Greece (Greek: Ελλάδα [eˈlaða] Elláda), officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία [eliniˈci ðimokraˈti.a] Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía), is a country in Southeast Europe. According to the 2011 census, Greece's population is around 11 million. Athens is the nation's capital and largest city, its urban area also including Piraeus.
Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa and has land borders with Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, and Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the northeast. 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 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km (8,498 mi) in length, featuring a vast number of islands (approximately 1,400, of which 227 are inhabited), including Crete, the Dodecanese, the Cyclades, and the Ionian Islands among others. Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest at 2,917 m (9,570 ft).
Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of Ancient Greece, generally considered the cradle of Western civilization. As such, it is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy. This legacy is partly reflected in the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Greece, ranking it 7th in Europe and 13th in the world. Greek language, culture, and identity emerged early in human history, having endured centuries of significant political and social change, including foreign domination. The modern Greek state, which encompasses much of the historical core of Greek civilization, was established in 1830, following the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Greece is a founding member of the United Nations, has been a member of what is now the European Union since 1981, joined the eurozone in 2001, and has been a member of NATO since 1952. Greece is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy and with very high standard of living, including the world's 21st highest quality of life as of 2010. Greece's economy is also the largest in the Balkans, where Greece is an important regional investor.
The names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures. Although the Greeks call the country Hellas or Ellada (Greek: Ελλάς, Ελλάδα) and its official name is the Hellenic Republic, in English it is referred to as Greece, which comes from the Latin term Graecia as used by the Romans, which literally means 'the land of the Greeks', and derives from the Greek name Γραικός. However, the name Hellas is sometimes used in English as well.