Located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and shared land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the northeast, Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic and known since ancient times as Hellas, is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles and Western drama including both tragedy and comedy.
With its vast and varied landscape, endless miles of blue coastline, wide open skies, no wonder millions of people visit Greece every year. You can just wander along a footpaths, hike into volcanoes, or simply hop on a boat.
Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of Ancient Greece, which began with the Aegean Civilizations of the Bronze Age. The cultural and technological achievements of Greece greatly influenced the world, with many aspects of Greek civilization being imparted to the East through Alexander the Great's campaigns, and to the West through its incorporation into the Roman Empire. This rich legacy is partly reflected by the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Greece, ranking it 6th in Europe and 13th in the world.
Greeks are proud of their cuisine. The traditional fast foods are gyros (γύρος, "GHEER-ohs", not "JIE-rohs" as in "gyroscope"), roast pork or chicken (and rarely beef) and fixings wrapped in a fried pita; souvlaki (σουβλάκι, "soov-LAH-kee"), grilled meat on a skewer; Greek dips such as tzatziki (τζατζίκι), made of strained yoghurt, olive oil, garlic and finely chopped cucumbers and dill or mint; and skordhalia (σκορδαλιά), a garlic mashed potato dip which is usually served with deep fried salted cod. With its extensive coastline and islands, Greece has excellent seafood. Try the grilled octopus and the achinosalata (sea-urchin eggs in lemon and olive oil).