(pronounced "KUSS-tohs seh-MEE-tees")
"Greece is in one of the most exciting times in its modern history… The country we are building will be very different from its present state."
Greece, known officially as the Hellenic Republic, is located in the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula. Greece consists of the mainland and numerous islands, both on the Ionian and Aegean Seas, covering a total size of 131,957 sq km (51,146 sq mi). The population was estimated at 10.6 million in 2002. The two largest cities are Athens and Salonika. The population of the Hellenic Republic is composed primarily of Greeks but also includes minority groups of Muslim Turks and others. The vast majority of the Greek population (98%) belongs to the official Eastern Orthodox Church.
Greece's economy, with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) estimated at $19,000 in 2002, is primarily based on tourism and agriculture. Shipping however, is also among the activities that contribute to foreign exchange earnings. Other industries include textiles, food and tobacco processing, chemicals, mining, and petroleum. Principal Greek exports are food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, and textiles. Major import items are machinery, transport equipment, fuels, and chemicals. Until 2002, when Greece was one of twelve nations to adopt the euro as national currency, the Greek currency had been the drachma .
Office of the Prime Minister
Greek Parliament Building, Constitutional Square