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Nevertheless, much of Greece clung tenaciously to paganism, and ancient Greek religious practices were still in vogue in the late 4th century AD,  when they were outlawed by the Roman emperor Theodosius I in — The Roman Empire in the east, following the fall of the Empire in the west in the 5th century, is conventionally known as the Byzantine Empire but was simply called "Roman Empire" in its own time and lasted until With its capital in Constantinople , its language and literary culture was Greek and its religion was predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christian.
In the early 6th century, Greece had approximately 80 cities according to the Synecdemus chronicle, and the period from the 4th to the 7th century AD is considered one of high prosperity not just in Greece but in the entire Eastern Mediterranean.
Until the 8th century almost all of modern Greece was under the jurisdiction of the Holy See of Rome according to the system of Pentarchy. The Byzantine recovery of lost provinces began toward the end of the 8th century and most of the Greek peninsula came under imperial control again, in stages, during the 9th century.
Following the Fourth Crusade and the fall of Constantinople to the " Latins " in mainland Greece was split between the Greek Despotate of Epirus a Byzantine successor state and French rule  known as the Frankokratia , while some islands came under Venetian rule.
As such prominent personalities at the time also proposed changing the imperial title to "Emperor of the Hellenes ",   and, in late fourteenth century, the emperor was frequently referred to as the "Emperor of the Hellenes".
In the 14th century, much of the Greek peninsula was lost by the Byzantine Empire at first to the Serbs and then to the Ottomans.
However, this, too, fell to the Ottomans in , completing the Ottoman conquest of mainland Greece. While most of mainland Greece and the Aegean islands was under Ottoman control by the end of the 15th century, Cyprus and Crete remained Venetian territory and did not fall to the Ottomans until and respectively.
The only part of the Greek-speaking world that escaped long-term Ottoman rule was the Ionian Islands , which remained Venetian until their capture by the First French Republic in , then passed to the United Kingdom in until their unification with Greece in While some Greeks in the Ionian Islands and Constantinople lived in prosperity, and Greeks of Constantinople Phanariotes achieved positions of power within the Ottoman administration,  much of the population of mainland Greece suffered the economic consequences of the Ottoman conquest.
Heavy taxes were enforced, and in later years the Ottoman Empire enacted a policy of creation of hereditary estates, effectively turning the rural Greek populations into serfs.
The Greek Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople were considered by the Ottoman governments as the ruling authorities of the entire Orthodox Christian population of the Ottoman Empire, whether ethnically Greek or not.
Although the Ottoman state did not force non-Muslims to convert to Islam , Christians faced several types of discrimination intended to highlight their inferior status in the Ottoman Empire.
Discrimination against Christians, particularly when combined with harsh treatment by local Ottoman authorities, led to conversions to Islam, if only superficially.
In the 19th century, many "crypto-Christians" returned to their old religious allegiance. The nature of Ottoman administration of Greece varied, though it was invariably arbitrary and often harsh.
Mountainous regions in the interior and many islands remained effectively autonomous from the central Ottoman state for many centuries.
When military conflicts broke out between the Ottoman Empire and other states, Greeks usually took up arms against the Ottomans, with few exceptions.
The 16th and 17th centuries are regarded as something of a "dark age" in Greek history, with the prospect of overthrowing Ottoman rule appearing remote with only the Ionian islands remaining free of Turkish domination.
Corfu withstood three major sieges in , and all of which resulted in the repulsion of the Ottomans. However, in the 18th century, due to their mastery of shipping and commerce, a wealthy and dispersed Greek merchant class arose.
These merchants came to dominate trade within the Ottoman Empire, establishing communities throughout the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and Western Europe.
Though the Ottoman conquest had cut Greece off from significant European intellectual movements such as the Reformation and the Enlightenment , these ideas together with the ideals of the French Revolution and romantic nationalism began to penetrate the Greek world via the mercantile diaspora.
In the late eighteenth century, an increase in secular learning during the Modern Greek Enlightenment led to the revival among Greeks of the diaspora of the notion of a Greek nation tracing its existence to ancient Greece , distinct from the other Orthodox peoples, and having a right to political autonomy.
One of the organizations formed in this intellectual milieu was the Filiki Eteria , a secret organization formed by merchants in Odessa in The first of these revolts began on 6 March in the Danubian Principalities under the leadership of Alexandros Ypsilantis , but it was soon put down by the Ottomans.
The events in the north spurred the Greeks of the Peloponnese into action and on 17 March the Maniots declared war on the Ottomans. By the end of the month, the Peloponnese was in open revolt against the Ottomans and by October the Greeks under Theodoros Kolokotronis had captured Tripolitsa.
The Peloponnesian revolt was quickly followed by revolts in Crete , Macedonia and Central Greece , which would soon be suppressed.
Meanwhile, the makeshift Greek navy was achieving success against the Ottoman navy in the Aegean Sea and prevented Ottoman reinforcements from arriving by sea.
In and the Turks and Egyptians ravaged the islands, including Chios and Psara , committing wholesale massacres of the population.
Tensions soon developed among different Greek factions, leading to two consecutive civil wars. Meanwhile, the Ottoman Sultan negotiated with Mehmet Ali of Egypt , who agreed to send his son Ibrahim Pasha to Greece with an army to suppress the revolt in return for territorial gain.
Ibrahim landed in the Peloponnese in February and had immediate success: Although Ibrahim was defeated in Mani , he had succeeded in suppressing most of the revolt in the Peloponnese and Athens had been retaken.
