This northern region is blessed with a truly diverse and rich landscape that makes it an ideal environment for a wide variety of fauna and flora. The historical significance of the area of Macedonia - Thrace is also very important, since Macedonia was the birthplace of Alexander the Great and has a 4000 year history and civilisation.
Macedonia is the largest and second most populous Greek region. Together with the regions of Thessaly and Thrace, it is referred to as northern Greece. Macedonia covers an area of some 34,231 square kilometers. High ground makes up much of the region with mountains reaching up to 2,917 meters-high and plains lie along the Aegean coast.
Macedonia borders the countries of Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and the Greek regions of Epirus, Thessaly and Thrace. The offshore island of Thasos is within the precincts of Macedonia and together with the island of Samothrace they belong to the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. The region has a population of 2,492,232 and its capital and largest city is Thessaloniki, with a city population of around 363,987 and a metropolitan area of around 1 million people. The geographical region of Macedonia also includes the male-only autonomous monastic republic of Mount Athos that is not part of the Macedonia precincts and due to the whole mountain's monastic status, is inaccessible to women.
Macedonia is subdivided into three administrative districts; East, Central and West Macedonia. These districts are is in turn divided into thirteen prefectures, some of which are Thessaloniki, Chalkidiki, Kastoria, Edessa, and Kavala.
Thrace is located in the north-eastern tip of Greece and is comprised of three regions. These are the Perfectures of Evros (population 150,580) whose capital is Alexandroupoli, Rodopi (population 112,883) whose capital is Komotini and Xanthi (population 105,530).