Greece

By Caleb Aultman

Country Basics

The capital of Greece is Athens. Its flag, commonly known as "Sky Blue White" and "Blue White", has 4 meanings: 2 for it's colors and 2 for it's designs. Its blue color stands for sea and protection and its white color stands for waves and purity. The nine stripes stand for the nine syllables in "Eleutheria H Thanatos', translated to "Freedom or Death", their battle cry against the Ottoman Occupation. The cross represents the Greek Orthodox Church, which played a crucial role in the fight for independence from the Ottoman Empire.
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Geography

Greece is located on the Balkan Peninsula. It is surrounded by Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Italy. The Pindus Mountains, which are Dinaric Alps that stretch through south Albania and Macedonia, go through Greece. They have elevations of up to 2,500 meters. The highest mountain in Greece is Mount Olympus, which has a height of 2,918 meters. Major landmarks include, but are not limited to, Acropolis in Athens, the Parthenon, the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and more. Major bodies of water include the Aegean, Cretan, Ionian, Thracian, and Mediterranean seas. The environment effects humans because the mountains cause houses to be built differently. Also, because of Greece being in a peninsula, there are more fishermen. Because of industrial activity and use of cars, there is smog throughout Athens, which effects the citizens by causing respiratory complaints.

Government

Greece has a Constitutional Republic and a Parliamentary System. Their President, Prokopis Pavopoulos (as seen below), is head of state. Their Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, is head of state and Greece's Speaker is Zoe Konstantpoulo. The president is elected every 5 years by Parliament. Men in Greece have full rights, such as those Americans have, while women earned their right to vote in 1952. Men commonly have roles and responsibilities of someone who works outside of the house, but women commonly work inside the house.
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Economy

Greece has a rich economy, with a GDP of $238,000,000,000 per annum. In 2001, they changed their currency to euros, which are used around Europe. Their main imports include machinery, transport, fuels, and chemicals while their exports are food, beverages, textiles, petroleum products, and chemicals. Greece has a life expectancy of 78.6 for men, 83.9 for women, and a total life expectancy of 81.3. Their birth rate is 8.8 births/1000 population and they have a literacy rate of 97.36%. Because Athens had a problem with water, their water sources include the Marathon Dam, the Boyati Tunnel, the Mornos Impoundement Resevoir and the Mornos Aqueduct.

Culture

In Greece, women wear dresses and skirts while men wear t-shirts, pants, black or brown dress shoes, and jackets. The language spoken in Greece currently is Modern Greek, and major holidays include January 8th, when men do the housework while women leave the house, Greek Independence Day, which is on March 25, Panagia, which is on August 15, and Easter. Easter is especially important to Greece because many religious and traditional customs, and a multitude of faithful who celebrate Easter Sunday, the most important day of the holy week, are attracted. Additionally, lambs are roasted and prepared in the traditional Greek way and wine flows abundantly. Also, the Greek citizens have mini Easter egg battles, in which red eggs are hit together and the person with the last egg will have good fortune. Greece's main religion is Greek Orthodox Church, which has no bishopric head because they believe that Christ is the head of the church. However, they are governed by a group of Bishops called the Holy Synod, which has one central Bishop called "the one among equals". Although they have many foods, one dish is the Moussaka, which is based on the layering of sauteed aubergine, minced meat, fried pureed tomato, onion, garlic and spices (such as cinnamon and allspice), a bit of potato, and then a fluffy topping of cheese and béchamel sauce.
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Climate

Greece has a Mediterranean climate, with mild and rainy winters and warm and dry summers. They have an average yearly rainfall of 50-121 cm in the north and 38-81 cm in the south. They tend to have cold winters, with 10-12 degrees Celsius in Athens from December to February, and relatively warm summers, with temperatures of 26-29 degrees Celsius in Athens from June to August. Because of their cold winters, Greece tends to have problems with water.

History

From 1912 to 1913, Greece gained control of Turkey controlled areas. These areas included Crete an southern Macedonia. Greece still has control of these areas today. Also, in 1975, a new Constitution was approved. Now, the president is head of state and the Prime Minister is head of government.

Compare and Contrast

To compare Greece to the United States, I will compare their flags and their leaders. The flags have similarities, such as the colors, blue and white, and the design, stripes, they also have differences, such as the Greek flag having a cross, compared to the stripes on the American flag, and the American flag having red, while the Greek flag only has blue and white. Their leaders also have similarities, such as being elected and having a limited term, and differences, such as the U.S. president being elected by citizens and being head of the nation, while the Greek president is elected by Parliament and being head of state.

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