After years of negotiation, three great powers , France , Russian Empire , and the United Kingdom , decided to intervene in the conflict and each nation sent a navy to Greece.
Following news that combined Ottoman—Egyptian fleets were going to attack the Greek island of Hydra , the allied fleet intercepted the Ottoman—Egyptian fleet at Navarino.
A week-long standoff ended with the Battle of Navarino which resulted in the destruction of the Ottoman—Egyptian fleet.
A French expeditionary force was dispatched to supervise the evacuation of the Egyptian army from the Peloponnese, while the Greeks proceeded to the captured part of Central Greece by As a result of years of negotiation, the nascent Greek state was finally recognised under the London Protocol in Kapodistrias established a series of state, economic and military institutions.
Soon tensions appeared between him and local interests. Following his assassination in and the subsequent London conference a year later, the Great Powers of Britain, France and Russia installed Bavarian Prince Otto von Wittelsbach as monarch.
Otto was deposed in the 23 October Revolution. Multiple causes led to his deposition and exile, including the Bavarian-dominated government, heavy taxation, and a failed attempt to annex Crete from the Ottoman Empire.
Another political issue in 19th-century Greece was uniquely Greek: The Greek people spoke a form of Greek called Demotic.
Many of the educated elite saw this as a peasant dialect and were determined to restore the glories of Ancient Greek. Government documents and newspapers were consequently published in Katharevousa purified Greek, a form which few ordinary Greeks could read.
Liberals favoured recognising Demotic as the national language, but conservatives and the Orthodox Church resisted all such efforts, to the extent that, when the New Testament was translated into Demotic in , riots erupted in Athens and the government fell the Evangeliaka.
This issue would continue to plague Greek politics until the s. All Greeks were united, however, in their determination to liberate the Hellenic lands under Ottoman rule.
Especially in Crete , a prolonged revolt in — had raised nationalist fervour. Nevertheless, in , Thessaly and small parts of Epirus were ceded to Greece as part of the Treaty of Berlin , while frustrating Greek hopes of receiving Crete.
Greeks in Crete continued to stage regular revolts, and in , the Greek government under Theodoros Deligiannis, bowing to popular pressure, declared war on the Ottomans.
In the ensuing Greco-Turkish War of , the badly trained and equipped Greek army was defeated by the Ottomans. Through the intervention of the Great Powers, however, Greece lost only a little territory along the border to Turkey, while Crete was established as an autonomous state under Prince George of Greece.
With state coffers empty, fiscal policy came under International Financial Control. Amidst general dissatisfaction with the seeming inertia and unattainability of national aspirations under the premiership of the cautious reformist Theotokis , a group of military officers organised a coup in August and shortly thereafter called to Athens Cretan politician Eleftherios Venizelos , who conveyed a vision of national regeneration.
After winning two elections and becoming Prime Minister in ,  Venizelos initiated wide-ranging fiscal, social, and constitutional reforms , reorganised the military, made Greece a member of the Balkan League , and led the country through the Balkan Wars.
During parts of the WW1, Greece had two governments: The two governments were united in , when Greece officially entered the war on the side of the Entente.
In the aftermath of World War I, Greece attempted further expansion into Asia Minor , a region with a large native Greek population at the time, but was defeated in the Greco-Turkish War of — , contributing to a massive flight of Asia Minor Greeks.
The resultant Greek exodus from Asia Minor was made permanent, and expanded, in an official Population exchange between Greece and Turkey. The exchange was part of the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne which ended the war.
The following era was marked by instability, as over 1. Cappadocian Greeks , Pontian Greeks , and non-Greek followers of Greek Orthodoxy were all subject to the exchange as well.
Some of the refugees could not speak the language, and were from what had been unfamiliar environments to mainland Greeks, such as in the case of the Cappadocians and non-Greeks.
Following the catastrophic events in Asia Minor, the monarchy was abolished via a referendum in and the Second Hellenic Republic was declared.
An agreement between Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas and the head of state George II followed in , which installed Metaxas as the head of a dictatorial regime known as the 4th of August Regime , inaugurating a period of authoritarian rule that would last, with short breaks, until On 28 October , Fascist Italy demanded the surrender of Greece, but the Greek administration refused, and, in the following Greco-Italian War , Greece repelled Italian forces into Albania, giving the Allies their first victory over Axis forces on land.
The Greek struggle and victory against the Italians received exuberant praise at the time. In an official notice released to coincide with the Greek national celebration of the Day of Independence, De Gaulle expressed his admiration for the Greek resistance:.
In the name of the captured yet still alive French people, France wants to send her greetings to the Greek people who are fighting for their freedom.
The 25 March finds Greece in the peak of their heroic struggle and in the top of their glory. Since the Battle of Salamis, Greece had not achieved the greatness and the glory which today holds.
The country would eventually fall to urgently dispatched German forces during the Battle of Greece , despite the fierce Greek resistance, particularly in the Battle of the Metaxas Line.
Adolf Hitler himself recognised the bravery and the courage of the Greek army , stating in his address to the Reichstag on 11 December , that: He capitulated only when further resistance had become impossible and useless.
The occupation brought about terrible hardships for the Greek civilian population. The German occupiers committed numerous atrocities, mass executions, and wholesale slaughter of civilians and destruction of towns and villages in reprisals.
