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Greece Geography


Greece is the southernmost country in the Balkan Peninsula, with a total area of 131,940 sq km (50,942 sq mi); about a fifth of the area is composed of more than 1,400 islands in the Ionian and Aegean seas.

Comparatively, the area occupied by Greece is slightly smaller than the state of Alabama.

Continental Greece has a length of 940 km (584 mi), north-south, and a width of 772 km (480 mi), east-west. It is bounded on the north by Macedonia and Bulgaria, on the northest by Turkey, on the east by the Aegean Sea, on the south by the Mediterranean Sea, on the southwest and west by the Ionian Sea, and on the northwest by Albania, with a total land boundary length of 1,228 km (763 mi) and a coastline of 13,676 km (8,498 mi).

The capital city of Greece, Athens, is located along the country's southern coast.

About four-fifths of Greece is mountainous, including most of the islands. The most important range is the Pindus, which runs down the centre of the peninsula from north to south at about 2,650 m (8,700 ft) in average elevation. Mt. Olympus (Ólimbos; 2,917 m/9,570 ft) is the highest peak and was the legendary home of the ancient gods.

Greece has four recognisable geographic regions. The Pindus range divides northern Greece into damp, mountainous and isolated Epirus (Ipiros) in the west and the sunny, dry plains and lesser mountain ranges of the east. This eastern region comprises the plains of Thessaly (Thessalía) and the new provinces of Macedonia (Makedonia) and Thrace (Thraki) – new because they became part of Greece after the Balkan wars in 1912-1913. Central Greece is the southeastern finger of the mainland that cradled the city-states of ancient Greece and comprises such classical provinces as Attica (Atikí), Boeotia (Voiotia), Doris, Phocis and Locris. Southern Greece consists of the mountainous, four-fingered Peloponnesus (Pelopónnisos), separated from the mainland by the Gulf of Corinth (Korinthiakós Kólpos). Islands of the Aegean comprise the numerous Cyclades (Kikládes); the Dodecanese (Dhodhekánisos), including Rhodes (Ródhos); and the two large islands of Crete (Kríti) and Euboea (Évvoia).

Greek rivers are not navigable. Many dry up in the summer and become rushing mountain torrents in the spring.

The climate in southern Greece and on the islands is Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Winters are severe in the northern mountain regions. The summer heat is moderated by mountain and sea breezes. Precipitation is heaviest in the north and in the mountains. Average annual rainfall varies from 50 to 121 cm (20-48 in) in the north and from 38 to 81 cm (15-32 in) in the south. The mean temperature of Athens is 17°C (63°F), ranging from a low of 2°C (36° F) in the winter to a high of 37°C (99°F) in the summer.


Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey

Geographic coordinates:
39 00 N, 22 00 E

Map references:

total: 131,940 sq km
land: 130,800 sq km
water: 1,140 sq km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Alabama

Land boundaries:
total: 1,228 km
border countries: Albania 282 km, Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 206 km, Macedonia 246 km

13,676 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

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