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The Travel Well Guide
City: Athens State: N/A Country: Greece
Athens, the capital and largest city of Greece, dominates the Attica periphery; as one of the world's oldest cities, its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. This legendary city - named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom -is over 3,000 years old. Athens was the world's first democratic state. Known as the 'Cradle of Western Civilization', its culture spawned the great philosophers and writers - Socrates, Plato and Aristotle among them. A bustling and cosmopolitan metropolis, Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece. It is rapidly becoming a leading business centre in the European Union. In 2008, Athens was ranked the world's 32nd richest city by purchasing power [and the 25th most expensive in a UBS study.Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles and its many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. 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 on the rest of the then known European continent.The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by a number of ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon on the Acropolis, widely considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains a vast variety of Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of remaining Ottoman monuments projecting the city's long history across the centuries. Landmarks of the modern era are also present, dating back to 1830 (the establishment of the independent Greek state), and taking in the Hellenic Parliament 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, with great success.
Climate | When to Visit
Visit during: February to November
Directions | How to Reach
By Air: The new Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport about 28 km east of the city center is one of the more attractive and efficient major European airportsBy Rail: The national rail service, OSE connects Athens to other cities in Greece. The national railroad system is poor in Greece, in effect having only two train lines.By Road: Athens is served by a network of diesel buses, natural gas buses and electric trolley buses run by the Athens Urban Transport Organization.