In the course of the concerted anti-guerilla campaign, hundreds of villages were systematically torched and almost 1,, Greeks left homeless.
The conflict, considered one of the earliest struggles of the Cold War ,  resulted in further economic devastation, mass population displacement and severe political polarisation for the next thirty years.
Although the post-war decades were characterised by social strife and widespread marginalisation of the left in political and social spheres, Greece nonetheless experienced rapid economic growth and recovery, propelled in part by the U.
Under the junta, civil rights were suspended, political repression was intensified, and human rights abuses, including state-sanctioned torture, were rampant.
Economic growth remained rapid before plateauing in The brutal suppression of the Athens Polytechnic uprising on 17 November is claimed to have sent shockwaves through the regime, and a counter-coup overthrew Georgios Papadopoulos to establish brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis as leader.
The former prime minister Konstantinos Karamanlis was invited back from Paris where he had lived in self-exile since , marking the beginning of the Metapolitefsi era.
The first multiparty elections since were held on the first anniversary of the Polytechnic uprising. A democratic and republican constitution was promulgated on 11 June following a referendum which chose to not restore the monarchy.
Greece rejoined NATO in The country adopted the euro in and successfully hosted the Summer Olympic Games in Athens.
Due to the adoption of the euro, when Greece experienced financial crisis, it could no longer devalue its currency to regain competitiveness.
Youth unemployment was especially high during the s. Located in Southern Europe ,   Greece is a transcontinental country that consists of a mountainous, peninsular mainland jutting out into the sea at the southern end of the Balkans , ending at the Peloponnese peninsula separated from the mainland by the canal of the Isthmus of Corinth and strategically located at the crossroads of Europe , Asia , and Africa.
Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains or hills, making the country one of the most mountainous in Europe. Western Greece contains a number of lakes and wetlands and is dominated by the Pindus mountain range.
Smolikas the second-highest in Greece and historically has been a significant barrier to east-west travel. The Pindus range continues through the central Peloponnese, crosses the islands of Kythera and Antikythera and finds its way into southwestern Aegean, in the island of Crete where it eventually ends.
The islands of the Aegean are peaks of underwater mountains that once constituted an extension of the mainland. Pindus is characterised by its high, steep peaks, often dissected by numerous canyons and a variety of other karstic landscapes.
Northeastern Greece features another high-altitude mountain range, the Rhodope range, spreading across the region of East Macedonia and Thrace ; this area is covered with vast, thick, ancient forests, including the famous Dadia forest in the Evros regional unit , in the far northeast of the country.
Extensive plains are primarily located in the regions of Thessaly , Central Macedonia and Thrace. They constitute key economic regions as they are among the few arable places in the country.
Rare marine species such as the pinniped seals and the loggerhead sea turtle live in the seas surrounding mainland Greece, while its dense forests are home to the endangered brown bear , the Eurasian lynx , the roe deer and the wild goat.
Greece features a vast number of islands , between 1, and 6,, depending on the definition,  of which are inhabited. Crete is the largest and most populous island; Euboea , separated from the mainland by the 60m-wide Euripus Strait , is the second largest, followed by Lesbos and Rhodes.
The Greek islands are traditionally grouped into the following clusters: The climate of Greece is primarily Mediterranean , featuring mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.
This climate occurs at all coastal locations, including Athens, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, Crete, the Peloponnese, the Ionian Islands and parts of the Central Continental Greece region.
The Pindus mountain range strongly affects the climate of the country, as areas to the west of the range are considerably wetter on average due to greater exposure to south-westerly systems bringing in moisture than the areas lying to the east of the range due to a rain shadow effect.
The inland parts of northern Greece, in Central Macedonia and East Macedonia and Thrace feature a temperate climate with cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers with frequent thunderstorms.
Snowfalls occur every year in the mountains and northern areas, and brief snowfalls are not unknown even in low-lying southern areas, such as Athens.
Phytogeographically , Greece belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the East Mediterranean province of the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region.
Greece is a unitary parliamentary republic. It has been revised three times since, in , and The Constitution, which consists of articles, provides for a separation of powers into executive , legislative , and judicial branches , and grants extensive specific guarantees further reinforced in of civil liberties and social rights.
According to the Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government. The President of the Republic formally appoints the Prime Minister and, on his recommendation, appoints and dismisses the other members of the Cabinet.
Legislative powers are exercised by a member elective unicameral Parliament. According to a report by the OECD, Greeks display a moderate level of civic participation compared to most other developed countries; voter turnout was 64 percent during recent elections, lower than the OECD average of 69 percent.
The coalition government led the country to the parliamentary elections of May No party could form a sustainable government, which led to the parliamentary elections of June The following morning, Tsipras reached an agreement with Independent Greeks party to form a coalition, and he was sworn in as Prime Minister of Greece.
In the September general election , Tsipras led Syriza to another victory, winning out of seats and re-forming the coalition with the Independent Greeks.
The current minister is Nikos Kotzias. According to the official website, the main aims of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are to represent Greece before other states and international organizations;  safeguarding the interests of the Greek state and of its citizens abroad;  the promotion of Greek culture;  the fostering of closer relations with the Greek diaspora ;  and the promotion of international cooperation.
The Ministry identifies three issues of particular importance to the Greek state: Greece is a member of numerous international organizations, including the Council of Europe , the European Union , the Union for the Mediterranean , the North Atlantic Treaty Organization , the Organisation internationale de la francophonie and the United Nations , of which it is a founding member.
