Athens

Explore Athens

During the city’s Golden Age, in 5 BCE, Athens witnessed the birth of the first forms of democracy through the great, influential minds of figures such as Pericles and Cleisthenes, and the emergence of philosophy and art that is still appreciated today. Furthermore, Athens also provided the works of philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, among many others, which influenced and shaped the concepts of critical thinking and ethical reasoning.

The iconic Acropolis guards over Athens, and its crowning jewel, the Parthenon, stand as the prime examples of this vast cultural legacy, serving as a reminder of the city’s past in its bustling modernity and as inspiration for the hopes of building a brighter future.

Athens’ longstanding history is deeply interwoven in the city’s cultural landscape, discoverable across every street, corner, museums, theatres, and galleries. But it’s not just the iconic landmarks, it is also the Greek spirit, perfectly embodied in the Greek people and the cuisine.

When one combines traditional festivals, the warm welcoming local community, plus some truly mouthwatering dishes, which blend in olive oil, vegetables, fruits, and meats, and the much-coveted Mediterranean lifestyle, the picture starts to become clearer on why Athens is truly a special place. Even to the point where just visiting might actually evolve into wanting to move to Greece.

Things to do in Athens

Syntagma Square
Though historical monuments paint the landscape of ancient Athens, a visit to the city cannot be completed without experiencing Syntagma Square. If iconic landmarks such as the Parthenon represent Athens’ past, Syntagma Square is the city’s pillar of modern democracy. Proudly housing the Greek parliament, the Square is also the gateway to the Athenian National Garden. A vast parkland of almost 40 acres, the Garden offers moments of respite in the always-changing bustling city center, bringing. It has a life of its own, almost disconnected from the rest, bringing a much-needed space for relaxation, hosting several cafés and restaurants, and even housing the city’s Botanical Museum.
Acropolis and the Parthenon
No one can claim to have ever visited Athens without venturing to the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Though technically distinct from one another, they go hand-in-hand and complement each other. The Acropolis, also referred to as the Sacred Rock by the Greeks, is the name of the ancient citadel that stands watch over the city of Athens. The Acropolis was the city’s living and breathing center for politics and religion, and it was where the Greek gods were worshipped, and where philosophers, politicians, and wise men gathered and developed the concept on which the Western world is built: democracy. The Parthenon is the Acropolis’ crowning jewel and served as a place of worship for the goddess Athena, after which Athens is named. They were inscribed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1987 and together represent a symbol of Greek culture and Western civilization.
Plaka
Wandering into the Plaka district in Athens provides a break from the city’s ever-captivating history, which sometimes is needed, considering there is always something to see and learn in other busier parts of the city. This is not to say Plaka district is without history, as that would be impossible in Athens. In fact, Plaka is believed to be one of the oldest habitable districts in all of Athens, accompanying the city’s history and growth, having been the location many figures important to Greece called home. However, nowadays, Plaka is largely commercial, spanning restaurants, cafés, tavernas, and souvenir shops. Even so, it has its own distinct charm, a result of narrow streets and lanes, pastel-colored buildings, museums, archaeological sites, and other points of interest. Entirely walkable, without the presence of cars, Plaka is ideal for an afternoon stroll.
Ancient Agora of Athens
Though all ancient Greek cities boast an Agora, the one in Athens is the most famous. While the Acropolis was the center for politics and religion during Athens’ Golden Age, the daily life for the Athenians unfolded in the Agora. Nowadays, it is a collection of ruins, some of which are well-preserved, such as the Temple of Hephaestus, and the Stoa of Attalos, which currently serves as the Museum of the Ancient Agora, shedding light on the culture, traditions, and customs of the ancient Athenians. Though the area may not hold any grand splendor to marvel at, it is worthwhile due to its historical significance.
National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum, located in Athens, is the most important in all of Greece, gathering extensive and numerous collections of Greek antiquities. Founded in 1829, it was originally conceived to house artifacts dug up in excavations, but its scope soon evolved into a national landmark. Ever since its inception, the Museum has hosted more than 11,000 exhibitions, and its permanent collection allows visitors to truly travel into the past. Ranging from prehistoric antiquities, sculptures, metalworks, and vases to artifacts from Egypt and Cyprus, the National Archaeological Museum’s exhibitions are from across multiple time periods, and are a true must-see in Athens, if only to experience only a brief glimpse of the magnitude of the important impact Athens and Greece had on the world.

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