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Greece is a paradise for different kind of tourists. It is far out for the beach bum, it is great for the lover of the classics and it is a must see for anyone interested in knowing where civilization as we know it stems from. Located in southeastern Europe, Greece is bordered by Bulgaria, Albania, Turkey, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Balkan Peninsula, which constitutes Greece, is surrounded by over a thousand tiny islands, of which less than 200 are inhabited. It is primarily a mountainous country with a major chunk of its landmass perched at over 1,500 m above sea level.

Perhaps no nation in Europe can boast of a more ancient history than Greece. Greece's antiquity dates back to 3000 BC when the powerful Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations flourished here. The evolution of powerful city-states, especially Athens and Sparta, between 800 and 500BC produced the classical age of Athens which was the high point of the Grecian civilization. Under the leadership of Pericles, Athens ushered in an era of prosperity in all spheres: an era when Pericles himself commissioned the Parthenon, Democritus taught the concept of democracy, Sophocles wrote Oedipus Rex, and Socrates taught the intricacies of logic. Later, Alexander's conquest of the city-states was followed by the Roman invasions that began in 205 BC. Greece became a part of the Byzantine Empire in the 4th century AD. This was followed by the Crusades, and by AD 1500, Greece came under Turkish control.

The glorious history of Greece is reflected in the ruins and monuments that lie scattered all over the country. Although the capital Athens may seem a smog-filled city of high-rise flats, it has a special charm and grandeur. Besides the oft-visited Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Theatre of Dionysus, the National Archaeological Museum is a treasure trove of antiquities.

The southern peninsula, the Peloponnesos , is known both for its picturesque scenery and rich history, as are the islands of Crete, Rhodes City and Cyclades ; while in mainland Greece, you have the magnificent Meteora monasteries. The mountainous terrain of Greece is ideal for trekking, while Mt. Parnassus near Delphi offers opportunities for skiing.

In the east, Greece's second biggest city of Thessaloniki is absolutely worth a visit. The city has many monuments most of them dating back to Byzantine times.

When you plan a trip to Greece try to visit at least the capital Athens , a bit of the Peloponessos and one or two islands. You will then get a general idea of what this fascinating country has to offer. Athens is a great city with many interesting street fairs.


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