The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature and comprises three Supreme Courts: The Judiciary system is also composed of civil courts, which judge civil and penal cases and administrative courts, which judge disputes between the citizens and the Greek administrative authorities.
The Hellenic Police Greek: It is a very large agency with its responsibilities ranging from road traffic control to counter-terrorism.
It consists of three branches:. Moreover, Greece maintains the Hellenic Coast Guard for law enforcement at sea, search and rescue, and port operations.
Though it can support the navy during wartime, it resides under the authority of the Ministry of Shipping. Greek military personnel total ,, of whom , are active and , are reserve.
Greece ranks 15th in the world in the number of citizens serving in the armed forces, due largely to compulsory military service for males between the ages of 19 and 45 females are exempted from conscription but may otherwise serve in the military.
Mandatory military service is nine months for the Army and one year for the Navy and Air Force. However, as the military has sought to become a completely professional force, the government has promised to reduce mandatory military service or abolish it completely.
As a member of NATO , the Greek military participates in exercises and deployments under the auspices of the alliance, although its involvement in NATO missions is minimal.
Since the Kallikratis programme reform entered into effect on 1 January , Greece has consisted of thirteen regions subdivided into a total of municipalities.
The 54 old prefectures and prefecture-level administrations have been largely retained as sub-units of the regions.
Seven decentralised administrations group one to three regions for administrative purposes on a regional basis. There is also one autonomous area , Mount Athos Greek: The Greek economy is classified as advanced      and high-income.
Greece is a developed country with a high standard of living and a high ranking in the Human Development Index.
Greek unemployment stood at With an economy larger than all the other Balkan economies combined, Greece is the largest economy in the Balkans,    and an important regional investor.
Greek banks open a new branch somewhere in the Balkans on an almost weekly basis. In the accession of the country in the European Communities and the single market was signed, and the process was completed in Greece was accepted into the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union on 19 June , and in January adopted the Euro as its currency, replacing the Greek drachma at an exchange rate of Greece officially exited the bailout programmes on 20 August In DEI supplied for In , renewable energy accounted for Greece currently does not have any nuclear power plants in operation; however, in the Academy of Athens suggested that research in the possibility of Greek nuclear power plants begin.
The shipping industry has been a key element of Greek economic activity since ancient times. During the s, the size of the Greek fleet nearly doubled, primarily through the investment undertaken by the shipping magnates, Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos.
Greece has a significant shipbuilding and ship maintenance industry. The six shipyards around the port of Piraeus are among the largest in Europe.
The vast majority of visitors in Greece in came from the European continent, numbering Since the s, the road and rail network of Greece has been significantly modernised.
Also completed are the A5 Ionia Odos motorway that connects northwestern Greece Ioannina with western Greece Antirrio ; the last sections of the A1 motorway , connecting Athens to Thessaloniki and Evzonoi in northern Greece; as well as the A8 motorway part of the Olympia Odos in Peloponnese, connecting Athens to Patras.
The remaining section of Olympia Odos, connecting Patras with Pyrgos , is under planning. Other important projects that are currently underway, include the construction of the Thessaloniki Metro.
The Athens Metropolitan Area in particular is served by some of the most modern and efficient transport infrastructure in Europe, such as the Athens International Airport , the privately run A6 Attiki Odos motorway network and the expanded Athens Metro system.
Most of the Greek islands and many main cities of Greece are connected by air mainly from the two major Greek airlines, Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines.
Maritime connections have been improved with modern high-speed craft, including hydrofoils and catamarans. International railway lines connect Greek cities with the rest of Europe, the Balkans and Turkey.
Modern digital information and communication networks reach all areas. Broadband internet availability is widespread in Greece: The General Secretariat for Research and Technology of the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness is responsible for designing, implementing and supervising national research and technological policy.
Because of its strategic location, qualified workforce, and political and economic stability, many multinational companies such as Ericsson , Siemens , Motorola , Coca-Cola , and Tesla  have their regional research and development headquarters in Greece.
Greece has several major technology parks with incubator facilities and has been a member of the European Space Agency ESA since In , Greece and ESA signed their first cooperation agreement.
The original objective of the center was the advancement of nuclear research and technology. Today, its activities cover several fields of science and engineering.
Greece has one of the highest rates of tertiary enrollment in the world,  while Greeks are well represented in academia worldwide; many leading Western universities employ a disproportionately high number of Greek faculty.
At the same time, the mortality rate increased slightly from 8. Estimates from show the birth rate decreasing further still to 8.
Greek society has changed rapidly over the last several decades, coinciding with the wider European trend of declining fertility and rapid aging.
The fertility rate of 1. Marriage rates began declining from almost 71 per 1, inhabitants in until , only to increase slightly in to 61 per 1, and then fall again to 51 in Almost two-thirds of the Greek people live in urban areas.
Other prominent cities with urban populations above , inhabitants include those of Patras , Heraklion , Larissa , Volos , Rhodes , Ioannina , Agrinio , Chania , and Chalcis.
The table below lists the largest cities in Greece, by population contained in their respective contiguous built up urban areas, which are either made up of many municipalities, evident in the cases of Athens and Thessaloniki, or are contained within a larger single municipality, case evident in most of the smaller cities of the country.
The results come from the preliminary figures of the population census that took place in Greece in May Religiosity in Greece .
The Greek Constitution recognizes Eastern Orthodoxy as the "prevailing" faith of the country, while guaranteeing freedom of religious belief for all.
