Athens romanized: Athína, pronounced Ancient Greek: Ἀθῆναι, romanized: Athênai, pronounced is a major coastal urban area in the Mediterranean, and it is both the capital and the largest city of Greece. With its urban area’s population numbering over five million, it is also the fifth largest urban area in the European Union. Athens dominates and is the capital of the Attica region and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years,and its earliest human presence beginning somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennia BC. The city was named after Athena, the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom.

Classical Athens was one of the most powerful city-states in ancient Greece. It was a centre for democracy, the arts, education and philosophy, and was highly influential throughout the European continent, particularly in Ancient Rome. For this reason, it is often regarded as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy in its own right independently from the rest of Greece.In modern times, Athens is a huge cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, maritime, political and cultural life in Greece. In 2023, Athens metropolitan area and its surrounding municipalities (consisting the regional area of Attica) has a population of approximately 4.0 million.

 

1.Acropolis of Athens

Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens, Greece, and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historical significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word Acropolis is from the Greek words ἄκρον (akron, “highest point, extremity”) and πόλις (polis, “city”). The term acropolis is generic and there are many other acropoleis in Greece. During ancient times the Acropolis of Athens was also more properly known as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man Cecrops, the supposed first Athenian king.

Make your way to the impressive Acropolis of Athens, the high hill centrally located in Athens that was built for religious and military reasons.On top of the Acropolis, which means “high city” is the beautiful Parthenon, and a few other historical temples and buildings including the Erechtheion, the Temple of Athena Nike, and Propylaea. Catch a glimpse of ancient Greece through the historic temples on top of the Acropolis, as you take in the recent renovations of the temples.A monument so grand, with equally stunning views of the city and sea, the lines can get extremely long. To avoid extra time waiting in line, score your Acropolis skip-the-line-tickets.

2.Parthenon

Parthenon in Athens

The Parthenon Greek: Παρθενώνας, romanized: Parthenónas [parθeˈnonas]) is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, that was dedicated to the goddess Athena during the fifth century BC. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of classical Greek art, an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, democracy and Western civilization.
The Parthenon was built in thanksgiving for the Hellenic victory over Persian Empire invaders during the Greco-Persian Wars. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon also served as the city treasury.
Construction started in 447 BC when the Delian League was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 438 BC; work on the decoration continued until 432 BC. For a time, it served as the treasury of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire. In the final decade of the 6th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After the Ottoman conquest in the mid-fifteenth century, it became a mosque. In the Morean War, a Venetian bomb landed on the Parthenon, which the Ottomans had used as a munitions dump, during the 1687 siege of the Acropolis. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon. From 1800 to 1803, the 7th Earl of Elgin took down some of the surviving sculptures, now known as the Elgin Marbles or simply Greek Marbles, which, although he had the permission of the then Ottoman government, has subsequently become controversial.

On the beautiful Acropolis is the stunning Parthenon, the emblematic building atop the Acropolis.

Built to honor the Goddess Athena, after which the city was named, the Parthenon is said to date back to 447 BC! The Parthenon is not only a historical building, but also a symbol of democracy, the Western World, ancient Greece, and an example of classical Greek art.

The Parthenon was also built in celebration of the Hellenic victory over the Persian Empire during the Greco-Persian Wars. Throughout time, the Parthenon experienced multiple attacks and changes, one of those was being transformed into a mosque in 1458 under Muslim rule.

3.Erechtheion

Erechtheion in Athens

The Erechtheion latinized as Erechtheum Ancient Greek: Ἐρέχθειον, Greek: Ερέχθειο) or Temple of Athena Polias is an ancient Greek Ionic temple on the north side of the Acropolis, Athens, which was primarily dedicated to the goddess Athena.

The Ionic building, made to house the statue of Athena Polias, has in modern scholarship been called the Erechtheion (the sanctuary of Erechtheus or Poseidon) in the belief that it encompassed two buildings mentioned by the Greek-Roman geographer Pausanias: the Temple of Athena Polias and the Erechtheion. However, whether the Erechtheion referred to by Pausanias and other sources is indeed the Ionic temple or an entirely different building has become a point of contention in recent decades, with various scholars ruling out that Athena and Erechtheus were worshipped in a single building. Alternative suggested locations of the true Erechtheion include the structures on the Acropolis conventionally identified as the Arrephorion, the Sanctuary of Zeus Polieus, the Sanctuary of Pandion, and the Dörpfeld foundations. However, while there is no consensus among scholars on this issue, the building continues to be referred to as the Erechtheion by convention.

