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Who wouldn’t know the capital of Greece? Athens is situated on the Attica peninsula in the Saronic Gulf. The local climate is mild throughout the whole year, with mild winters and hot summers. At present the urban agglomeration of Athens has about 3.5 million inhabitants. The city has a huge international airport and the port of Pireus. The city transport network includes 3 lines of underground, about 4 000 buses and a tram network. Between 1896 and 2004, Athens hosted the Summer Olympic Games.
History of Athens
Athens came into existence in the 3rd millenium BC. In the 14th century, a royal castle was built on Acropolis. The city-state of Athens was gaining still more and more significance. In 594/593 BC, the Solonian Constitution was created, assuring the possibility to take part in the judiciary to all the citizens. The posts were held by the members of the two wealthiest social classes. A Council of Four Hundred was established, making even more people participate in political decision-making.
In 547 BC, Peisistratos proclaimed himself tyrant. During his rule, the city was flourishing: he initiated the construction of the Temple of Athena Nike on Acropolis (later Partheon was erected on his place).
This was followed by the reign of Pericles. This period is known as the Golden Age. Athens reached the peak of democracy, and the economic prosperity was accompanied also by a significant development of arts, science, and philosophy: Socrates, Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides were active in Athens in this very period.
In 429 BC, Athens was defeated in the Peloponnesian Wars, and therefore their political significance started to diminish. Yet the cultural and political development persisted for a few more centuries even after Greece was occupied by the Romans in 146 BC.
The culture of Athens started to decline only after accepting christianism as a state religion. The pagan cult was prohbited, philosophical schools closed, and Pantheon was consecrated to become a Christian temple.
In 1456, Athens was taken by the Turks. After that the city decline continued until Athens became only a village with a few thousand inhabitants. This changed only few years after the declaration of the modern Greek state with the king Otto I making Athens the capital of Greece (between 1829 -and 1834, the capital city was Nauplio.)
What to do in Athens?
As the capital city of Greece. Athens offer countelss possibilities of accomodation, eating and shopping. You can choose from more than 140 theatres and visit galleries or music performances. Nonetheless, what most visitors of Athens are interested in are the unequalled ancient historical sites like the Agora of Athens, Acropolis, Theatre of Dionysus, Olympieion or the Arch of Hadrian. You cam also admire the artworks both from the present and the past in some of the numerous Athens museums.