Welcome to Athens, Greece
Athens is located within Greece’s Attica prefecture, and as the largest city in the country, its periphery reaches up the peninsula into Central Greece. To the north and east of the city are the mountains Ymmytos, Pendeli, and Parnitha, and to the south and west the city faces the Saronic Gulf. Athens has been long considered a glorious place; as one of the oldest cities in the world, it has been continuously populated for 3,000 years. Throughout its rich history, Athens has contributed breakthroughs in government, philosophy, theater and the arts, all of which continue to shape Western thought today. There are few cities in the world that have been so influential politically and culturally and have expertly retained parts of its past all the while paving its way into the future.
Athens is home to one of the most famous archaeological monuments in Europe—the Acropolis. The Acropolis dates all the way back to 5th century BC, which is considered to be Athens’ golden age. Since then Athens has seen good times and bad, but the Acropolis still stands as a symbol of the city’s prominence, as well as a representation of global heritage. Other historical sites that are famous to the city are the Ancient Agora of Athens and Kerameikos, which contains a cemetery that dates back to 427 BC. Athens is a major world center for archaeological research, and displays artifacts from its past in several museums, such as the National Archaeological Museum, the Cycladic Museum, the Epigraphic Museum, and the Byzantine Museum.
But the city of Athens does not just live in the past; it is a city that breathes in the present and hopes for the future. After WWII, Athens experienced a major population burst and the city began expanding in all directions. Over-congestion and the pollution linked to it began to be a huge problem, but these turned out to be mere obstacles that Athens soon would overcome. The city underwent anti-pollution measures in the 1990’s, and accomplished monumental improvements to the city’s infrastructure and public transportation systems, so that the Athens of today compares equally to its contemporaries. Athens currently has a population of over 4.5 million people, and is the political, social, cultural, and commercial center of Greece. In 1997, Athens won the bid to play host to the 2004 Summer Olympic Games—an accomplishment that not only spoke for Athens’ proud history as the birthplace of the Olympic Games, but also spoke for the city’s prominence in the modern world.