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Geography & Topography

Capital: Athens

Population: 10,895,197 people

Area: 131,972 km(50,949 square miles) 

Language: Greek

Ethnic Groups: Greek (94%), Albanian (4%), Other (2%)

Religion: Greek Orthodox (91%), Other (5.1%), Islam (3.9%)

Currency: Euro



Greece is approximately 15,000 km from Australia, and Melbourne has the largest Greek population outside of Greece. Greece has a population of approximately 11 million and features between 1200 and 6000 islands, 227 of which are inhabited.  A large majority of the native population use Greek as their first or only language. Athens is the capital of Greece and the largest city in the country.

Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of ancient Greece, generally considered the cradle of Western civilisation. Ancient Greece is considered to be the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, university education and Western drama, including tragedy and comedy.

Performing Arts


Until recently the main styles of music played in Greece were vocal music and folk music, although today’s contemporary Éntekhno, Éntekhno pop, hip hop, pop and rock are also popular.


The most recognizable instruments in traditional Greek music are:


Bouzouki, also known as the pandura is the first fretted instrument


Bouzouki: The Bouzouki originated in ancient Greece (known as the pandura) and it was the first fretted instrument. The Bouzouki has a long neck and a pear-shaped body front that is usually heavily inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The instrument belongs to the lute family, played with a plectrum and has a sharp metallic sound. It can have three or four pairs of strings (courses).



Clarinet, a woodwind instrument with a cylindrical bore




Clarinet: Although many Greeks regard the clarinet as a native instrument, the clarinet has its roots in the early single-reed instruments or hornpipes used in the Middle East and Europe since the Middle Ages. It is a woodwind instrument with a cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed. Clarinets comprise a family of instruments of differing sizes and pitches, with more than a dozen types, although the B♭ soprano clarinet is by far the most commonly played clarinet.


The stringed Lyre, originated from Ancient Greek has similar appearance with a small harp which can be strummed with a plectrum or plucked



Stringed Lyre: The lyre originated from ancient Greece, where it was popular in gender mixed chorus, especially the special kind called a kithara. The lyre is similar in appearance to a small harp. A classical lyre has a hollow body, which in ancient Greek tradition was made out of turtle shell, from which extends two raised arms that are connected near the top by a crossbar or yoke. The lyre can be strummed with a plectrum, or plucked.


Some interesting facts:

  • About 7% of all the marble produced in the world comes from Greece.
  • Approximately 16.5 million tourists visit Greece each year, more than the country’s entire population.
  • Greek has been spoken for more than 3,000 years, making it one of the oldest languages in Europe.

Greek community in Australia:

More information on the Greek community: