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Athens is neither the beginning, nor the end. Athens is everywhere. In every point on the map. And every point on the map is in Athens. Because Athens is the centre of all the centers in the world. Everything is concentrated within her. She is the city of the Olympic Idea, the city of artists, cultural channel, scientific centre, East and West for each voyager, the crossroads of every major event for the active, the fashion that is in for avid sophisticates, the Parthenon of all and for all. Artistic happenings, festivals, conventions, athletic competitions, celebrations, entertainment events choose Athens, prefer Athens as their venue. Athens is The City. But even more it is the Pole... of attraction for all.

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Visit Athens

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

A monument over which a guard of honor keeps vigil The 1100 am changing of the guard on Sundays is a picturesque small ceremony.
The Greek House of Parliaments.
This is a neoclassical building overlooking the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Formerly used as the residential palace of Greece’s first king, Otto (1832-1862), it houses since 1933 the Greek Parliament. Adjoining the building is the National Garden stretching as far as the Zappeion Exhibition and Congress Hall, which stands in its own park.
South Slope of the Acropolis
The numerous sanctuaries and public buildings which once clustered the base of the Acropolis bear witness to the varied cultural and religious activities of ancient Athens. To the north were the cult centers of Persephone, Pan, Eros and Demeter, to the east those of the Dioscuri and Theseus and in the south Asclepios, Dionysos and the Nymphs were honored. Today, only the remains of the southern slope have been unearthed, and can be accessed near the Theatre of Dionysos. This impressive structure was reconstructed in stone and marble in the 4th century BC, on the site of the original wooden theatre that served the city in its theatrical heyday more than a century earlier. To the east there are the remains of the Odeion of Pericles (c.443 BC), used for recitals and meetings of citizens, whilst to the west is the long line of the Stoa of Eumenes, constructed in the 2nd century BC to shelter the crowds of theatre-goers.
Ancient Agora
The agora, or "market", was the busy hub of commercial and social life in ancient Athens, the place where citizens would meet to sell their produce and discuss issues of the day. Today, this expansive and remarkably green site is dominated by the Temple of Hephaistos. Dating to the 5th century BC, it is the best preserved Doric temple in Greece and a wonderful sight to behold. Nearby, the Stoa of Attalos (2nd century BC) houses a museum displaying objects recovered from the site along with a scale model of the Agora – a useful navigational reference for visitors. There are three entrances to the Agora, of which the entrances on Adrianou or Polygnotou streets in the north and west are most convenient if visiting from Plaka. At the southern entrance, the 11th century AD Church of the Holy Apostles, with its lovely Byzantine frescoes, is something of a surprise, albeit a welcome one.
So, what did you learn from Athens?
You paid homage to the Parthenon, went wild in Monastiraki, got tipsy in Plaka, stared at the Evzones, took a look at Parliament House and the Academy, mingled with the crowds in Syntagma Square and Omonia, drove down to the sea, climbed up Lykabettus, exchanged niceties with hundreds at a reception or two distinguished yourself at that conference you attended, excelled at the Olympic Stadium, calmed down in the tranquility of the Keramikos. And all of a sudden you discovered that you hadn’t discovered Athens. Because you can’t get to know Athens in a month or even a year. Yet you can get to know Athens in a moment.
Seek out those moments in Athens: Let yourself get lost on the bus or while walking, go to neighborhoods unlisted in the official program, stroll through trodden by tourists paths, knock at an unfamiliar door, rent a boat, keep your eye out for unknown spots (most of which will be known), find a forgotten “tavernaki”, take a walk on Mars Hill (Arios Pagos) or around the theatre of Herod Atticus, but also amble through the crooked lanes of an old residential district, by night or by day.
In order to get to know Athens you have to lose your way. Even if you don’t find Athens, you’ll surely find yourself.

