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Athens Attractions and Things to See
Athens, the capital city of Greece, as well as
its most populated, dominating the Attica periphery, and one of
the oldest cities in the world, boasts about 3,400 years of
recorded history. It has become a cosmopolitan metropolis, a hub
for the country's political, cultural, financial and industrial
endeavors that has made it an alpha-world city, with a
magnificent and glorious history that began when it became a
powerful city-state, where it would be the home of Plato's
academy, Aristotle's Lyceum and a marvelous center for learning,
the arts and philosophy.
It has been referred to as the cradle of western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, due mainly to the impact of its political and cultural achievements in the 4th and 5th century BC. Its classical heritage can still be seen in the city, that are represented by numerous ancient monuments and ruins, as well as fabulous works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, a key landmark of early western civilization. It still contains a large variety of ancient Roman and Byzantine monuments, along with smaller Ottoman monuments that provide a look into the city's long history throughout the millennia it has existed. It is home to two World Heritage sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery.
The magnificent landmarks of the modern period that made the city the capital of the independent Greek state in 1833 include the Athens Trilogy that contains the Athens University, the Academy of Athens and the National Library of Greece and the Hellenic Parliament from the 19th century. It would be the first city to host the Olympic Games in 1896, and in 2004, it would host the 2004 Summer Olympics. The city houses the fabulous National Archaeological Museum that highlight the world's biggest collection of ancient Greek antiquities and the new Acropolis museum.
The oldest known human presence in Athens can be found in the Cave of Schist that was dated between the 11th and 7th millennium BC, making this city inhabited for over 7000 years, with some of the most fabulous antiquities dating from this period and showcased in the city's museum. It has a long and amazing history, which means that visitors here can expect to spend more time viewing these ancient relics and artifacts because there are simply more of them, and span more historical periods than even Jerusalem and the ancient cities of the Mideast.
The city has many beautiful architectural buildings from thousands of year ago, and many that were built throughout those periods that followed. It has many marvelous parks, but the Parnitha National Park has many well marked paths, caves, springs, torrents and gorges that are now protected from the ravages of tourism, with hiking and biking being very popular in the four mountains. Its National Garden of Athens would be finished in 1840 and contains 45 beautiful acres of green space in the midst of this bustling city.
The city has become one of the world's main centers of archaeological research, and besides its national institutions, like the Archaeological Society, Athens University and numerous archaeological museums that include the Byzantine Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the ancient Agora, Acropolis and Kerameikos, the Cycladic Museum and the Epigraphic Museum, the city is home to the Demokrtos laboratory for Archaeometry and many regional and national archaeological institutes that form part of the Greek Department of Culture.
It houses a plethora of museums, restaurants, hotels, entertainment and performing arts venues and sporting events. To describe all of the many places to visit and tour, it is a city of great hospitality, with ancient sites that could take months to tour completely, so, if you should decide to visit this fantastic city, be sure to study it well and consider what are the most significant places that interest you and your family.