Athens, the heart of ancient Greeks and the modern capital of the country, is a large cosmopolitan metropolis, being the economic, financial, industrial, maritime, political and cultural core of Greece.
The birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, and literature, the Olympic Games, mathematical principles and theatre, Athens is an idyllic place of relaxation and perfect for unleashing yourself into an amazing explorative journey. Built on seven historic hills (Acropolis, Areopagus, Philopappus Hill, Hill of the Nymphs, Pnyx, Mount Lycabettus, and Mount Anchesmos) and enclosed within striking mountains, Athens offers endless possibilities of entertaining yourself. Blessed with an impressive historical and cultural luggage, the old city impresses with a unique combination of historical and contemporary architecture, illustrating millennia of diverse architectural styles.
Built back in 447 BC to honor the goddess Athena (the patron of Athens) as a tribute to her protection during the Persian War, Acropolis is a definite must see while on the Hellenic land.
The National Archaeological Museum
The remarkable museum houses a rich collection (20.000 exhibits) of important artifacts from Greek antiquity dating back to Neolithic era (6800–3000 BC). For only a few euros, you will have access to the magnificent treasure of the Greek civilization, art, and history which is displaying incredible pieces of sculpture, pottery, jewellery, fresco, and artifacts.
The Agora-Athens Central Market
Agora is one of the most animated places in the Greek capital. People do not only come here for their shopping, but it is also a point of meeting old friends, create new contacts and discuss life and current events.
One of the best places to feel the Greek culture and vibe is to wonder on the winding streets of the Plaka District. Plaka is the perfect place for an early coffee, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offering a surreal premium visitor attraction. The area is renowned for its food, boutique shops, and cafes and also for the Jewish Museum, Folk-Art Museum and Saita Taverna.
Psiri amazes with endless small streets overflowing with cafes, ouzeries, restaurants, bars, clubs, theatres and galleries, being the perfect place to lose yourself into the lavish Greek culture and lifestyle.
Monastiraki Flea Market
The Flea Market is offering a mixture of tourist shops, clothing stores, fur and vintage and modern jewelry stores. On Sundays, local people sell here their unwanted stuff and it is a wonderful place where to find unique items.
The Changing of the Guards in Athens Greece is definitely a must-see event. Syntagma Square houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Hellenic Parliament building. The monument is guarded around the clock by the Evzones, an elite unit of the Greek army. The Grand Change takes place every Sunday at 11.00am, offering to the visitors a fantastic show as the guards are dressed in their traditional uniform.
While in Athens, you can also visit these great places:
The Benaki Museum
Themple of Olympian Zeus
Byzantine & Christian Museum
Odeon of Herodes
Museum of Islamic Art
Theatre of Dionysos
Temple of Poseidon
Museum of Cycladic Art
Roman Agora& Tower of the Winds
Temple of Athena Nike
Temple of Hephaistos
Stavros Niarchos Park
Sanctuary of Artemis
Onassis Culture Centre
Industrial Gas Museum
Electric Railways Museum
Mount Parnitha National Park
Museum of Greek Folk Art
Church of Agios Eleftherios
National Sculpture & Art Gallery
National Museum of Contemporary Art
Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris
Ilias Lalaounis Jewellery Museum
Old Oil Mill
Church of Agia Ekaterini
Interesting facts about Athens
Greece’s official name is the Hellenic Republic, but it is also known as Hellas.
The Greek motto is: “Freedom or Death”.
On the Greek flag, blue represents the sea and the sky, while white signifies the purity of the struggle for freedom, assisted by the traditional Greek Orthodox cross.
The symbol of the city is the owl of Athena or the owl of Minerva. Throughout the Western world, the owl was considered a symbol of wisdom, perspicacity, and erudition.
7% of all the marble produced in the world comes from Greece. The country is one of the main European producers of cotton, pistachios, rice, olives, almonds, tomatoes, watermelons, figs and tobacco and it is also the leading producer of sea sponges.
Greece has about 9,000 miles of coastline and more than 2,000 islands, of which approximately 170 are populated. Greece’s largest island is Crete (3,189 sq. miles).
Nearly 80% of Greece is mountainous; The highest mountain in Greece is Mount Olympus, it has over 50 peaks with the highest reaching 2917 meters (9,570 feet).
Greece controls 23.2% of the world’s total merchant fleet, making it the largest in the world (Wikipedia).
Greece has more archaeological museums than any other country in the world.
Feta, which is made from goat’s milk, is Greece’s national cheese.
Greece has one of the richest varieties of wildlife in Europe, including 116 species of mammals, 18 of amphibians, 59 of reptiles, 240 of bird, and 107 species of fish.
Roughly 100,000 birds from northern Europe and Asia spend their winters in Greece due to the warm climate.
Acropolis comes from the word “Acro” (“high”) and “polis” (“city”) and it refers to the sacred hill where ancient Greeks raised many temples worshiping their gods. The most important is the Parthenon honoring goddess Athena. Acropolis withstood all sorts of natural disasters, wars, and invasions for over 20 centuries.
Alexander the Great was the first Greek ruler to put his own face on Greek coins. Formerly, Greek coins were engraved with the face of a deity.
Ancient Greeks believed the world was ruled from the Mount Olympus by many different gods, each one of them possessing unique powers.
Olives over water? According to Greek mythology, the olive tree (given by Athena) was considered more valuable than the water offered by Poseidon, consequently, the city was named after her and she became the Protector of Athens. Today, Greece is the world’s third largest producer of olives.
The first Olympic Games were held in Athens in 776 BC and the winner was praised with olive wreaths.
Greek tragedies and the foundation of modern theater appeared in Greece as a tribute to, the god of wine- Dionysus.
Plato, one of the most prolific Grecian teachers, is the father of the institute of higher learning in the Western world.
Approximately 98% of the people in Greece are ethnic Greeks and 90% of the population is Greek Orthodox. Other minorities are Turks, Albanians, Macedonians, Bulgarians, Armenians, and gypsies.
Greek people always bury their dead because the Greek Orthodox Church prohibits cremation.
Greek has been spoken for more than 3,000 years, being one of the oldest languages in Europe.
Mathematicians such as Pythagoras, Euclid, Archimedes, and Apollonius set the foundation of modern mathematics.
100 bulls were sacrificed during the Olympics as a tribute to Zeus.
Among the EU Member States, Greece has one of the lowest divorce rates and one of the highest marriage rates (as per the Eurostat statistics).
Greek employees get at least one-month worth of paid annual leave every year.