Greece, officially known as the Hellenic Republic (historically as Hellas or the Republic of Greece), is a country in the southern region of Europe, although generally included in Western Europe.

Greece has land borders with Albania, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.

Greece has the twelfth longest coastline in the world, featuring a vast number of islands - some 1,400. These islands are traditionally grouped into the following clusters:

  • Argo-Saronic Islands located in the Saronic gulf near Athens.
  • The Cyclades, a large and dense collection occupying the central part of the Aegean Sea.
  • The Eastern Aegean islands, a loose grouping off the west coast of Turkey.
  • The Dodecanese, another loose collection in the southeast between Crete and Turkey.
  • The Sporades, a small group off the coast of Euboea.
  • The Ionian Islands, to the west of the mainland in the Ionian Sea.

Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of ancient Greece, generally considered the cradle of Western civilization. As such, it has been considered to be the birthplace of democracy, western literature, mathematical and science principles, western philosophy, political science, the Olympic Games, geography, biology, university education, coinage, and western drama, including both tragedy and comedy.