According to the U. The administration of the Greek territory is shared between the Church of Greece and the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The survey also found that just 3. Some of the Albanian immigrants to Greece come from a nominally Muslim background, although most are secular in orientation.
About , Muslims from Greece, predominantly those defined as Turks , but also Greek Muslims like the Vallahades of western Macedonia, were exchanged with approximately 1,, Greeks from Turkey.
However, many refugees who settled in former Ottoman Muslim villages in Central Macedonia and were defined as Christian Orthodox Caucasus Greeks arrived from the former Russian Transcaucasus province of Kars Oblast after it had been retroceded to Turkey but in the few years before the official population exchange.
Judaism has been present in Greece for more than 2, years. The ancient community of Greek Jews are called Romaniotes , while the Sephardi Jews were once a prominent community in the city of Thessaloniki , numbering some 80,, or more than half of the population, by The Roman Catholic community is estimated to be around ,   of which 50, are Greek citizens.
In recent years there has been a small-scale revival of the ancient Greek religion , with estimates of 2, active practitioners and an additional , "sympathisers".
The first textual evidence of the Greek language dates back to 15th century BC and the Linear B script which is associated with the Mycenaean Civilization.
Greek was a widely spoken lingua franca in the Mediterranean world and beyond during Classical Antiquity , and would eventually become the official parlance of the Byzantine Empire.
During the 19th and 20th centuries there was a major dispute known as the Greek language question , on whether the official language of Greece should be the archaic Katharevousa , created in the 19th century and used as the state and scholarly language, or the Dimotiki , the form of the Greek language which evolved naturally from Byzantine Greek and was the language of the people.
The dispute was finally resolved in , when Dimotiki was made the only official variation of the Greek language, and Katharevousa fell to disuse.
Greece is today relatively homogeneous in linguistic terms, with a large majority of the native population using Greek as their first or only language.
Among the Greek-speaking population, speakers of the distinctive Pontic dialect came to Greece from Asia Minor after the Greek genocide and constitute a sizable group.
The Cappadocian dialect came to Greece due to the genocide as well, but is endangered and is barely spoken now.
Indigenous Greek dialects include the archaic Greek spoken by the Sarakatsani , traditionally transhument mountain shepherds of Greek Macedonia and other parts of Northern Greece.
The Tsakonian language , a distinct Greek language deriving from Doric Greek instead of Koine Greek , is still spoken in some villages in the southeastern Peloponnese.
The Muslim minority in Thrace, which amounts to approximately 0. Romani is also spoken by Christian Roma in other parts of the country.
Further minority languages have traditionally been spoken by regional population groups in various parts of the country. Their use has decreased radically in the course of the 20th century through assimilation with the Greek-speaking majority.
Today they are only maintained by the older generations and are on the verge of extinction. This goes for the Arvanites , an Albanian -speaking group mostly located in the rural areas around the capital Athens, and for the Aromanians and Moglenites , also known as Vlachs , whose language is closely related to Romanian and who used to live scattered across several areas of mountainous central Greece.
Members of these groups ethnically identify as Greeks  and are today all at least bilingual in Greek. Near the northern Greek borders there are also some Slavic—speaking groups , locally known as Slavomacedonian -speaking, most of whose members identify ethnically as Greeks.
It is estimated that after the population exchanges of , Macedonia had , to , Slavic speakers. Other notable minority languages include Armenian , Georgian , and the Greco-Turkic dialect spoken by the Urums , a community of Caucasus Greeks from the Tsalka region of central Georgia and ethnic Greeks from southeastern Ukraine who arrived in mainly Northern Greece as economic migrants in the s.
Net migration started to show positive numbers from the s, but until the beginning of the s, the main influx was that of returning Greek migrants or of Pontic Greeks and others from Russia , Georgia , Turkey the Czech Republic , and elsewhere in the former Soviet Bloc.
Of the non-citizen residents, 48, were EU or European Free Trade Association nationals and 17, were Cypriots with privileged status.
The majority come from Eastern European countries: In addition the total Albanian national population which includes temporary migrants and undocumented persons is around , There is also a considerable number of co-ethnics that came from the Greek communities of Albania and the former Soviet Union.
Greece, together with Italy and Spain, is a major entry point for illegal immigrants trying to enter the EU. Illegal immigrants entering Greece mostly do so from the border with Turkey at the Evros River and the islands of the eastern Aegean across from Turkey mainly Lesbos , Chios , Kos , and Samos.
In , the majority of illegal immigrants entering Greece came from Afghanistan , followed by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. Greeks have a long tradition of valuing and investing in paideia education , which was upheld as one of the highest societal values in the Greek and Hellenistic world.
Children start primary school aged six and remain there for six years. Attendance at gymnasia starts at age 12 and lasts for three years. As they can accept both Gymnasio lower secondary school and Lykeio upper secondary school graduates, these institutes are not classified as offering a particular level of education.
There are also State Non-University Tertiary Institutes offering vocationally oriented courses of shorter duration 2 to 3 years which operate under the authority of other Ministries.
Students are admitted to these Institutes according to their performance at national level examinations taking place after completion of the third grade of Lykeio.
Additionally, students over twenty-two years old may be admitted to the Hellenic Open University through a form of lottery.
The Capodistrian University of Athens is the oldest university in the eastern Mediterranean. The Greek education system also provides special kindergartens, primary, and secondary schools for people with special needs or difficulties in learning.
