February 8, 2007, 12:16 am
Filed under: Natural Features

Greece is made of three major land groups, the mainland, the Peloponnesus peninsula and the islands offshore. The land is comprised of approximately 80% mountains and hills, making it one of the most mountainous countries in all of Europe. The mountainous area known as the Pindus region is an extension of the Alps. The Central and Western Greece area contains high, steep peaks dissected by many canyons and other caustic landscapes, including the Meteora and the Vikos gorge the later being the second largest one on earth after the Grand Canyon in the US.

Mount Olympus forms the highest point in Greece at 2,919 metres above sea level. Also northern Greece presents another high range, the Rhodope, located in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace; this area is covered with vast and thick century old forests like the famous Dadia. Plains are mainly found in Eastern Thessaly, Central Macedonia and Thrace. Greece’s climate is divided into three well defined classes the Mediterranean, Alpine and Temperate, the first one features mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Temperatures rarely reach extremes, although snowfalls do occur occasionally even in Athens, Cyclades or Crete during the winter.

Alpine is found primarily in Western Greece (Epirus, Central Greece, Thessaly, Western Macedonia as well as central parts of Peloponnesus like Achaea, Arcadia and parts of Laconia where the Alpine range pass by). Finally the temperate climate is found in Central and Eastern Macedonia as well as in Thrace at places like Komotini, Xanthi and northern Evros; with cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers. It’s worth to mention that Athens is located in a transition area between the Mediterranean and Alpine climate, thus finding that in its southern suburbs weather is of Mediterranean type while in the Northern suburbs of the Alpine type.

The Climate of Greece
February 7, 2007, 11:49 pm
Filed under: Natural Features

Greece’s climate is mostly mediterranean, but because of its unique geographical location and landscape, Greece has a large range of smaller areas of climates and variations. To the west of the Pindus mountain range, the climate is generally wetter and has some maritime features, and to the east, the climate is generally drier and windier during the summertime. The climate of Greece can be divided into four different types of climates. Dry mediterranean, Humid mediterranean, Continental mediterranean and Alpine mediterranean.

Where the climate is classified as dry mediterranean, during the summer, the weather is dry and any precipitation falls in the form of showers or thunderstorms from cumuliform cloud. Winters are wet and any falling snow doesn’t last too long, especially in the south facing slopes. Rain in winter is often persisting and can cause flash floods.

Where the climate is classified as humid mediterranean, Winters are generally mild with very few and sparse snowfalls, though frost can occur. Precipitation is abundant throughout the year and some coastal areas receive over 1000 mm of rain annually. Summers are hot and Agrinio, a town of Western Greece, sometimes boasts the highest temperature on Greek territory.

Where the climate is classified as continental mediterranean, Winters are cold, often harsh with locally abundant snowfalls and summers are hot, locally sometimes very hot, with somewhat more frequent thunderstorms. Differences in precipitation between summer and winter are not very big, though most precipitation tends to fall in late autumn.

Where the climate is classified as alpine mediterranean, the climate consists of harsh winters with abundant snowfalls and cool summers with frequent thunderstorms.

Economy Overview
January 31, 2007, 12:17 am
Filed under: Society

Greece has been known in the past as a relatively inexpensive travel destination, but that has changed of late. Prices in the top tourist towns are now as high as their European neighbors. This fact has both boosted and decreased tourism in the country. The revenue the country takes in from tourism has increased but the number of visitors per capita has decreased. The primary methods of income for Greece aside from tourism lie in textiles, manufacturing, and agriculture, as Greece is world renowned for its olives, tomatoes and wine. Now that Greece has converted to the Euro it’s even easier to trade with the neighboring countries and have people from other countries comprising about 20% of the workforce.

Human Rights issues
January 26, 2007, 12:40 am
Filed under: Society

A major human rights issue in Greece is the violence shown by police officers, with disregard for proper procedure, and overall maintenance of peace and happiness. On several occasions people who did not stop for routine traffic checks were beaten, some to death by police officers. Little to nothing has been done about this in the country of Greece, to stop these atrocities. One factor of this brutality is that it is focused on the minority groups of Romanians and Macedonians. One man, who was imprisoned and handcuffed to the bed in his cell for possession of hash, was found dead after his bed was set on fire by an unknown party. Investigations of this crime were put to rest by the local authorities. These utter injustices have led many external civil service organizations to believe that the authorities in charge to be corrupt and in need of serious recreation.

Greek Culture
January 25, 2007, 12:43 am
Filed under: History

Greek culture has evolved many times over thousands of years. Starting with the Mycenean civilizations and into the classical age, Greek culture has been formed from many other civilizations and influenced our many cultures today. The Greek people often have a strong link with their past emphasizing the classical period and all throughout today. They are known as a mostly friendly people who are known for their hospitality and somewhat relaxed attitude towards daily life, somewhat like here in Hawaii in a sort of “Hang Loose” kind of way.

The art and architecture of Greece has influenced western art and architecture greatly throughout the years. Remains of ancient Greek architecture still stand today and have been well documented throughout the centuries. Surviving Greek paintings are very rare due to the fact that they were mostly painted on wood. The finest Greek art was admired for hundreds of years after they were conceived, but unfortunately eventually disappeared later when they were no longer adequately protector.

Impacts on current society
January 24, 2007, 12:02 am
Filed under: Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece is a time period in greek history which lasted for about one thousand years. Ancient Greece is generally considered to be the fundemental foundation for current western civilization and cultures. Greek culture heavily impacted the Roman Empire which later moved throughout Europe. The language, educational systems, philosophy, science, and arts of modern day Europe and the Americas.

The early Greeks are believed to have migrated starting in the late 3rd millenium B.C.E. In the 8th century B.C.E. Greece began to emerge from the dark ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. With the fall of the Mycenaean civilization, their cultural literacy and written language were lost. The Greeks adopted Phoenician alphabet modifying it to create the their own unique Greek alphabet. Written records began to appear at about 800 B.C.E. Greece was divided into many small self-governing communities. Greece began to become overpopulated and as a result they started to settle colonies in all directions.

By the 6th century BC the Greek world had become a cultural and linguistic area much larger than the geographical area of present Greece. Greek colonies were not politically controlled by their founding cities, although they often retained religious and commercial links with them. The Greeks both at home and abroad organized themselves into independent communities, and the city (polis) became the basic unit of Greek government. During this period Greece and its neighboring colonies began to greatly develop economically with the growth of commerce and manufacture, and they also began to greatly inprove the living standards of the population. Studies estimate that the average size of the Greek household increased by a factor of five, indicating a large increase in the average income of the population.

At its economic pinnacle, which was around the 4th century B.C.E. Ancient Greece had the most advanced economy in the world. It is also believed to be one of the most advanced preindustrial economies in the world. proof of this is demonstrated by the average daily wage of the Greek worker in contrast with the Egyptian worker. The Greek worker recieved in terms of grain about 13 kg, more than 4 times the average daily wage of the Egyptian worker which was about 3kg.

CIA Briefing on Greece
January 19, 2007, 12:36 am
Filed under: History

Greece achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1829. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, it gradually added neighboring islands and territories, most with Greek-speaking populations. In World War II, Greece was first invaded by Italy (1940) and subsequently occupied by Germany (1941-44); fighting endured in a protracted civil war between supporters of the king and Communist rebels. Following the latter’s defeat in 1949, Greece joined NATO in 1952. A military dictatorship, which in 1967 suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country, lasted seven years. The 1974 democratic elections and a referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy. In 1981 Greece joined the EC (now the EU); it became the 12th member of the euro zone in 2001