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Almost any trip to Greece will begin and end in its capital Athens, a memorable city where history and Greek mythology come to life. Today, it is a captivating city filled with an intriguing historical centre which lies within one of the largest pedestrian zones (three kilometres) in Europe. Here, archaeological sites and the ancient landscape give one a feeling of reverence and insignificance in the face of the city’s monolithic architectural and historical influence.
Athens can trace its beginning to the Neolithic age, but it was not until the 5th century that the burgeoning metropolis truly earned its title of the historical capital of Europe. The symbolic entrance to the historical pedestrian zone is Hadrian’s Arch (AD 131). From here paths will lead you to the remains of the once colossal temple of the Olympian God Zeus built in the 6th century BC. Zeus was one of the most important gods in Greek mythology, and even though only a few massive columns remain, it is not hard to imagine the importance and enormity of this monument. One can also view the ancient Theatre of Dionysos, built in the 5th century BC, where Sophocles and other great scholars performed most of their works.
The sacred rock of the Acropolis will astound you with impressive architectural masterpieces and art, not to mention an impressive view of the city. Here, the Parthenon temple stands as a tribute to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens. This Doric temple was not the first built on this site; the pre-Parthenon was destroyed in 480 BC by the Persians. The current temple was built in 447 BC and remains an enduring symbol of Greek culture.
The Acropolis Museum is worth investigating. Made of steel, glass and concrete, it is home to thousands of discoveries unearthed at this site. Acropolis was one of the most important centres of the ancient city, the base of both religion and economy.
There are so many fascinating buildings and sites such as Areios Pagos, the most ancient law court of the world, the pretty Philopappou Hill with its cobbled streets and Kerameikos, the largest cemetery of the ancient city which features impressive sculptures and tombs. These are just a few of the numerous ruins which can be found here.
Athens has been named one of the top places to visit in the summer of 2017 by several travel authorities. In addition to the 3,500 years of historical significance found here, Athens also offers amazing landscapes, an ongoing urban revitalization and modern art galleries including the National Museum of Contemporary Art.
Come, explore the history and future of this incredible city.