Athens – One of the oldest cities in the world

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Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world, a cradle of European civilization, the capital of Greece. It is a city of many cultural and historical sights, a city of myths, Greek gods, a city known for its lively nightlife, a place where the remains of the ancient past, imagination and reality meet.

It is a city with the most famous buildings in the world, a cradle of democracy, philosophy, tragedy. The city extends between these extremes, and the diverse influences of the East and the West interweave in markets, cafes and taverns built on ancient ruins, and lean on Byzantine churches crowned with gold. Athens – once one of the most powerful city-states.

Athens is a major cultural and historical monument in which every corner and every building is talking about its story. It is impossible to go to Athens and stay indifferent because the trip to Athens is not a trip like any other. It is a journey into the past and an introduction to the ancient culture and the history of one of the oldest civilizations in the world.

In Athens, all myths and legends become real, and the gods are all around you. And how would they not be when the capital of Greece was named after the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, who for centuries was the protector of the city. Athens is located on the Attica peninsula, all the way to the central Greece.

It is surrounded by the mountains of Imitos, Pandeli and Parnitha from the north and east, while on the south and west it enters the Saronic Gulf. 333 sunny days a year allow tourists to visit this beautiful city whenever they want. The climate is among the most pleasant in Europe, with mild winters and fierce summers, and with an average temperature of 13 degrees you are unlikely to be cold while walking down the city center or by the sea.

Athens is located just a few kilometers from the port of Piraeus, the main commercial port. In addition to the store, hundreds of thousands of tourists each year from the Piraeus port are heading towards the Greek islands.

Athens is a city of diversity. Walking around the old parts of the city, the coexistence of different epochs is revealed. Old houses and modern palaces, narrow streets and spacious squares, modern shopping centers and small grocery stores, fancy restaurants and traditional tavernas, all have a place in this city. This is a perfect destination for those who want to escape from the winter, an ideal destination for relaxing and holidays.

The gardens of taverns and cafes are always open for enjoying the Mediterranean sun, great Greek cuisine and the scent of the sea. A few kilometers from the historic center of the city is the famous Glyfada resort, where you can enjoy long sandy beaches and a sea breeze outside the city bustle. Or you can head north and enjoy the fresh mountain air and nature. Lovers of architecture will find interesting neoclassical buildings: Parliament, Academy, University and Biotechnology.

In Athens, there are significant archaeological monuments, and in the city itself there are many museums that preserve a unique treasure of cultural heritage. Athens is well known for its nightlife and entertainment. The city is completely changed at night, and great possibilities of entertainment satisfy all the tastes. The famous Buzuki is among the most popular. We should not forget the excellent offer of Athens’s theaters.

The tour of Athens may be best started from the Acropolis Museum, the magnificent building in Makrigianni, at the foot of the Acropolis. It can not be said if you will be more thrilled with the fact that you are in one of the most beautiful and most important museums in the world or that you walk through the transparent floors below which is the most famous European archeological finder. The Acropolis Museum is home to numerous masterpieces of the ancient Greek civilization and it contains true treasure of Greece, thanks to which the country will forever be rich.

In addition to the fact that more than 4000 exhibits from the period from the 7th century BC to the Hellenistic period are located in the museum, there are five original caryatids in the museum.

These caryatids are due to their high sensitivity and the time-diving should be placed in the museum in order to protect themselves, while on the hill of the Acropolis there are faithful replicas. The original old museum was built in 1865 and it was located on the bass in Acropolis.

However, in the 1980s, it was decided that the museum should be displaced due to lack of space. The new museum opened in 2009 and it is a very modern and contemporary building with the latest equipment for storing these priceless exhibits. This is a museum that you will always want to see again, as many times you return to Athens.

Given that you have visited the Acropolis Museum, there is not much dilemma about what should be seen next. It is certainly the Hill of the Acropolis that is perfectly visible from the museum. Acropolis is home to magnificent buildings for which there is no time and whose value can not be estimated. These are timeless and priceless architectural buildings that testify to the past of the ancient Greek civilization whose spirit still lives.

At an altitude of 150 meters above sea level, the Acropolis today is proudly rising above modern Athens, reminding of the golden age of the Greek capital. At the very top of the hill there is a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, a famous Parthenon.

This is the largest and most important temple that has been dominating Athens for 2500 years and it was built in the Pericles period. As the fate of Athens changed throughout history, the fate of Parthenon was changed, so that Parthenon was a Christian church during centuries, during the Ottoman rule it was a mosque, then a powder mill, which almost led to its destruction during the shelling of the Venetians in the 17th century.

Unfortunately, Parthenon has been damaged many times, but it continues to be a permanent symbol of ancient Greece and Athens democracy, and belongs to the world’s largest cultural monuments. Although the Acropolis Museum and the Parthenon are truly magnificent, you have not yet completed the sightseeing of the Acropolis. It remains to you to see Erechtheion, a unique building in the Ionian architectural style, with famous caries, i.e. sculptures in the form of women’s figures. Visit the Temple of Athens Nika, Brauroneion and the Library also while you are in the Acropolis.

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After visiting the Acropolis, head to the small village of Anafiotik, at the foot of the Acropolis, and experience the true spirit of Greece and its islands. Here you will see narrow streets with characteristic white houses with blue windows, similar to those of Santorini. In this village you will still be under the impression of the ancient spirit. Next station you certainly need to visit is Plaka.

Plaka is located at the foot of the Acropolis, the oldest quarter in Athens.

