
220 volts and 50 Hertz with round-prong European style plugs for domestic use. If not, you will require an adaptor(recommended).
An International passport, which should be valid for at least 6 months is required for immigration at the airport and for hotel procedures.
Greece is one of the Schengen countries, check with your nearest or, local Greek Embassy / Consulate before departing your country of origin.
January 1, January 6, March 25, Greek Easter, May 1, August 15, October 28, December 25, December 26