The Keramikos served as Athens’ cemetery for over 1000 years. Entering at the western end, visitors first encounter part of the Themistokleian Wall, built in the 5th century BC to protect passage to the city’s port, Piraeus. The remains of the Dipylon Gate, which marked the beginning of the Panathenaic Way, and of the Sacred Gate, through which initiates of the mysteries at Eleusis would have passed, break the wall in two places on the site. Located between the two, the spacious Pompeion housed sacred items used at the Panathenaia, the city’s most important religious and dramatic festival. But the Keramikos’ main attraction is the Street of Tombs, which is lined with the funerary monuments of the ancient city’s most prominent citizens. The original steal are on display at the National Archaeological Museum and at Keramikos’ Oberlaender Museum, but a wander around the site itself provides the most engaging glimpse of ancient life and death.
The Lycabettus (Licavitos) Hill
Clad in pinewoods and crowned by the picturesque white chapel of St. George the hill provides a fine panoramic view over the entire city. There is a restaurant and pastryshop on the top. Access is by funicular or footpath.
Sintagma Square
Below the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier stretches the most central square in Athens lined by a large number of pastryshops, which are usually filled with a lively crowd of Athenians and foreigners.
The Plaka
It is the oldest and most picturesque quarter in Athens spreading around the Acropolis. Winding, narrow alleys are flanked by single storey houses set next to elegant mansions. There are also several small tavern as and nightclubs as well as shops selling popular arts and crafts. Combined, they make Plaka one of the most attractive corners of Athens.
This is in reality an extension of Plaka. It is the part of the city with the greatest number of antique dealers and gift shops of every kind.
Iliou Melathron
Formerly the home of the celebrated archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Athens and stands at the upper end of Panepistimiou St. On the same street a little further down, are the neoclassical buildings of the Academy, the University and the National Library. Technical University in Patission St. is in the same style of architecture.

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The Acropolis

Visible from almost every quarter of the city, this towering mass of rock is the crowning symbol of Athens and testament to a golden era in Greece’s history. Literally meaning ‘high city’, the Acropolis was at the centre of civic life as long ago as the 13th century BC. But it was not until the Classical period that its most famous monuments were erected. At the instigation of Pericles, a prominent citizen and then general of Athens, a major civic building project commenced in the 440s and 430s BC. Its focus was to celebrate the Athenian victory over the Persians, who had sacked the Acropolis - the principal sanctuary of Athena, patron goddess of the city – just a few decades earlier. Under the direction of the celebrated sculptor Phidias, first the glorious Parthenon, then the Propylaia and next the Erectheion were constructed, with renovations made to the smaller Temple of Athena Nike. A magnificent city of temples was created which was a potent symbol of Athenian wealth, power and achievement. Only a few buildings would be added to the Acropolis in later times, and these, such as the Temple of Rome and Augustus, attest primarily to the Roman presence in Athens.

map of Attica Greece

Today, over 2000 years on, the Acropolis has suffered centuries of looting, earthquakes, pollution and even an explosion. The lavish decoration of its colossal monuments has faded, its marble and bronze statues either destroyed or salvaged for display in museums, leaving just a relic of its ancient incarnation. But with its grandiose situation, monumental proportions and elegant Classical design outlined in the gleaming white marble of its construction, it is still a sight that is guaranteed to inspire awe and wonder. Don’t miss the Acropolis Museum on the south-east corner, which houses a collection of sculptures and relief recovered from the site.
Acropolis - The Ancient Centre
Rising up from the modern day districts of Plaka, Aerides and Anafiotika, with the glorious white marble of the Parthenon glistening at its peak, the Acropolis stands sentinel above the ruins of ancient Athens. To the north-west are the remains of the Ancient Night view of the Acropolis.
Agora, marketplace of that long ago city and today a shaded, green area topped by the beautifully preserved Temple of Hephaistos. North-west again is the Keramikos cemetery with its eerie Street of Tombs, and sprawled along the Acropolis’ southern slopes, Greek and Roman ruins – the Theatre of Dionysos, Stoa of Eumenes and Odeion of Pericles – sit side by side; an enduring reminder of the city’s Golden Age. From the breezy heights of Filopappou Hill there are splendid panoramic views of the archaeological sites clustered amidst the modern city.
Plaka is the historic heart and tourist hub of Athens. Its narrow cobbled streets, lined with souvenir shops, hotels, restaurants and cafes, lead the way to the steep streets and ochre-white buildings of Anafiotika, huddled beneath the Acropolis. The area is also home to several delightful small museums, amongst them the Kanellopoulos Museum and Museum of Greek Popular Instruments.

