ancient times, Greece served as a geographically strategic
meeting place for people from Europe, Africa, and Asia. Today,
the country remains as diverse and vibrant as the cultures that
Athens emerged during the Classical Age, in the 5th century
BC, as the most prominent city-state in Greece. It is located in
the southernmost region of Central Greece, and is the port city
where most begin their tours of the popular Greek islands. It is
situated in a basin surrounded by four mountains: Mt. Hymettos
to the east, Mt. Parnis and Mt. Aigaleo to the West, and Mt.
Pendeli to the north. It is home to countless archeological
sites, museums, and social attractions. Greek is the language
spoken here, although as in most places, English is also spoken
and understood. Currency in Greece is the drachma.
To Greeks, Athens is an overcrowded, expensive, and decadent
place to avoid if you are the quiet, peaceful type. To tourists,
however, Athens is an exciting, bustling city filled with shops,
cafés, monuments, and character. Although pollution and traffic
do add to the grit of the city (think New York’s traffic jams
and Los Angeles’ air quality), the energetic tourist will find
plenty of opportunities for sightseeing.
While Greeks like to ridicule Athens, 40% of the country’s
population lives here, and 5 million people can’t be wrong.
The street congestion is partially alleviated by a newly
constructed subway system called the metro, but taxis are still
the primary mode of transportation for visitors. And although
Athens is a modern city, the history and antiquity of Greece is
not entirely forgotten here. The city is home to many places
that recall Greece’s achievements in science, sport,
architecture, and art during from Classical Age. It boasts of
relics from the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods. History
enthusiasts will want to visit the Natural Archeological Museum.
And no one who visits Athens should miss the city’s most
impressive legacy, the Acropolis and the perfection of the
Parthenon. It is an architectural must-see, looming 200 feet
above the city.
as Athens offers plenty to do, it also offers plenty of places
to unwind. Traffic jams and overcrowding can be quickly
forgotten while enjoying appetizers at a local restaurant or
sipping coffee at a tranquil side street café, as Athenians are
also masters of food, friendly debate, discussion, and