While you’re exploring the Acropolis, direct your attention to the Erechtheion, another temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena, and one of the other most photographed temples beside the Parthenon.

Beautifully decorated with statues on its southern side on what is called the Porch of the Maidens, the temple was said to have been also used as a Byzantine church, as a palace during the Frankish period, and more!

4.Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum in Athens

The Acropolis Museum (Greek: Μουσείο Ακρόπολης, Mouseio Akropolis) is an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. The Acropolis Museum also lies over the ruins of part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens.
The museum was founded in 2003 while the Organization of the Museum was established in 2008. It opened to the public on 20 June 2009. More than 4,250 objects are exhibited over an area of 14,000 square metres.
Take a deep journey through Athenian history at the Acropolis Museum, taking a glimpse at some of the collections of items found during excavations and archaeological sites on the Acropolis, and its surroundings.

Admire the details of the West pediment and West frieze of the Parthenon, check out the Gallery of the Acropolis Slopes, which looks into the artifacts discovered around the Acropolis slopes, and learn about the makeup of the rock itself. Walk over some of the glass panels to discover some of the archaeological excavations underneath you!

5.Ancient Agora

Ancient Agora in Athens

The ancient Agora of Athens (also called the Classical Agora) is the best-known example of an ancient Greek agora, located to the northwest of the Acropolis and bounded on the south by the hill of the Areopagus and on the west by the hill known as the Agoraios Kolonos, also called Market Hill. The Agora’s initial use was for a commercial, assembly, or residential gathering place.

A historic meeting place for the city council, the president of the council, and local people, the Ancient Agora was one of the first sites to witness examples of democracy.

Located northwest of the Acropolis, in the historic center of Athens, the Ancient Agora is a protected site that you can still see and admire, while learning about some of the other events that took place within its walls, from philosophy discussions and other important discourse.

6.Temple of Hephaestus

Temple of Hephaestus in Athens

The Temple of Hephaestus or Hephaisteion (also “Hephesteum” or “Hephaesteum”; Ancient Greek: Ἡφαιστεῖον, Greek: Ναός Ηφαίστου, and formerly called in error the Theseion or “Theseum”; Ancient Greek: Θησεῖον, Greek: Θησείο), is a well-preserved Greek temple dedicated to Hephaestus; it remains standing largely intact today. It is a Doric peripteral temple, and is located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens, on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill. From the 7th century until 1834, it served as the Greek Orthodox church of Saint George Akamates. The building’s condition has been maintained due to its history of varied use.

When you’re strolling the Ancient Agora, you’ll notice the incredibly well-preserved Doric-style Temple of Hephaestus.

Hephaestus was known as the god of fire, and it’s said that his and Athena’s sculptures were inside the temple. Dating back to the 5th century, the Temple of Hephaestus forms part of the Golden Age of Athens.

7.National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum in Athens

The National Archaeological Museum (Greek: Εθνικό Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο, romanized: Ethnikó Archaiologikó Mouseío) in Athens houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistory to late antiquity. It is considered one of the greatest museums in the world and contains the richest collection of Greek Antiquity artifacts worldwide.It is situated in the Exarcheia area in central Athens between Epirus Street, Bouboulinas Street and Tositsas Street while its entrance is on the Patission Street adjacent to the historical building of the Athens Polytechnic university.
Check out the wealth of archaeological information inside the National Archaeological Museum, known as the largest museum of its kind in Greece.
Dig through (pun intended) the museum’s collections and exhibits, covering everything from pieces of the Mycenaen civilization originating in the Bronze Age of ancient Greece, and a few neolithic items, to a browse through the largest sculpture collections in the world, and various pieces of metalwork.

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Athens romanized: Athína, pronounced Ancient Greek: Ἀθῆναι, romanized: Athênai, pronounced is a major coastal urban area in the Mediterranean, and it is both the capital and the largest city of Greece. With its urban area’s population numbering over five million, it is also the fifth largest urban area in the European Union. Athens dominates and […]

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