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5 Important Facts That You Should Know About Athens, Greece

There are not a lot of cities in the world today that has the magnificence, beauty, and wonder as there is in Athens, Greece. With its long history – that’s considered to be one of the longest in the world – and rich culture, the capital of the country is surely a place to fall in love in.

Athens was named after the goddess Athena. It has been said that the city chose the goddess over Poseidon, the god of the seas, after the first offered the people olive tree as a gift which symbolize serenity. Athena, being the goddess of wisdom, also represents the wisdom of the people coming from the city – of course you know Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, right? Did you also know that the city is where democracy was born? – Well, now you know.

Aside from the city’s history, Athens is also known for its breathtaking attractions. Who has not heard of the city’s famous Acropolis of Athens? Nominated as one of the 7 wonders of the modern world, this famous archaeological monument is often considered to be the city’s trademark. This hill has been witness to Athens’ bloom and decline; it has also seen how the city got back from track and made itself a top world destination.

A city of different facets, Athens has successfully combined the past and the present. As proof of this, Athens has made sure to not only offer its tourists with its wonderful history but also its vigorous nightlife. Taking yourself to Plaka Square and Kolonaki, you will see a number of Athens bars and Athens clubs that will make the nights in the city more fun and exciting. With the people of Athens known for having such love of life, the party scene in the city is colorful as expected!

Aside from the things to see, the things to taste in the city are worth the try as well. From the wide array of restaurants that tend to cater to all cravings to its cuisines that will give smile to your palettes, gastronomy in Athens is another thing to look forward to other than its attractions.

If you want to see something old and try to experience something new, Athens is the best place to be. Whether you are traveling alone or with a partner or your family, there is something that everyone can enjoy in this magnificent city.

Traveling to Athens but no idea at all about the city other than being the home of gods and goddesses? Well why not do your research first and take not of the following information to know what and what not to expect when visiting the capital and largest city of Greece?

Basic Information

Location: 37°58′N 23°43′E

Size: 476 sq. km.

Population: nearing to 5million

Districts: 7

Region: Attica

City Guide

Traveling to Athens may sound to be very, very exciting. It is. But it isn’t that easy, especially for first-timers. For one, English is not the main language in the city. Second, Greece has a pretty different culture as compared to other European cities. Thus, before packing your suitcase and booking that flight to the capital of Greece, reading some city guides will come very handy.

Getting a good map and informative pamphlets are important when visiting Athens, particularly for those who intend to travel the city without getting the service of tour guides. Independent travelers can make their way to Athens by first dropping by the information desk of the Greek National Tourist Organization. There, tourists will not only get pamphlets and maps, but they will also be provided with accommodation lists, ferry boat schedules, and useful numbers among others. The best thing about all this is that these services are all provided to tourists for FREE!

Cash is of utmost importance when traveling to Athens. But if you run out of it while exploring the city, the banks and ATM’s in the city will be at your disposal. Spread all over the city and available 24 hours, getting cash from ATM’s in the city will not be a problem so long as your bank account is all right. If you prefer to use credit cards than cash though, then it’s still fine as most of the shops, hotels and restaurants in the city do accept credit card.

A point noteworthy to remember is the city’s currency: Euro. If you are a European, this won’t be much of a hassle; however, if you are traveling with dollars, you would have to go exchange your money at any banks in the city as well as in Post Office, travel bureaus, and foreign exchange offices.

If you want to stay connected with your friends while you are away from home but has not activated your roaming number, you can easily purchase a new Sim card in the city which costs around 40-50 Euros (a relatively cheap price considering the high cost of living in Athens). If you need your pals to call you while in Athens, you just have to inform them of the city’s area code, which is 210 followed by your number in the city.

In case of emergency, these numbers will be very helpful: 100 for police, 176 for emergency medical assistance, 199 for the fire department, and 171 for the tourist police.

Athens may just be everything you need for a tourist destination, but doing some research before you head to the city will just increase the fun and enjoyment you will have in the Greece capital. Happy traveling!

