Last Spring, Mathieu and I went on a family trip to Athens, with my parents. Our flight to the Greek Capital landed late in the afternoon, so after going to the city of Athens from the airport, we only had time for dinner in the first evening.
However, this came as an advantage the next day. After a good night’s sleep, we woke up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to discover the first place everyone must visit in the city of Athens: the Parthenon on the Acropolis.
What is the city of Athens known as?
Athens is known as the Cradle of Western Civilization due to its rich history and legacy in ancient Greece. It is also famously known for being the birthplace of democracy and philosophy, which has contributed greatly to shaping society today. When visiting Athens, one must see the Parthenon, a towering structure dedicated to the goddess Athena erected nearly 2500 years ago.
As you’re visiting the capital city of Greece, you’ll find many Athens cool places such as Gyros Tanasis Zdjęcia where locals meet up for delicious traditional cuisine. Visitors must not miss out on seeing other popular attractions like Syntagma Square or Mount Lycabettus for stunning panoramic views of this beautiful city.
Athens truly lives up to its reputation as a must-visit destination with so many fascinating places to explore. Students researching academic projects would learn about ancient Greek civilization by visiting key landmarks including The Acropolis Museum or Temple Of Olympian Zeus among others.
So if you are planning your trip to discover this marvelous place don’t forget to go through my list of the best things to do in Athens – I assure you you won’t regret it!
Is Athens a city worth visiting?
Yes, Athens is definitely a city worth visiting! Known as the cradle of Western civilization, this ancient metropolis offers visitors an incredible mix of history, culture, and modern attractions. One must-see highlight of any trip to Athens is the magnificent Parthenon. This iconic temple stands atop the Acropolis hill and dates back over 2,400 years! The structure has undergone several restorations over the centuries but remains one of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations.
As Greece’s capital city, Athens boasts countless other attractions beyond just the Parthenon. Visitors can explore world-class museums like the Benaki Museum or soak up modern Greek life by strolling through neighborhoods like Monastiraki or Plaka. Foodies will delight in sampling traditional dishes like gyros (you should check out Gyros Tanasis Zdjęcia) while enjoying stunning views of historical landmarks.
Moreover, with plenty of cool places to visit in Athens such as vibrant street art districts or even luxurious rooftop bars overlooking the sprawling city skyline, there’s no shortage of things to do here! From famous sites like Syntagma Square to off-the-beaten-path gems around every corner you turn – Athenian adventures await all types of travelers — whether they’re solo wanderers or family vacationers.
So don’t miss out on exploring one of Europe’s oldest cities for yourself and see why visiting this Grecian gem deserves to be at the top of your travel bucket list this year!
Visiting the Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens isn’t the only acropolis in the world, but it is the most well-known. Rising from the heart of the city of Athens, the sacred hill was a shelter of its main religious buildings since the very beginnings of the capital.
The Acropolis of Athens was erased from the surface of the Earth entirely during the Greco-Persian Wars but was reconstructed by Pericles during the Golden Age of the city of Athens. Named by historian Thucydides “the first citizen of Athens”, Pericles is the man standing behind the raising of the Parthenon, the Erechteum, and many other buildings still standing on the Acropolis of Athens.
On the Acropolis in the city of Athens, you can find several temples, sanctuaries, altars, amphitheaters, statues, and other monuments worthy of all admiration. However, the most well-known among them are the Parthenon, the Erechteion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
The Parthenon, the icon of the city of Athens
Dedicated to the Goddess Athena, the patron of the city of Athens, the Parthenon was built between 447 and 438 BC. The final decorations were added in the year 432 BC. This symbol of Ancient Greece was raised in the place of an older temple of Athena, destroyed during the Greco-Persian Wars.
The Parthenon started as a Greek temple serving also as the treasury of the city of Athens. Towards the end of the 6th century AD, the building became a Christian Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, following the fate of many other Greek temples. Later on (beginning of the 1460s), under Ottoman rule, the Parthenon became a mosque.
26 September 1687 is the date when the Parthenon changed forever: ammunition left inside the building by the Ottomans was ignited during a Venetian bombardment. The explosion damaged not only the statues and sculptures from inside the Parthenon but also the building itself. Most of the statues salvaged after this terrible event are now on display in the British Museum, in London.
Is the Parthenon still standing?
As a frequent Greece traveler, I can say with utmost confidence that the Parthenon is indeed still standing in the city of Athens. This ancient temple, dedicated to Athena, goddess of wisdom and warfare, has stood strong for over 2,500 years despite numerous instances of damage caused by war, weather, and natural disasters.
