Athína is the capital of Greece, and of the Attica prefecture of Greece.
Modern Athens is a large and cosmopolitan city; Ancient Athens was a powerful city-state and renowned center of learning. It is named after its patron goddess, Athena. Athens is located at 38° North, 23°43'34.5" East.
In ancient Greek, the name of Athens was Athenai, plural of Athene, the Greek name of the goddess Athena.
The city's name was used in the plural like those of Thebai (Thebes) and Mykenai (Mycenae) because it consisted of several parts. In the 19th century, this name was formally re-adopted as the city's name. Since the official abandonment of Katharevousa Greek in the 1970s, however, the popular form Athína has become the city's official name.
The metropolitan area of Athens is home to some 5 million people. Currently the city (metropolitan area) is growing eastwards across Attica (Greater Athens).
The Acropolis in central Athens, one of the most important landmarks in world history.
The Parthenon, the main monument on the site, was built in favour of goddess Athena, the patron of the city Athens.
During the "Golden Age" of Greece (roughly 500 BC to 300 BC) it was the Western world's leading cultural, comercial and intellectual center, and indeed it is in the ideas and practices of ancient Athens that what we now call "Western civilization" has its origins.
After its days of greatness, Athens continued to be a prosperous city and a centre of learning until the late Roman period.
Athens had a estimated peak population of 310,000 in the year 430 BC.
The schools of philosophy, were closed in AD 529 by the Christian Byzantine Empire who disapproved of the schools' pagan thinking. During the Byzantine era, Athens was gradually losing a great deal of status and, by the time of the Crusades, it was already reduced to a provincial town. It faced a crushing blow between the 13th and 15th centuries, when the city was fought over by the Greek Byzantines and the French and Italian Crusaders.
In 1458 the city fell to the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Mehmet II the Conqueror. As the Emperor entered the city, he was greatly struck by the beauty of its ancient monuments and issued a firman (imperial decree) that Athen's ruins not be disturbed, on pain of death. The Parthenon was in fact converted into a splendid mosque.
Despite the Sultan's good intentions to preserve Athens as a model Ottoman provincial capital, the city's population went into decline and conditions worsened as the Ottoman Empire declined as well starting in the late 18th Century. As time went by, the Turks slackened their care for Athens' old buildings; the great Parthenon itself was used as a warehouse for ammunition during the Venetian siege of Athens in 1687, and consequently the temple was severely damaged when a chance Venetian shell set off several casks of gunpowder stored in the main hall.
The Ottoman Empire relinquished control of Athens after the Greek War of Independence.
The city was inhabited by just 5,000 people by the time it was made the capital of the newly established kingdom of Greece in 1833.
During the next few decades the city was rebuilt into a modern city applying mainly to the Neoclassic style.
In 1896 Athens was the host city of the 1896 Summer Olympics.
The next large expansion occurred in the 1920s when suburbs were created to house Greek refugees from Asia Minor.
During World War II the city was occupied by Germany and fared badly in the war's later years.
After the war the city started to grow again.
Tourism and tourist attractions
Athens has been a tourist destination since antiquity.
Visitors from all over the world have always been eager to visit it's famous monuments.
The city's infrastructure and social amenities of Athens have been transformed as a result of the city's successful bid to stage the 2004 Olympic Games.
The Greek state aided by the E.U. have poured money into infrastructure projects such as the new "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport, the massive expansion of the Metro system, and the new Attiki Odos ring-road.
There has also been a great expansion of private
investment on hotels and other tourist developments.
Most importantly from the point of view of tourism,
the area around the Acropolis has been remodelled, and
a great pedestrian area from the Temple of Olympian
Zeus to Plaka, Monastiraki and the Psirri square has
been constructed. This allows the visitor space for
calm walks among the ancient monuments, ruins and trees,
from the Acropolis, to the Agora (the meeting place
of the ancient Athenians) and then to the narrow streets
of the old city of Athens (the Plaka), away from the
noise of the city centre.
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For more information about Athens see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athens) October 2005.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in October 2005. E. & O.E.
Sarolta and I spent some time exploring Greece and Athens in 1978.
Very interesting place, plenty to see, to keep you busy for awhile.
Hui Chin and I visited Greece and Athens during our trip around Europe in 2005.
Thoroughly enjoyed the place.
We both loved the place.
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