There are also specialist gymnasia and high schools offering musical, theological, and physical education. Seventy-two percent of Greek adults aged 25—64 have completed upper secondary education, which is slightly less than the OECD average of 74 percent.
This score is lower than the OECD average of On average, girls outperformed boys by 15 points, much more than the average OECD gap of two points.
Greece has universal health care. In a World Health Organization report, its health care system ranked 14th in overall performance of countries surveyed.
Life expectancy in Greece is The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Mycenaean Greece and continuing most notably into Classical Greece , through the influence of the Roman Empire and its Greek Eastern continuation, the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.
Other cultures and nations, such as the Latin and Frankish states , the Ottoman Empire , the Venetian Republic , the Genoese Republic , and the British Empire have also left their influence on modern Greek culture, although historians credit the Greek War of Independence with revitalising Greece and giving birth to a single, cohesive entity of its multi-faceted culture.
In ancient times, Greece was the birthplace of Western culture. The ancient Greeks pioneered in many fields that rely on systematic thought, including biology, geometry, history,  philosophy,  physics and mathematics.
In their pursuit of order and proportion, the Greeks created an ideal of beauty that strongly influenced Western art.
Artistic production in Greece began in the prehistoric pre-Greek Cycladic and the Minoan civilizations, both of which were influenced by local traditions and the art of ancient Egypt.
There were several interconnected traditions of painting in ancient Greece. Due to their technical differences, they underwent somewhat differentiated developments.
Not all painting techniques are equally well represented in the archaeological record. The most respected form of art, according to authors like Pliny or Pausanias , were individual, mobile paintings on wooden boards, technically described as panel paintings.
Also, the tradition of wall painting in Greece goes back at least to the Minoan and Mycenaean Bronze Age , with the lavish fresco decoration of sites like Knossos , Tiryns and Mycenae.
Much of the figural or architectural sculpture of ancient Greece was painted colourfully. This aspect of Greek stonework is described as polychrome.
Ancient Greek sculpture was composed almost entirely of marble or bronze ; with cast bronze becoming the favoured medium for major works by the early 5th century.
Both marble and bronze are easy to form and very durable. Chryselephantine sculptures, used for temple cult images and luxury works, used gold , most often in leaf form and ivory for all or parts faces and hands of the figure, and probably gems and other materials, but were much less common, and only fragments have survived.
By the early 19th century, the systematic excavation of ancient Greek sites had brought forth a plethora of sculptures with traces of notably multicolored surfaces.
It was not until published findings by German archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann in the late 20th century, that the painting of ancient Greek sculptures became an established fact.
The art production continued also during the Byzantine era. If classical art was marked by the attempt to create representations that mimicked reality as closely as possible, Byzantine art seems to have abandoned this attempt in favor of a more symbolic approach.
The Byzantine painting concentrated mainly on icons and hagiographies. The Macedonian art Byzantine was the artistic expression of Macedonian Renaissance , a label sometimes used to describe the period of the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire — , especially the 10th century, which some scholars have seen as a time of increased interest in classical scholarship and the assimilation of classical motifs into Christian artwork.
The first artistic movement in the Greek Kingdom can be considered the Greek academic art of the 19th century Munich School.
The architecture of ancient Greece was produced by the ancient Greeks Hellenes , whose culture flourished on the Greek mainland, the Aegean Islands and their colonies , for a period from about BC until the 1st century AD, with the earliest remaining architectural works dating from around BC.
The formal vocabulary of ancient Greek architecture, in particular the division of architectural style into three defined orders: Byzantine architecture is the architecture promoted by the Byzantine Empire , also known as the Eastern Roman Empire, which dominated Greece and the Greek speaking world during the Middle Ages.
The empire endured for more than a millennium , dramatically influencing Medieval architecture throughout Europe and the Near East, and becoming the primary progenitor of the Renaissance and Ottoman architectural traditions that followed its collapse.
After the Greek Independence , the modern Greek architects tried to combine traditional Greek and Byzantine elements and motives with the western European movements and styles.
Patras was the first city of the modern Greek state to develop a city plan. In January , Stamatis Voulgaris , a Greek engineer of the French army, presented the plan of the new city to the Governor Kapodistrias , who approved it.
Voulgaris applied the orthogonal rule in the urban complex of Patras. Two special genres can be considered the Cycladic architecture , featuring white-coloured houses, in the Cyclades and the Epirotic architecture in the region of Epirus.
After the establishment of the Greek Kingdom , the architecture of Athens and other cities was mostly influenced by the Neoclassical architecture.
For Athens, the first King of Greece , Otto of Greece , commissioned the architects Stamatios Kleanthis and Eduard Schaubert to design a modern city plan fit for the capital of a state.
Theatre in its western form was born in Greece. Tragedy late 6th century BC , comedy BC , and the satyr play were the three dramatic genres to emerge there.
During the Byzantine period, the theatrical art was heavily declined. According to Marios Ploritis, the only form survived was the folk theatre Mimos and Pantomimos , despite the hostility of the official state.
The renaissance which led to the modern Greek theatre, took place in the Venetian Crete. Significal dramatists include Vitsentzos Kornaros and Georgios Chortatzis.
The modern Greek theatre was born after the Greek independence , in the early 19th century, and initially was influenced by the Heptanesean theatre and melodrama, such as the Italian opera.