Over the years various restoration works have taken place on this incredible structure to prevent further deterioration. The most extensive restoration project began in 1975 which involved removing metal clamps added earlier that were causing damage to the marble structures during earthquakes as well as addressing other structural issues. Still, you might notice some scaffolding scattered around just like when restoring historic buildings task requires continuing vigilance.
Visitors coming to Athens cannot miss out on visiting the iconic site of the Parthenon since it serves both a historical and archaeological significance while at the same time offering glimpse stunning views, especially during sunset hour.
The Erechteion is an Ancient Greek temple dedicated to Athena and Poseidon. The building was raised entirely in white marble, between the years 421 and 406 BC (with a break between 414 and 409 BC).
On the northern side of the Erechteion, there is a porch with six Ionic columns. On its southern side, you can see the Porch of the Maidens. The six statues of women serving as columns for architectural support also give the name of the Porch of the Caryatids.
The Erechteion changed both its purpose and its interior over time. During the Byzantine period, it turned into a church. And, later on, during the rule of the Ottomans, the building housed a Turkish harem.
The Temple of Athena Nike
Nike means victory in Greek, in case you were wondering. The Temple of Athena Nike was built in the 5th century BC, in honor of the Greek’s victory over the Persians. Above its grand columns, you can admire various battle representations.
In the past, the Athenians would bring homage to Athena Nike in this temple. The goddess was represented through a statue without wings so that it could not go far from the city of Athens.
Impressions after visiting the Acropolis of Athens
Though it was extremely hot, it was great to be there and to admire the famous Athenian constructions. Besides the main ones at the top of the hill, I also liked the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, in the image above.
It is an incredible feeling to step where so many other people have been over centuries. And I’m not speaking of the high number of tourists that come visit the Acropolis from all over the world. I’m referring to those who have made and altered the history of the city of Athens, and Greece, in general.
I definitely think the Acropolis is a place everyone should visit in Athens! But do keep in mind it can be really crowded, so watch out for those in your group. We lost my mom at one point and we couldn’t call her, so it took forever to find her. Luckily, Mathieu runs fast, so once we spotted her, he recovered her quickly.
Exploring the streets of Anafiotika
After leaving the Acropolis of Athens, we were feeling parched. We drank a lot of water and also refilled our bottles at a fountain we found inside the complex, but it wasn’t enough. We started looking around Plaka to find a less crowded terrace to have a cold drink and a quick lunch, and, without knowing, we wandered into Anafiotika.
An island in the middle of Athens
Anafiotika is my favorite part of Athens! It doesn’t resemble the rest of the city of Athens, though. Its white buildings and stairs, and the blooming oleanders reminded me of Santorini.
The beautiful Anafiotika was actually built by workers from the island of Anafi, who came to work at King Otto‘s Palace. They were soon joined by other workers from the Cycladic Islands and they all truly made themselves at home. The constructions they raised to serve as their houses were built in the typical Cycladic architecture.
That is how, even though you’re in the heart of the city of Athens, a walk through Anafiotika can feel like a stroll on one of the beautiful Cycladic Islands.
Street art in Anafiotika
If you are into street art, then you’re going to love Athens! There are beautiful graffiti murals and other types of urban art just waiting to be discovered throughout the city.
However, the highest concentration, from what we’ve seen, is in Anafiotika. It’s great to get lost on the narrow streets here and discover colorful graffiti around every corner!
Animated streets for shopping in the city of Athens
Some other interesting streets to wander on are those leading away from Monastiraki Square. You can easily get there by metro — there is a station right in the square.
Ifestou, for example, is a great street to do some souvenir shopping. Explore the cramped little shops and find whatever your heart desires, from ceramic fridge magnets to objects made of olive wood, and from traditional sweets and products to gold jewelry.
Dinner in the lively heart of Athens
Also close to Monastiraki Square, there is Mitropoleos street, filled with taverns. And while they may seem to offer a great choice of places to go to, at a closer look you will discover that the same owners have 2 or three establishments with similar styles and are not very far away from each other.
Such an example is one of my dad’s favorites in the area, O Thanasis. The traditional Gyros and Souvlaki can be served in the pita kebab version, or on a plate. The latter is a lot larger, and you really need to feel hungry to finish it. Luckily, we were!
Whenever we travel, Mathieu and I usually order different things and we switch when we ate half. This way, at O Thanasis I got to try both the Gyros and the Souvlaki. And, while I’m more of a Gyros fan, I really loved their Souvlaki, nicely flavored with a lemon dressing.
Remains of the day: My sunburns!
