Athens is the capital of the modern Greek State and home of the Acropolis and its crowning glory, the Parthenon, symbol of the Classical Era. This 6,000 year-old city is a vibrant, bustling metropolis, densely populated, moving in the fast pace of the 21st century. Its modern buildings blend in antithesis, yet in harmony, with the ancient monuments of different historical periods. There is no rivalry there, as past and present coexist in Athens; as for its inhabitants, they take pride in the cultural heritage of their city.
Indeed, few cities have such a rich past in history and culture. Drama, philosophy and democracy are only a few of the contributions of ancient Athens to the Western world civilization.
Athens is famous for its monuments and its great museums. The focal point of the city is its historical centre, where a pedestrian street leads to the Acropolis and connects with the New Acropolis Museum, the Theatre of Dionysus, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and Plaka.
In the heart of the historical centre the Hill of the Acropolis is located. This world-famous site constitutes the symbol of the Classical Era. The Temple of the Parthenon, crowning its top, was dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of the city in antiquity. Built during the Golden Age of Pericles, the Parthenon expresses the concept of ideal beauty, one of the pillars of ancient Greek culture. The architectural design of the Parthenon is based on an extraordinary series of aesthetic refinements and ingenious techniques, among which the golden mean prevails. The Parthenon is 2,500 years old and has witnessed the rise and fall of Classical Greece, the Imperial Roman Empire, the Byzantine State, and the Frankish and Ottoman Rulers. Today, it still stands on its place defying time and is admired by all mankind. The Acropolis and the Parthenon are declared World Heritage Monuments.
Just across the Acropolis is the Hill of the Pnyx, where the Assembly of the ancient Athenians used to meet and take decisions for the city, thus opening the path to the very first form of democracy. Further away is the ancient Athenian Agora, the social, political and commercial centre of ancient Athens, ground of philosophical debates, marked by the presence of personalities such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and many other great minds of the ancient world.
Traces of antiquity can still be seen beyond the historical centre. By using the modern subway system today, one can discover that there is an ancient city lying below the modern city of Athens. In addition, timeless treasures of the Athenian glorious past can be found in the numerous museums of the city. Indeed, Athens has the “most museums per capita in the world” and one of the Top 10 World’s Museums, the New Acropolis Museum.
Furthermore, Athens is a city that never sleeps. Theatres, concert halls, stylish clubs, Greek music places and wine bars are popular evening activities for Athenians and tourists, who bond perfectly and enjoy themselves together until the early morning hours. According to Eurostat, Athens is still among the safest cities in the world.
Finally, in order to capture the taste of the city, one should not miss the local gastronomy experience. Street food offers its own excitement and freshly prepared Greek cuisine can be appreciated equally in a local taverna or at an upscale gourmet restaurant.