Athens city occupies a wide stretch of land on the southern Greek peninsula mainland that is often called the Attica basin. The city is nestled in the cradle of four mountains – Mount Parnitha, Mount Hymettus, Mount Aigaleo and Mount Pentelicus.
Athens expands all the way to the seafront and the Saronic Gulf to the southwest where the famous Athenian riviera lies. Athens city center is built around several hills, with Lycabettus being the most well-known among them.
The story of Athens is almost as old as time itself with a history that spans back for more than seven thousand years.
The grounds where Athens stands nowadays were once home to a prominent residential center of the Mycenaean civilization and Acropolis hill was occupied by a large fortress.
After the Dorian invasion, the region suffered an extensive economic recess period that lasted more than a century. However, the advantageous geographic location of the city made Athens advance and prosper in the following years.
Thus, along with Sparta and Thebes, Athens became a major trading center and a considerable center of naval power. The 6th and 5th centuries BC were probably the most paramount historical period for the violet-crowned city.
Ensuing the reforms of Solomon, democracy was introduced for the first time to Athenians by Cleisthenes. But the new regime had no time to properly flourish as shortly after, Athens and Sparta spearheaded the Greek states’ forces in the Greco-Persian wars and came out victorious after the famous battles of Marathon and Salamis.
The peaceful period of the following decades was named the Golden Age of Athenian democracy with sciences and culture coming to the foreground.
An abundance of achievements in physics, philosophy, politics and arts were laying the ground for the rest of the western civilization that was soon to follow.
In the following centuries, Athens went through a considerable number of changes. Athens city became part of the Roman Empire, although its was granted the status of a free city due to the respect Romans had for the Athenian universities.
After the Great Schism, the city of Athens once again was destined to spiral down a path of economic instability as part of the Byzantine Empire and it was not long after that it fell under Ottoman occupation.
The occupation lasted for about four centuries and came to an end with the Greek War of Independence that took place between 1821 and 1830.
Athens was then chosen as the new capital of the Kingdom of Greece by King Otto and it remains the Greek capital city until today.
The city was rebuilt and it hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. During the mid 20th century, the population of Athens saw a significant rise in numbers and the city started taking the form we know today.
In the present, Athens city is quickly bouncing back from a long period of economic strain and political turbulence, shining through the struggles to reclaim its identity as the glorious city it always was.
Athens city offers travelers a chance to get a glimpse into its marvellous past and get a taste of its contemporary brilliance at the same time.
The Greek capital can unquestionably fascinate even the most discerning visitor.
Make sure to tour the most important historical sites, stroll through the serpentine streets of the scenic city center, mingle with the locals at one of the numerous nightlife hotspots and of course savor the legendary Greek cuisine.
You can even take some time to explore the Athenian riviera at the oceanfront or make a day trip to one of the nearby islands.
Although a colossal capital city, Athens is quite is to navigate and get around. There are three different metro lines in the city – the green line (number one), the red line (number two) and the blue line (number 3).
You will often hear locals refer to the first one as “ilektrikos” or simply “the train”. The green line is the oldest one and it connects the northern suburbs to the port of Piraeus on the south.
The red line connects the Athens city center with the southern suburbs at the seaside. The blue line connects the northern suburbs and the city center with the international airport of Athens.
Apart from the metro lines, there are also numerous bus, trolley and tram lines running throughout the city that are ideal for shorter distances.
Athens city is one of the most popular destinations on the globe for good reason. Its wondrous culture and history, exquisite gastronomy and flamboyant nightlife rae what make the Greek capital deserve a spot on the top of your travel bucket list.
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