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Athens … a city that needs no particular introductions! Being the capital city of Greece, Athens is a perennial attraction for visitors from all over the world: the "heart" of Greece, the birthplace of democracy, modern Western civilization and the Olympic Games. It is a city that will never stop sparking people's interest due to its ability to neatly combine past, present and future. Visit Athens and see its history being revived as you walk among the city's iconic historical monuments. Travel in time and arrive at the present day, admiring the modern architecture of the city and listening to the beat of its everyday life. Culture, diversity and hospitality are some of the elements forming the intoxicating scent of Athens, which will follow you each step of the way. Start your journey from Syntagma Square, in front of the iconic building that hosts the Greek Parliament and the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece, who proudly protect the Parliament all year round. Walk down Ermou Street to do some shopping and go to Monastiraki, taking a slight detour to admire the picturesque Anafiotika neighborhood. Naturally, don't forget to gaze at the impressive hill of the Acropolis. So, if you are looking for a city that blends past and future, serenity and vibrant nightlife, classical and modern aspects, then Athens is your destination of choice!
Athens, one of the most ancient cities of Greece, was named after the goddess Athena. The city, founded before 1600 B.C., was the cultural and artistic center of Greece, the birthplace of philosophy, art, literature, theater and science. It was made capital city of Greece on September 18, 1843, taking the reins from the city of Nafplio.
During the Mycenaean era, Athens witnessed a great cultural development through the appearance of men of letters, artists, scientists, philosophers, orators and poets, who contributed to the growth of the city. Afterwards, through the Persian Wars, and as a result of its victories against the Persian armies, Athens gained significant territories and status, inaugurating the Golden Age of Pericles, the leading figure of Athens during that period.
The Peloponnesian War that followed, and much later on, the Turkish Rule, led to the decline of Athens. The two World Wars also had a great toll on the city. Nevertheless, Athens managed to recover and reestablish its historical direction. Since 1981, when Greece joined the European Union, Athens has been constantly evolving into a contemporary European capital city.
All roads lead to … Syntagma Square! This historical downtown square, which also happens to be the second greatest square of Greece, was a favorite meeting place for 19th- and 20th-century Athenians, and remains so to this day. Syntagma Square is divided into two segments: the upper square, where you will find the building of the Greek Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, and the lower square, which joins with Ermou Street. Don't forget to see the changing of the Presidential Guard, which takes place each hour. Also, if you happen to find yourself in Syntagma Square on a Sunday, at 11:00 a.m., you can see the Evzones dressed in their traditional uniforms, the fustanellas, performing the weekly ritual of the changing of the guard.
Souvlaki is a fast food that goes all the way back to antiquity. Yes, you have read this correctly – and if you go through the pages of the Iliad, you will come across passages where Achilles roasts pieces of meat over hot coals. Initially named as "obeliskos", souvlaki is also mentioned in works by Aristophanes, Aristotle and Xenophon. It was officially introduced to Greece in 1924, when Isaak Meraklidis came to Athens from Cairo and opened the first souvlaki grill house, which he named "Aigyptiakon". Afterwards. he opened a second restaurant under the same name, which was originally located at Mitropoleos Street. One thing led to another, building up to the present day, where souvlaki has been established as the national fast food of the Greeks!