Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years, and the earliest human presence around the 11th–7th millennium BC.
The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments.
Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament (19th century) and the Athens Trilogy, consisting of the National Library of Greece, the Athens University and the Academy of Athens.
Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics. Athens is home to the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, as well as the new Acropolis Museum.
It can be reached by taking Metro Line 2 (red) and alighting at Acropolis station. Emerging from the station escalator, turn left a few yards and then left again and you’re on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, with the great bulk of the Acropolis rising on your right. Walk straight up the gently rising street, passing the new Acropolis Museum and neoclassical mansions on the left.
The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on its feet, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. It also lies on the archaeological site of Makrygianni and the ruins of a part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens.
New Acropolis Museum, 2-4 Makrygianni Street, Tel.: +30 210 9241043,
The National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is the largest archaeological museum in Greece and one of the most important museums in the world devoted to ancient Greek art. Its abundant collections, with more than 11,000 exhibits, provide a panorama of Greek civilization from the beginnings of Prehistory to Late Antiquity.
National Archaeological Museum, 44 Patission Street, Athens 10682, Tel.: +30 2132144800, www.namuseum.gr
Originally built in the 4th century B.C. for the athletic event of Panathinaea. During this annual athletic event, the stadium hosted racing, boxing, jumping, javelin throw, chariot and horse racing. Also known as Kallimarmaron (beautiful marble), it was rebuilt once again to host the first modern Olympic Games of 1896. It is the only stadium in the world built entirely with marble and is one of the oldest. The stadium is located in the central Athens district of Pangrati, east of the National Garden. Vasileos Konstantinou Anevue, Mets (opposite the statue of Myron Discobolus), Tel: 210 75 22 984-6,
Megaron – The Athens Concert Hall
The Athens Concert Hall offers a comprehensive range of facilities for all sorts of cultural activities, designed to the very highest specifications and one of the most impressive venues of its kind anywhere in the world. It offers a forum for all sorts of cultural activities – both artistic and educational.
Athens Concert Hall, Vassilisis Sofias Avenue & Kokkali Street, 115 21 Athens, Tel.: +30 210 7282000, www.megaron.gr
Plaka is the old historical neighborhood of Athens, clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, incorporating labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture. Plaka is built on top of the residential areas of the ancient town of Athens. It is known as the "Neighborhood of the Gods" due to its proximity to the Acropolis and its many archaeological sites. Plaka is on the northeast slope of Acropolis, between Syntagma and Monastiraki square. Adrianou Street (running north and south) is the largest and most central street in Plaka and divides it into two areas: the upper level, - Ano Plaka - located right under the Acropolis and the lower level - Kato Plaka - situated between Syntagma and Monastiraki.
Museums in Plaka include the new Jewish Museum of Greece, the Museum of Greek Folk Art, an annex of which is the Old Public Baths building, the Frissiras Museum, the Museum of Popular Music Instruments, the Museum of Pavlos and Alexandra Kanellopoulou and the Athens University Museum. Excavations have proven that Adrianou Street is the oldest street in Athens still in continuous use with exactly the same layout since antiquity.
Thisseio is located at the end of Ancient Agora (built in 450 B.C.). Its name derives from the Temple of Hephaestus, also known as Τhisseio, as it was, in earlier times, considered a temple of Theseus. Pnyx Hill is on the west side of the Acropolis; nowadays it hosts the “Sound & Light” show. Pnyx was in the ancient times the meeting place of Athenians. Facing the Acropolis is the Philopappou Hill, with the funeral monument of Philopappus (a Roman consul of the 2nd century A.D.) on its top. The cave located there is believed to have been the prison of Socrates, where he drank the hemlock. The historical Agioi Asomatoi church is situated in Thisseio. The area has cafes and meeting points, which are most crowded during summer. Thisseio is served by the nearby metro station.
Monastiraki is a flea market neighborhood in the old town of Athens and is one of the principal shopping districts in Athens. The area is home to clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, and specialty stores, and is a major tourist attraction in Athens for bargain shopping. The main streets of this area are Pandrossou Street and Adrianou Street. The Monastiraki Metro Station, located on the square, serves both Line 1 and Line 3 of the Athens Metro.
Psyri is a gentrified neighborhood in Athens, Greece, today known for its restaurants, bars, live music taverns, and small number of hotels. It has now become one of the most fashionable and trendy choices in the center of Athens for accommodation, entertainment and food hospitality. The central square of Psyri is called "Heroes Square".
This area is for the explorer. Around 6 p.m. Psyri undergoes the transformation from working class light industrial, to a mecca of cafes, bars, restaurants and ouzeries. The mix of uses in this area of Athens is very successful. The streets are filled with tables and chairs, and what where parking lots during the day become dramatically lighted dining areas for restaurants at night. It seems like a perfect place for a quick getaway from the bustle of the city. People use this space at all times of the day, for different reasons. They either work there during the day, or go out for a night of entertainment. The easiest way to enter Psyri is from one of the small roads between the Attalos Hotel and Monistiraki Square on Athinas Street.
The Lycabettus Hill is Athens’ highest hill, offering a panoramic city view. Reach the top either on foot, by car or by a funicular taken from the end of Ploutarchou Street in Kolonaki district (nearby the metro station “Evangelismos”). During the summer period, major events and festivals take place there. On the top of the hill is a small 19th century chapel of Saint George. Not far from there one can find a café.
Syntagma Square is the Athens Central Area; a Plaza with metro, tram stations, bus stops, outdoor cafes, trees and a fountain. The Syntagma area is the downtown shopping center, called Ermou Street, with small shops and shopping malls, travel agencies, banks, cafes, fast food and restaurants and all types of hotels. It is also called “Constitution Square”, as it is facing the Parliament, in front of which the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” is located, where dignitaries lay wreaths. It is guarded day and night by two soldiers, called “evzones”, who are dressed in traditional skirted uniforms. The National Garden is located behind the Parliament. Within the Garden, the Zappeion Exhibition Hall is found. In 1888 it was one of the first buildings in Europe specifically designed for exhibitions and conferences.
National Garden of Athens
The National Garden, is open to the public from sunrise to sunset. The main entrance is on Leoforos Amalias, the street named after the Queen who envisioned this park. You can also enter the garden from one of three other gates: the central one, on Vasilissis Sophias Avenue, another on Herodou Attikou Street and the third gate connects the National Garden with the Zappeion park area. In the National Garden there are a duck pond, a Botanical Museum, a small cafe and a Children's Library and playground.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus is also known as the Olympieion or the Columns of the Olympian Zeus. It is a colossal ruined temple in the center of Athens that was dedicated to the king of the Olympian Gods, Zeus. Nearby is the Arch of Hadrian which was erected in 132 AD as a gate between the ancient city and the Roman city of Athens.
The temple is located south-east of the Acropolis, about 700 m south of the center of Athens, near Syntagma Square.
Vouliagmeni Lake, in the heart of the Athenian Riviera, is the hidden treasure of Attica’s nature. Situated on an idyllic landscape, this rare geological phenomenon is waiting to be discovered. The lake’s brackish waters which are continuously replenished both by the sea and the underground thermal springs offer a natural and unique thermal spa experience.
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