Haha, yes! That’s how my neck and back looked when we returned to the apartment in the evening. Luckily, on the way home, we stopped at a pharmacy to get a lotion against sunburns. The lady there recommended one that contained yogurt and she said to keep it cold in the fridge. It did wonders! Not just against the pain, but in healing the skin very fast.
To avoid getting sunburns like I put on some lotion with a high sun protection factor. And choose the collar of your clothes carefully!
We also made another stop for a bit of shopping in a supermarket. We got some orange juice, some fruit, and… ouzo! And from that evening on, every time we returned to the apartment, we each had a small glass of ouzo with some ice. The perfect nightcap after a day in the sun in the city of Athens!
So why was the city of Athens so famous?
The city of Athens – a timeless treasure and the beating heart of Greece – owes its widespread fame to a multitude of reasons. As you set foot in this iconic Greek capital city, the very first thing that might capture your imagination is the awe-inspiring Parthenon. Standing tall atop the Acropolis hill, this ancient architectural marvel truly epitomizes the essence of Athens. With a rich history spanning thousands of years, the Parthenon’s survival is nothing short of a miracle – it’s still standing to this day!
However, the captivating appeal of Athens extends far beyond just its iconic landmarks. As the cradle of democracy, philosophy, and the Olympic Games, this city has left an indelible mark on the pages of history by nurturing some of the most brilliant minds ever known. Coupled with its illustrious past, Athens also boasts a thriving contemporary scene, transforming it into an unmissable travel destination for anyone seeking a truly enriching experience.
Venturing beyond the allure of visiting the Parthenon, you’ll stumble upon an array of hidden gems and cool places that dot the cityscape. Athenian neighborhoods like Plaka, Monastiraki, and Kolonaki offer delightful blends of history, culture, and entertainment, showcasing the city’s multifaceted charm. From archaeological sites that teleport you to the golden era of Greece to edgy street art and trendy cafes, Athens is sure to captivate the explorer within you.
When considering places to see in Athens, make sure you delve deeper into its cultural and historical significance to get a true perspective of this magnificent city. Revel in the grandeur of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, wander through the ancient agora, and marvel at the exhibits in the National Archaeological Museum – these experiences will paint a vivid picture of Athens’ fascinating legacy. Undoubtedly, the city stands tall as the epitome of ancient Greek civilization, revealing stories of ingenious innovation and unparalleled ingenuity at every corner.
What happened to the city of Athens?
Athens, the capital city of Greece and one of the oldest cities on earth, has a captivating history spanning over 3,400 years. Throughout this extensive timeline, Athens has experienced both victories and setbacks. One of its most famous symbols is undoubtedly the Parthenon – an ancient temple constructed in honor of Athena that still stands tall to this day. This impressive landmark was erected back in 447 BC and continues to be admired by millions every year as a testament to Athens’ rich past.
In answer to your question on what happened (or is happening) in this historic Ancient Greek city, there’s still so much life flourishing all around! The Parthenon still stands tall and majestic at Acropolis Hill – making it an absolute must-see when visiting Athens! Visitors can explore the structure’s intricate design details up close while learning more about its fascinating past through guided tours with expert historians.
Aside from the awe-inspiring architecture that adorns this ancient Athenian city – there are plenty of other cool places you should add to your list too! Whether you’re visiting for just a few days or looking for interesting places to escape everyday life as a local resident – Athens boasts an array of historical landmarks and museums like the National Archaeological Museum where relics unearthed from Acropolis Hill find their home.
If you’re curious about how modern-day Athenians spend their free time in this beautiful metropolis then make sure not to miss out on experiencing the Plaka neighborhood filled with a vibrant energy all day long!
To sum up, despite some challenges faced over thousands of years – including wars against invaders such as Romans and Persians – nowadays Athens remains standing proud as the cradle of civilization. Tourists flock in droves every year caught by the irresistible charm which lies hidden behind its countless alleys full of unique tastes sights sounds textures feels that will shape memories last a lifetime – underscoring why today truly feels like yesterday once again when stepping onto those revered cobblestones beneath feet here at Greece’s heart beating deeply into Mediterranean sea.
Mirela Letailleur – an avid traveler and seasoned blogger based in the South of France – has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to exploring destinations across Europe. In particular, her expertise in the city of Athens is unparalleled. From must-see landmarks such as the Parthenon to hidden gems off the beaten path, Mirela’s travel guides offer unique insights for travelers seeking to experience all that Athens has to offer. Whether you’re a history buff interested in learning more about ancient Greek civilization or simply looking for cool places to check out during your visit, Mirela’s tips and tricks are sure to elevate your next trip to this enchanting capital city.
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