Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in southern Europe, situated on the southern end of the Balkan peninsula. It is bordered by Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania to the north and by Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece while the Ionian Sea lies to the west. Both, parts of the eastern Mediterranean basin, feature a vast number of islands.
Regarded as the cradle of western civilization and being the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, the Olympic Games and of the arts and drama including both tragedy and comedy, Greece has a very long and remarkably rich history during which its culture has proven to be especially influential in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. Today, Greece is a developed nation, member of the European Union since 1981 and a member of the Eurozone since 2001.