Etymology

was called Ἀθῆναι in the Ancient Greek. If you are a fan of Greek mythology, you might have noticed the city’s name’s resemblance to that of the goddess of wisdom, Athena. An etiological myth explains that the city got its name the Athenians chose the goddess over the god of the sea, Poseidon. The two were said to have competed with each other to become the patron of the city. Poseidon produced saltwater spring for the people, while Athena made the olive tree to symbolize peace and prosperity. Because it was the olive tree that the Athenians accepted, Athena became their patron and had the city’s name in her honor.

Geography

Athens is basically surrounded by mountains. On its east is Mount Hymettus, Mount Penteli on its northeast, Mount Aegaleo to the west, and Mount Parnitha to the north. Of these four, the last is the tallest and is also recognized as a national park.
Climate

Athens is known to have a subtropical Mediterranean climate. It receives annual precipitation just enough to avoid being classified under the semi-arid climate. A dominant feature of the city’s climate though is the alternation of its warm and dry summers and wet yet mild winters (perfect for a vacation getaway!).

These are just a few of the things that you’d probably have to know before traveling to Athens – whether you want to come alone or with your friends or family. Taking note of these details will help you appreciate the city more and help you understand its offerings better, leading to more enjoyable and learning-filled experience. Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Read on to the other pages of this site to get to know the city more.

People

Athens may be known for being the home of the Greek gods and goddesses but the city’s people have to be mainly credited for this. The city, having a very long history, has greatly contributed to the world’s civilization in the ancient years being where many brilliant and useful people have come from. Do the names Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle ring a bell? Well they sure would – and they all came from Athens, Greece.

Among these three major thinkers, Socrates was first (469 BC-399 BC). He was known to discuss a number of philosophical questions to virtually anyone who was willing to listen and interact with him. One of the common questions that Socrates would is about how man should live his life with the purpose of teaching his listeners to answer for themselves rather than giving out an answer to them. This method is now known all throughout the globe as the Socratic Method.

Plato is one of Socrates’ pupils; although it is only through the first’s writings that one will realize the thoughts and ideas of the latter. He is well-known for writing several dialogues and analogy. Born to a family of nobles, Plato once fought against the Sparta in the Peloponnesian War. Aside from being an expert in the field of philosophy, you would be interested to find out that Plato also acquired an education in the fields of grammar, music, and (guess what?) gymnastics!

Aristotle is not only known in the field of philosophy, he is also famous in the field of science. His contributions in both areas are just hard to put in summary. He is believed to have penned as many as 150 philosophical papers – a number not easy to be at par of. Some topics covered I Aristotle’s philosophical issues include poetics, rhetoric, math, physics, biology, logic, and even dreams.

With these high-caliber Athenians, you sure can expect the people in the city to be no-nonsense.

History

One of the world’s oldest cities, Athens has already been inhabited for 7000 years. It was built in the Attica Plains between Hymettos Mountains and Parnitha, Penteli. It is the leading city of Ancient Greece and the home of one of the world’s flourishing civilization in the ancient times.

The city’s name was taken after Athena, the goddess of knowledge after the Athenian people chose her as the city’s patron over the god of the sea, Poseidon. According to tradition, Athens was founded when then King Theseus has united several Attica settlements. The city’s last king, Kodros was said to have sacrificed himself to save the homeland. After the kings in the ancient Athens, came the nobles who ruled the city through the consul called the Arios Pagos (Supreme Court). From this consul, 9 rulers were elected. This was also the time when the assembly of the Athenian citizens, the Eccelia of Demos, was established.

When the period of colonization ended and trades in the city expanded, many Athenians became wealthy in the fields of shipping and trade. However, the lower classes still faced poverty that it resulted to a riot after the latter demanded lands for themselves and more social justice.

After years under tyrants, democracy was born in Athens, a constitution that gives all the Athenians the right as well as the duty to participate in the state’s governance – a significant achievement of the ancient Greeks that has been practiced in many countries even until now.

Under the reign of Pericles in the 5th century BC, Athens lived its most glorious period. During this time, the city’s Golden Age of Athens Parthenon was erected. The fields of drama, arts, and philosophy have flourished during this time too. Unfortunately, the war between Sparta and the Athenians in the Peloponnesian War ended these days of glory. But even then, the city still remained to be the heart of culture and intelligence in Roman times.

Athens became the capital of the country in 1833 after the Greek War of Independence. And the rest, as they all say, is history.

Sandy

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