Greece has had a huge influence on our world – it is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western theatre.
The first advanced European civilisations are thought to have emerged on Greek islands in around 3,200 BC.
The Parthenon in Athens, one of the finest of the many ancient monuments in Greece, was completed in 432BC.
Modern Greece traces its roots back to independence from the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire in the 1820s. The army took over in a coup in 1967, but democracy was restored in 1974, and it joined the EU in 1981.
Greece suffered very badly following the 2008 global financial crisis. It has lost nearly a quarter of its entire economy, and unemployment currently stands at 23.5%.
Greece’s population is 10.9 million.
The Greek diet is a typical Mediterranean cuisine, based around meat, but also using lots of olive oil, vegetables and feta cheese. Locally-produced drinks include retsina, ouzo and metaxa.