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Athens City Guide

Athens (Athina) is called afterwards Athena - the goddess of acumen - who, according to legend, won the burghal afterwards acquisition Poseidon in a duel. The goddess' achievement was acclaimed by the architecture of a temple on the Acropolis, the armpit of the city's age-old adjustment in Attica.

As a burghal state, the littoral basic of Athens accomplished its heyday in the fifth aeon BC. The appointment of the statesman, Pericles - amid 461BC and his afterlife in 429BC - saw an aberrant access of architecture consistent in abounding of the abundant classical barrio - the Parthenon, Erechtheion, Hephaisteion and the temple at Sounion - now admired as icons of age-old Greece. Physical affirmation of the city's success was akin by achievements in the bookish arts. Democracy was born, ball flourished and Socrates conceived the foundations of Western philosophy. Remarkably, although the cultural bequest of this aeon has afflicted Western civilisation anytime since, the classical age in Athens alone lasted for bristles decades. Under the Macedonians and Romans, the burghal retained a advantaged cultural and political position but became a acclaimed abjure of the Empire rather than a above player. The bearing of Christianity heralded a continued aeon of activity and decline, culminating in 1456 and four centuries of Turkish domination, which has larboard an enduring cultural mark on the city. By the end of the 18th century, Athens was additionally adversity the abuse of accepting the aesthetic achievements of its classical accomplished removed by annexation collectors.

Modern Athens was built-in in 1834, back the burghal was adequate as the basic of a anew absolute Greece. Greek refugees abounding the burghal at the end of the Greek-Turkish war, abscess the population. Afterwards Apple War II, American money adjourned a massive amplification and industrialisation programme. The accelerated advance of the post-war years and the aerial temperatures of its Mediterranean climate, accept created a burghal that can generally be attenuated and could be declared as an burghal sprawl. Excessive cartage creates a gridlock on the streets of Athens and baneful effluvium (néfos) in the air, although abundant efforts are actuality fabricated to abate this. Visitors with visions of aflame marble and philosophers in white apparel are understandably abashed that the architectural achievements of Athens' classical accomplished are amidst by the cruel accurate of aimless 20th-century urbanisation. Over three actor visitors appear to the burghal anniversary year but the majority see the architect as bound as accessible - as if accomplishing some cultural assignment - afore branch off for the accessible amusement of the Greek islands.

However, Athens repays a afterpiece acquaintance. In accession to the acclaimed classical sites, the burghal boasts Byzantine, medieval and 19th-century monuments, as able-bodied as one of the best museums in the apple and areas of hasty accustomed beauty. Despite the traffic, an ambrosial village-like affection becomes axiomatic in the cafés, tavernas, markets and the bewilderment of streets about the Pláka. Moreover, Athens has the finest restaurants and the best assorted nightlife in the country and charcoal a above European centre of culture, acclaimed anniversary year at the Athens Festival. The burghal area, including the anchorage at Piraeus, is the absolute automated and bread-and-butter assertive of the country and the acknowledgment of the Olympic Games in 2004 is bidding a flurry of fresh development. Above projects accommodate the new, now absolutely functioning, Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, the addendum of the Athens busline system, the architecture of fresh sports venues and the advance of auberge accommodation. In addition, age-old sites aural the burghal centre are actuality affiliated by a traffic-free 'archaeological promenade' advised to enhance the burghal ambiance for locals and visitors alike.