ATHENS, GREECE - General Information
city of Athens is one of the few places in the world that
can boast a history of over 5000 years. No other place contributed
so much to Western Civilization as did Athens, when it was
the spiritual center of the world back in its heyday in the
5th century BC.
Many of the principles of modern day society can be traced
back to Ancient Athens, the birthplace of Democracy. Athens
was the place where some of the world's greatest philosophers
and thinkers, such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle changed
the way we think and perceive the world even today. Science
and the arts reached an unparalleled peak during that time
and a new art form, theater, was born in ancient Athens. A
symbol of that era of Athens is the Acropolis, towering high
above the city.
Following the decline of the ancient empires, Athens power
and influence had dwindled during this time, however its heritage
passed on to become the foundation of today's modern society.
Athens itself turned into a small town during the Middle Ages,
a time that was followed by centuries of foreign rule. It
was just over 170 years ago that Athens became the capital
of the young Greek state, after a fierce war of independence.
The 20th century brought an explosive growth to Athens, transforming
it into a vibrant metropolis of over 4 Million of population,
and one of the world's most fascinating places.
to Athens will experience a city combining modern and ancient
buildings. Athens visitors can see the the Dionysos Theater
the world's oldest theater where the great theatrical plays
of Aeschilus, Evripides and Sophocles were first performed,
or walk around the Pnyx where the Athenian citizens assembled
and voted on major political issues. Visitors can also stroll
around the Agora, the ancient marketplace, can climb onto
Arios Pagos, the seat of the court of parliament, where the
Apostle Paul preached to the Athenians.
The most memorable part of any visit to Athens, would be the
ascent to the Acropolis. The magnificent Parthenon, build
on top of the hill in the 5th century BC, is one of the greatest
architectural monuments of all times. The temple is dedicated
to Goddess Athena, the Goddess that gave its name to the city
of Athens. A unique archaeological park featuring temples,
theaters, cemeteries and marketplaces surrounds the Acropolis.
Athens visitors can see famed monuments such as the Olympian
Zeus Temple, the Keramikos ancient cemetery, the Ancient Agora,
the Hephaistos Temple, the Attalos Arcade, the Tower of Winds
and much more.
Splendid works of art can been seen at the National Archaeological
museum. Athens is also the home of many other museums such
as the Benakis Museum, the Byzantine Museum, the Museum of
Athens also features several more sights to visit. The stately
19th century buildings such as the Panathenaikon Stadium,
the University of Athens, the Zappion, the Iliou Melathron.
The Greek parliament on Syntagma Square, with its frequent
change of the guards in front of the parliament by soldiers
dressed in colorful traditional costumes. The hills around
Athens serve as excellent vantage points offering panoramic
views over Athens city, the most spectacular of which is from
the top of Lycavitos Hill in central Athens. The hilltop with
its picturesque Saint George Church can be reached on foot,
by car or cable car.
popular with the Athens visitor is Plaka, the old town of
Athens, with its narrow streets, picturesque churches and
old mansions. These quarters which have been continually inhabited
for over 5,000 years, have retained the charm of a bygone
era and are a reminder of the way Athens used to be a few
decades ago. Few other places are so filled with historic
sites as Plaka; ancient monuments, Byzantine churches, mosques
and stately homes stand side by side. Scattered through the
Plaka quarters are cafes, tavernas and numerous shops. This
inviting neighborhood is a pleasure to stroll day or night.
Next to Plaka is Monastiraki with its small shops. Around
Avyssinias Square you will find lots of bargains and a huge
variety of new and antique items. Nearby is also the historical
central market of Athens, on Athinas Street with a great variety
of food, as well as the fashionable and lively district of
Psiri with Art Galleries, trendy bars and restaurants. Most
restaurants offer live Greek music with your meal.
DINING AND ENTERTAINMENT IN ATHENS
are well known for their zest for life, so it comes as no
surprise that Athens has a hedonistic nightlife, with late
suppers being typically taken around 10.00 PM onwards and
nightclubs filling up after midnight.
Visitors should eat at least once in a typical Greek taverna,
to experience the local fare and the local retsina wine, the
Ouzo and the myriad of appetizers and "Mezedes"
will prove to be a challenge for the most avid shopper. The
most exclusive area for fashion is Kolonaki, with its many
boutiques featuring designer labels. Elegant shops can also
be found in Ermou Street, Ermou runs from Syntagma Square
passed Monastiraki and on to the most popular cafe and nightlife
area of Thission. Many boutiques for both men and women can
be found around Omonia Square and on Patission Street, as
well as in the southern seaside suburb of Glyfada and in the
northern suburb of Kifissia.
is one of the few great cities of the world that is also a
beach resort and it takes only minutes to reach several excellent
beaches from central Athens. The southern suburbs such as
Glyfada and Vouliagmeni, have become fashionable cosmopolitan
destinations in themselves, combining the pleasures of a seaside
resort with the trappings of a city. The beaches nearest to
the city center are situated in the suburbs of Paleo Faliro,
Alimos, Elliniko, Glyfada and Voula. Further away are the
beaches of Kavouri, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza which call be
easily accessed by inexpensive Athens taxis or by public transport.