The capital of the Hellenic Republic is located in the historical region of Attica. Together with the nearest settlements and Piraeus is the Athenian agglomeration with a population of more than 3.7 million people. Due to the population of the agglomeration, the region of Attica is considered the most densely populated in Greece. The Greek capital is surrounded by mountains that influence the local climate.
Summer is hot and arid, with occasional rainfall, winter is warm and humid with sparse snow and frost. In spring, the weather is changeable, but in April and March hot days can fall with air temperature +28 – 30 degrees. May is a period of flowering and riot of greenery, which begins to fade under the bright sun in the summer months. The swimming season here opens in May-June and lasts almost until the end of October, when the sea temperature begins to drop below +23 degrees. Athens’ access to the sea – the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea, separating Attica from the Peloponnese.
The history of Athens is reflected not only in the sights and archaeological finds, but also in mythology. The first king of Athens, Kekrop, was a serpent man; he also decided what to name the city, to which deity to devote it to. Poseidon and Athena competed for the right to be the patron saint of the city. Wishing to appease Kekrop, she sent him her gifts, and Kekrop received from Athena an olive tree, which gives food to the inhabitants of the country to this day.
The citizens of Athens were the commander Themistocles, the poet Sophocles, the philosopher Socrates and his student Plato, the father of comedy Aristophanes and other ancient figures of culture and art. Athens maintained their high cultural level after becoming part of the Roman Empire, and then some time after the transition of the Byzantine Empire. European, Ottoman influences ruled the life of Athens until 1833 – the creation of the Kingdom of Greece. Athens twice became the capital of the revived Olympic Games – in 1896 and 2004. From them, as well as from UEFA events in the city, specially constructed stadiums and other facilities have been preserved.
In 2001, a new airport, Eleftherios Venizelos, was opened in Athens, named after the founder of the civil aviation service in Greece. The airport is located about 17 km from the city center, near the city of Spat. The Athens metro line runs straight to the airport. If you flew through other air gates of Greece (there are 15 international airports in Thessaloniki, Crete, Peloponnese), then from the north of the country you can get to the capital by road from Lamia, from the west – by the motorway from Corinth. The nearest seaport to Athens is Piraeus.
All Athenian public transport is air-conditioned, and the tram is also high-speed. The system of routes and trams, and the metro consists of only three branches. Tram routes run along the coast and into the city center. A feature of the Athenian transport is a funicular delivering passengers to Lykavit Hill.
In recent years, the Greek capital has provided topics for stories about protests for world news. Despite the assurances of the authorities of safety, in some areas of the city, for example, in Omonia, it is better for tourists not to appear, following traditional attractions and routes.
All the most historically important is in the Acropolis area: the hill itself with the Parthenon, ancient theaters. Hotels here are some of the most expensive. Most guests stay in the Plaka area, the old quarter between the Acropolis and Syntagma Square. Plaka buildings are not too ancient, they are only two or three centuries old, but they stand on ancient foundations and neither wires nor other city communications interfere with admiring these buildings, since they are all laid underground.
South-west of Likavit hill is the Kolonaki quarter, where many museums are concentrated. The quarter itself is known as the location of the Lyceum, in which Socrates and Aristotle taught. Today it is one of the most expensive areas of the city. If you look for cheaper hotels, then it is better to do this in the Monastiraki quarter.
Sights and excursions
In the Greek capital, 250 state and private museums are good if you have time to inspect at least a small fraction of the exhibits presented in them. Above the rest of the city rises the 156-meter high Acropolis hill – a symbol of the heyday of Greek civilization, royal power and worship of the gods of Olympus. Of all that was built on the Acropolis long before the advent of our era, the Parthenon, the temple in honor of the patroness of the city of Athens, is best preserved. The entrance to this ancient sanctuary is closed, so you will have to get to know the atmosphere of Hellas in the nearby Acropolis Museum to find out the details of this place.
On the Acropolis itself you can also see the ruins of the temple of Niki Apteros, and at the foot of the hill there are 15 surviving columns of Olympion – a temple in honor of Zeus. One of the oldest theaters in Greece is located on the south side of the hill. View comedies and tragedies in the 6th century BC up to 17 thousand spectators came here, the building itself was dedicated to the god of wine drinking and fun Dionysus.