One of the most ancient cities in the world, Athens Greece is famous as the birthplace of democracy.
With a history of over 3,000 years, it is the best town for sightseeing.
The city took its name after Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and daughter of Zeus. She was the protector of the city and in fact, the temple of Parthenon on the Acropolis is dedicated to her.
The first traces of Athens date from the Mycenaean period, but the town reached its peak in the 5th century BC. This period is known as the Golden Century of Pericles, the Athenian statesman who managed to gift the town with meridian power and glory.
From as early as the 8th century BC, Athens was gradually developing into an important city-state for Greece, giving emphasis on culture and its naval power.
But it was in the 5th century BC when great political formations were made and new buildings were constructed, including the Acropolis, the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, and the Ancient Agora, and victorious imperial wars took place so that the Athenians would obtain new economic sources.
However, after the Peloponnesian War and the win of the Spartans, the city-state started to decline.
In the 2nd century BC, it was conquered by the Romans and gained some of its old glory, but in Byzantine times, it was frequently raided by northern tribes and fell into decline again.
Athens became the official capital of Greece in 1834, after King Otto's decree.
At that time, Greece had survived a long fight for independence, the modern Greek state had just been formed and the people needed a symbol to connect modern Greece to the glorious ancient years. This is why this particular city became the capital of the country and reformation plans started immediately.
European architects were called to come to the country and rebuild the capital.
At that time, impressive Neoclassical buildings were constructed, including the Greek Parliament, the University and the Academy of Athens.
All these Ancient, Byzantine and Neoclassical sights make Athens a great town to visit.
The Olympic Games of 2004 improved the image of the town, with good transportation means and the reconstruction of old buildings.
Although the city's center might discourage visitors with its disorganized appearance at first, there are several places of historical beauty to visit, such as Plaka, Monastiraki, and Thissio.
Except for the capital of Greece, Athens is also a transportation hub, as it hosts an International Airport and is located very close to the port of Piraeus, the main gateway to the islands. In the region of Attica, there are two more ports, Rafina and Lavrion, where ferries to the Greek islands depart from.