ATHENS - GREECE
×
Sponsorship
Athens
Country: GREECE
Region: ATTICA
Elevation: 70-338 m
(230-1109 ft)
Postal code: 10x xx, 11x xx,
120 xx
Dialing code: 21
Time zone: EET (UTC+2)
EEST (UTC+3)


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. Classical Athens, as a landlocked location was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC in later centuries on the rest of the then known European continent. Today a cosmopolitan metropolis, modern Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece. In 2012, Athens was ranked the world's 39th richest city by purchasing power and the 77th most expensive in a UBS study.


The city of Athens has a population of 664,046 units (796,442 in 2004) within its administrative limits and a land area of 39 km2 (15 sq mi). The urban area of Athens (Greater Athens and Greater Piraeus) extends beyond the administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,074,160 (in 2011), over an area of 412 km2 (159 sq mi). According to Eurostat, the Athens Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) is the 7th most populous LUZ in the European Union (the 4th most populous capital city of the EU), with a population of 4,013,368 (in 2004). Athens is also the southernmost capital on the European mainland.


The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by a lot of 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 numerous Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments.


Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery. 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.


Main sights in Athens

Archaeology, Art and Story


The Temple of Hephaestus, also known as the Hephaisteion or earlier as the Theseion, is a well-preserved Greek temple; it remains standing largely as built. It is a Doric peripteral temple, and is located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens, on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill. From the 7th century until 1834, it served as the Greek Orthodox church of St. George Akamates.


The Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, is a colossal ruined temple that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD some 638 years after the project had begun. During the Roman periods it was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world.


The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation popularly known as the "Metrópolis", is the cathedral church of the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece. Construction of the Cathedral began on Christmas Day, 1842 with the laying of the cornerstone by King Otto and Queen Amalia. Workers used marble from 72 demolished churches to build the Cathedral's immense walls. Three architects and 20 years later, it was complete. On May 21, 1862, the completed Cathedral was dedicated to the Annunciation of the Mother of God by the King and Queen. The Cathedral is a three-aisled, domed basilica that measures 130 feet (40 m) long, 65 feet (20 m) wide, and 80 feet (24 m) high. Inside are the tombs of two saints killed by the Ottoman Turks during the Ottoman period: Saint Philothei and Patriarch Gregory V.


Athens' most important museums include: the National Archaeological Museum, the largest archaeological museum in the country, and one of the most important internationally, as it contains a vast collection of antiquities; its artifacts cover a period of more than 5,000 years, from late Neolithic Age to Roman Greece; the Benaki Museum with its several branches for each of its collections including ancient, Byzantine, Ottoman-era, and Chinese art and beyond; the Byzantine and Christian Museum, one of the most important museums of Byzantine art; the Numismatic Museum, housing a major collection of ancient and modern coins; the Museum of Cycladic Art, home to an extensive collection of Cycladic art, including its famous figurines of white marble; the New Acropolis Museum, opened in 2009, and replacing the old museum on the Acropolis. The new museum has proved considerably popular; almost one million people visited during the summer period June-October 2009 alone. A number of smaller and privately owned museums focused on Greek culture and arts are also to be found.



Entertainment in Athens

Performing Arts and Astronomy


Athens is home to 148 theatrical stages, more than any other city in the world, including the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus, home to the Athens Festival, which runs from May to October each year. In addition to a large number of multiplexes, Athens plays host to open air garden cinemas. The city also supports music venues, including the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron Moussikis), which attracts world class artists.










The Athens Planetarium, located in Andrea Syngrou Avenue, is one of the largest and best equipped digital planetaria in the world.

Part of the description above is taken from the Wikipedia article Athens with patent CC-BY-SA. The full list of those who have contributed to the drafting of the article is available here.