Important to visit

The Acropolis newly illuminated at night before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games on 13th August 2004; the work of acclaimed lighting artist Pierre Bideau. A summer performance of music, theatre or dance at the historic open-air Odeion of Herodes Atticus on the south-slope of the Acropolis. A picnic in the shade of the ruins of the Ancient Agora, propped against an ancient column or amidst the rubble of its many buildings.

Odeion of Herodes Atticus
This 2nd century AD structure at the western side of the Acropolis’ southern slope was built by the wealthy Roman Herodes Atticus in honor of his wife Regilla. Today, nearly 2000 years on, it is still used during the summer months for performances of dance, theatre and music at the popular Athens Festival. Contact the Greek Festival ticket office or website for full listings of what’s on in 2004. The site is not open to the public except for performances.
Roman Agora
The still largely unexcavated Roman Agora served as the city's commercial center from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD. The main attractions for visitors today on this relatively small site are the Gate of Tower of the Winds Athena Archegetis (1st century AD) and the octagonal Tower of the Winds (1st century BC). The latter is the best preserved of the city’s Roman monuments. An ingenious construction, it originally functioned as a sundial, water clock, weather vane and compass. Relieves around the tower personify the eight winds, known by the Athenians as 'Aerides', ‘The Windy Ones’. Just steps away, touching the southern edge of Plateia Monastirakiou, is the Library of Hadrian. Dating to the 2nd century AD, this was once a vast building which housed not only books but a theatre, music and lecture rooms.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
This gargantuan temple, the largest in Greece, was begun in the 6th century BC by the tyrant Peisistratos and completed some 700 years later by that most avid of builders, the Emperor Hadrian. The site is worth visiting if only to marvel at the sheer scale of it; the columns alone, of which just 13 remain of the original 104, measure 17 meters high with a base diameter of almost 2 meters. Near the entrance to the site, at the traffic-choked intersection of Vassilissis Olgas and Amalias, the blackened Arch of Hadrian once served to divide the ancient city from the Roman one. On the north face the inscription states ‘This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus’, whilst the south face reads, ‘This is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus’.

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Schedule Greece
Visit also the Regions and Locations of Greece:

Attica (Athens and Rest of Attica) - Saronic Gulf - North Eastern Aegean Islands
Central Greece and Thessaly - Crete - Cyclades - Dodecanese - Epirus - Evia and the Sporades
Ionian Islands - Macedonia - Peloponnese - Thrace

Greek Destinations: Athens Destination | Arcadia Destination | Attica Destination | Amorgos Destination| Andros Destination | Evia Destination |
Evritania Destination | Fokida Destination | Viotia Destination | Crete Destination | Heraklion Destination | Lassithi Destination | Rethymnon Destination | Ios Destination | Milos Destination | Mykonos Destination | Naxos Destination | Paros Destination | Santorini Destination | Serifos Destination |
Syros Destination | Tinos Destination | Corfu Destination | Kefalonia Destination | Zakynthos Destination | Halkidiki Destination | Serres Destination | Chios Destination | Samos Destination | Argolida Destination | Aegina Destination | Hydra Destination | Poros Destination | Skiathos Destination | Magnesia-Destination | Rhodes Destination | Kos Destination |

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