During the late 19th and early 20th century, the Athenian theatre scene was dominated by revues , musical comedies , operettas and nocturnes and notable playwrights included Spyridon Samaras , Dionysios Lavrangas , Theophrastos Sakellaridis and others.
Greek literature can be divided into three main categories: Ancient, Byzantine and modern Greek literature. Athens is considered the birthplace of Western literature.
In the classical period many of the genres of western literature became more prominent. Lyrical poetry , odes , pastorals , elegies , epigrams ; dramatic presentations of comedy and tragedy ; historiography , rhetorical treatises, philosophical dialectics, and philosophical treatises all arose in this period.
The two major lyrical poets were Sappho and Pindar. The Classical era also saw the dawn of drama. Of the hundreds of tragedies written and performed during the classical age, only a limited number of plays by three authors have survived: The surviving plays by Aristophanes are also a treasure trove of comic presentation, while Herodotus and Thucydides are two of the most influential historians in this period.
The greatest prose achievement of the 4th century was in philosophy with the works of the three great philosophers.
Byzantine literature refers to literature of the Byzantine Empire written in Atticizing , Medieval and early Modern Greek , and it is the expression of the intellectual life of the Byzantine Greeks during the Christian Middle Ages.
Although popular Byzantine literature and early Modern Greek literature both began in the 11th century, the two are indistinguishable.
Modern Greek literature refers to literature written in common Modern Greek, emerging from late Byzantine times in the 11th century.
The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is undoubtedly the masterpiece of this period of Greek literature. It is a verse romance written around by Vitsentzos Kornaros — Later, during the period of Greek enlightenment Diafotismos , writers such as Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios prepared with their works the Greek Revolution — Two Greek authors have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature: George Seferis in and Odysseas Elytis in Most western philosophical traditions began in Ancient Greece in the 6th century BC.
The first philosophers are called "Presocratics," which designates that they came before Socrates , whose contributions mark a turning point in western thought.
The Presocratics were from the western or the eastern colonies of Greece and only fragments of their original writings survive, in some cases merely a single sentence.
A new period of philosophy started with Socrates. Like the Sophists , he rejected entirely the physical speculations in which his predecessors had indulged, and made the thoughts and opinions of people his starting-point.
Aspects of Socrates were first united from Plato , who also combined with them many of the principles established by earlier philosophers, and developed the whole of this material into the unity of a comprehensive system.
Aristotle of Stagira , the most important disciple of Plato, shared with his teacher the title of the greatest philosopher of antiquity. But while Plato had sought to elucidate and explain things from the supra-sensual standpoint of the forms, his pupil preferred to start from the facts given us by experience.
Except from these three most significant Greek philosophers other known schools of Greek philosophy from other founders during ancient times were Stoicism , Epicureanism , Skepticism and Neoplatonism.
Byzantine philosophy refers to the distinctive philosophical ideas of the philosophers and scholars of the Byzantine Empire , especially between the 8th and 15th centuries.
It was characterised by a Christian world-view, but one which could draw ideas directly from the Greek texts of Plato , Aristotle , and the Neoplatonists.
On the eve of the Fall of Constantinople , Gemistus Pletho tried to restore the use of the term "Hellene" and advocated the return to the Olympian Gods of the ancient world.
After a number of Greek Byzantine scholars who fled to western Europe contributed to the Renaissance. In modern period, Diafotismos Greek: Greek vocal music extends far back into ancient times where mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration and spiritual reasons.
Instruments during that period included the double-reed aulos and the plucked string instrument, the lyre , especially the special kind called a kithara.
Music played an important role in the education system during ancient times. Boys were taught music from the age of six. While the new technique of polyphony was developing in the West, the Eastern Orthodox Church resisted any type of change.
Therefore, Byzantine music remained monophonic and without any form of instrumental accompaniment. As a result, and despite certain attempts by certain Greek chanters such as Manouel Gazis, Ioannis Plousiadinos or the Cypriot Ieronimos o Tragoudistis , Byzantine music was deprived of elements of which in the West encouraged an unimpeded development of art.
However, this method which kept music away from polyphony, along with centuries of continuous culture, enabled monophonic music to develop to the greatest heights of perfection.
Byzantium presented the monophonic Byzantine chant ; a melodic treasury of inestimable value for its rhythmical variety and expressive power.
Along with the Byzantine Church chant and music, the Greek people also cultivated the Greek folk song Demotiko which is divided into two cycles, the akritic and klephtic.
The akritic was created between the 9th and 10th centuries and expressed the life and struggles of the akrites frontier guards of the Byzantine empire, the most well known being the stories associated with Digenes Akritas.
The klephtic cycle came into being between the late Byzantine period and the start of the Greek War of Independence. The klephtic cycle, together with historical songs, paraloghes narrative song or ballad , love songs, mantinades , wedding songs, songs of exile and dirges express the life of the Greeks.
For the first part of the next century, several Greek composers continued to borrow elements from the Heptanesean style. Rebetiko , initially a music associated with the lower classes, later and especially after the population exchange between Greece and Turkey reached greater general acceptance as the rough edges of its overt subcultural character were softened and polished, sometimes to the point of unrecognizability.
Regarding the classical music, it was through the Ionian islands which were under western rule and influence that all the major advances of the western European classical music were introduced to mainland Greeks.
The region is notable for the birth of the first School of modern Greek classical music Heptanesean or Ionian School , Greek: In the 20th century, Greek composers have had a significant impact on the development of avant garde and modern classical music , with figures such as Iannis Xenakis , Nikos Skalkottas , and Dimitri Mitropoulos achieving international prominence.