And it is possible to say that it is a true historical and artistic district, which is adorned with specific architecture. Picturesque houses with old facades, narrow streets mainly intended for pedestrians with a characteristic Greek cobblestone, a lot of old buildings and a very pleasant atmosphere make walking this part of Athens interesting and unforgettable. They are called Plaka and Bohemian district of Athens, Athens Montmartre.

Here you will enjoy traditional Greek beverages and drinks. Plaka has a large number of taverns and cafes, and on the menu there are basically everything from saganaki, musaka, hams with dried tomatoes, to traditional Greek pies, seafood specialties and the finest fish, and the most beautiful Greek wines. In addition to being the ideal place to try the best Greek cuisine, you can go shopping in Plaka because it has a large selection of shops.

Once you wish to go back to the historic sites, go to some of the many museums that exist in this beautiful neighborhood. After that, continue to the boulevard of Queen Amalia in order to reach one of the most important symbols of the Athens Synagogue. Syntagma is the capital city square, located in the city center, led by all the most popular streets in Athens. It has many cafes, luxury hotels and business buildings. From the square there is a view of the beautiful city park, which is a true oasis of peace in the heart of Athens.

When you are already on the square of the Syntagma, where the Greek Parliament is, take a little time to look at the famous shift of the Eurozone, the historic elite unit of the Greek army. This army keeps watch every day in front of the Grave of an unknown hero dressed in a traditional uniform. The guards are switching every hour, and a special fascination is that soldiers walk in clamps with 400 nails. Each nail symbolizes one year spent under the rule of Turks, and the movement of the soldiers shows the perseverance and pride of the Greek people. This is a real performance from which you can best be introduced to the Greek people. After the Syntagma square, head to another symbol of Athens, the square of Monastiraki.

Although Athens is best known for its historical monuments, this city is famous for its nightlife. Daily tours of incredible Athens sights can never be boring to you, but if you still want to meet Athens at night, know that Athens is a city that is never sleeps and a city that will give you energy during day and provide a great time. The evening party is left to you and for what you want. If you like a little more modern place then the Colonaki district is an ideal place. Here are the best Athenian clubs and bars with excellent music.

If you still want to experience the traditional spirit of Greece, go to Plaka in one of the many taverns where traditional Greek music is performed. When you relax from a night out, a new adventure awaits you. The next stop is Zeus’ temple. This temple is located between the National Gardens and Plaka, dedicated to the god of all the gods, and it was the greatest temple of its time. It was built around 480 BC.

The temple originally had 104 marble pillars 17 meters high and on the edge of the sights there is a triumphal gate called Hadrian’s arch which is not known when it was built. In the ancient world, it was known for having one of the wonders of the ancient world, Zeus’ statue. Today, sadly, there are only 16 pillars, but it is enough to see how great this temple was in its time.

Go back to the foot of the Acropolis and visit Dionysus Theater, one of the first and oldest theaters in Greece, the place where the first drama was performed, a place that is a cradle of tragedy. The theater is dedicated to Dionysus, one of the most important Greek gods, and it was built in a natural recess in the southern part of the Acropolis. It should be noted that this is the first theater in the world. During the 5th century, theater performances and plays of the great Greek poets Sophocles, Eshill and Euripides were made in this theater.

You learned something about the roots of the Greek theater, now you need to get acquainted with the place where democracy was formed, the place that was the center of political events in ancient Greece. It is Agora. Agora was once the heart of Athens and the place where people gathered and discussed various problems. There were assemblies, city offices and temples where ordinary citizens could meet in one place, traders and owners of stands and talk with politicians, philosophers and statesmen.

Pass along to the center of Athens and to the famous Panathinaikos stadium, which is also known as ‘Kalimarmaro’. This stadium is open in 566 BC and updated in 329 BC. On this occasion, it was completely made of marble, which makes the stadium unique in the world. In antique Greece, various athletic competitions were held in the honor of the goddess Athena, and in recent times it was known as the place where the first modern Olympic Games were held (1896).

Today, various events are held on it, and it can receive around 70000 spectators. Then head your tour of Athens on its shore, more precisely to the incredible Cultural Center of Stavros Niarchos, built in the cast of one of the largest Greek ship-owners. Within the Cultural Center are the National Opera and the National Library of Greece. In addition to seeing here some of the most important Greek cultural features, this place is ideal for enjoying the sea air and panoramic views of the whole Athens. As the Cultural Center is located right above the port in Paleo Falir, the road can take you further to Piraeus and left to the Glyfada coast.

Piraeus is the largest passenger port in Europe and many are often called “the second heart of Athens”. Port Piraeus connects many islands with the rest of Greece for centuries and it is so large that it can not be covered with a single view, even from the air. It is always awake and if you visit, you will have the impression of attending a kind of exhibition of ships whose position is constantly changing.. The Glyfada coast adorns the beautiful sandy beaches and restaurants that are located on the coast. The nature that you will see from the shore or from the lake Vouliagmeni will definitely leave a great impression on you.

The best and most beautiful way to finish your visit to Athens is to eat and go to Mount Likavitos. This is a beautiful Athens viewpoint located in the center of the city, above the Kolonaki settlement. And it can be reached by sand or zipper. Likavitos is the highest point in Athens. And from there, there is a view of the whole city and Acropolis. While you are waiting for your specialty in the restaurant Orizontes, enjoy in view of everything you visited during your trip to Athens.

 

Kostas Deroukakis
Love to search, to try, to give, to learn. Knowledge, is the road for this achievement
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