Greek American composers known for their film scores include also Yanni and Basil Poledouris. During the dictatorship of the Colonels , the music of Mikis Theodorakis was banned by the junta and the composer was jailed, internally exiled, and put in a concentration camp ,  before finally being allowed to leave Greece due to international reaction to his detention.
Released during the junta years, Anthrope Agapa, ti Fotia Stamata Make Love, Stop the Gunfire , by the pop group Poll is considered the first anti-war protest song in the history of Greek rock.
Greece participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 35 times after its debut at the Contest. Greek cuisine is characteristic of the healthy Mediterranean diet , which is epitomised by dishes of Crete.
Throughout Greece people often enjoy eating from small dishes such as meze with various dips such as tzatziki , grilled octopus and small fish, feta cheese , dolmades rice, currants and pine kernels wrapped in vine leaves , various pulses , olives and cheese.
Olive oil is added to almost every dish. Some sweet desserts include melomakarona , diples and galaktoboureko , and drinks such as ouzo , metaxa and a variety of wines including retsina.
Greek cuisine differs widely from different parts of the mainland and from island to island. It uses some flavorings more often than other Mediterranean cuisines: Other common herbs and spices include basil , thyme and fennel seed.
Many Greek recipes, especially in the northern parts of the country, use "sweet" spices in combination with meat, for example cinnamon and cloves in stews.
Cinema first appeared in Greece in , but the first actual cine-theatre was opened in in Athens. In the Asty Films Company was founded and the production of long films began.
The s and early s are considered by many to be a "golden age" of Greek cinema. Directors and actors of this era were recognised as important figures in Greece and some gained international acclaim: More than sixty films per year were made, with the majority having film noir elements.
During the s and s, Theo Angelopoulos directed a series of notable and appreciated movies. Greece is the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games , first recorded in BC in Olympia , and hosted the modern Olympic Games twice, the inaugural Summer Olympics and the Summer Olympics.
During the parade of nations Greece is always called first, as the founding nation of the ancient precursor of modern Olympics. The nation has competed at every Summer Olympic Games , one of only four countries to have done so.
Having won a total of medals 30 gold, 42 silver and 38 bronze , Greece is ranked 32nd by gold medals in the all-time Summer Olympic medal count.
Their best ever performance was in the Summer Olympics, when Greece finished second in the medal table with 10 gold medals. The Greek national football team , ranking 12th in the world in and having reached a high of 8th in the world in and ,  were crowned European Champions in Euro in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport.
As of [update] , it ranked 4th in the world and 2nd in Europe. The domestic top basketball league, A1 Ethniki , is composed of fourteen teams. Greek basketball teams are the most successful in European basketball the last 25 years , having won 9 Euroleagues since the establishment of the modern era Euroleague Final Four format in , while no other nation has won more than 4 Euroleague championships in this period.
After the European Championship triumph of the Greek national basketball team, Greece became the reigning European Champion in both football and basketball.
They also won the silver medal at the Summer Olympics , the gold medal at the World League and the silver medals at the and European Championships.
The Greek league, the A1 Ethniki , is considered one of the top volleyball leagues in Europe and the Greek clubs have had significant success in European competitions.
Olympiacos is the most successful volleyball club in the country having won the most domestic titles and being the only Greek club to have won European titles; they have won two CEV Cups , they have been CEV Champions League runners-up twice and they have played in 12 Final Fours in the European competitions, making them one of the most traditional volleyball clubs in Europe.
Iraklis have also seen significant success in European competitions, having been three times runners-up of the CEV Champions League. Apart from these, cricket is relatively popular in Corfu.
The numerous gods of the ancient Greek religion as well as the mythical heroes and events of the ancient Greek epics The Odyssey and The Iliad and other pieces of art and literature from the time make up what is nowadays colloquially referred to as Greek mythology.
Apart from serving a religious function, the mythology of the ancient Greek world also served a cosmological role as it was meant to try to explain how the world was formed and operated.
The principal gods of the ancient Greek religion were the Dodekatheon , or the Twelve Gods , who lived on the top of Mount Olympus.
Apart from these twelve gods, Greeks also had a variety of other mystical beliefs, such as nymphs and other magical creatures. According to Greek law, every Sunday of the year is a public holiday.
In addition, there are four mandatory official public holidays: There are, however, more public holidays celebrated in Greece than are announced by the Ministry of Labour each year as either obligatory or optional.
The list of these non-fixed national holidays rarely changes and has not changed in recent decades, giving a total of eleven national holidays each year.
In addition to the national holidays, there are public holidays that are not celebrated nationwide, but only by a specific professional group or a local community.
On such days it is customary for schools to take the day off. Notable festivals, beyond the religious fests, include Patras Carnival , Athens Festival and various local wine festivals.
The city of Thessaloniki is also home of a number of festivals and events. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article contains too many pictures, charts or diagrams for its overall length.
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For other uses, see Greece disambiguation and Hellas. Hellenistic Greece and Roman Greece. Wars of Alexander the Great and Roman Empire.
Byzantine Greece and Frankokratia. Byzantine Empire and Fourth Crusade. Phanariotes and Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Kingdom of Candia and Ionian Islands under Venetian rule. History of modern Greece. This section needs additional citations for verification.
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List of islands of Greece. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. October Learn how and when to remove this template message.
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