According to Mathgeneral, Athens (in Greek ΑθήναAthína) is the Capital of Greece and currently the largest city in the country. The population of the municipality of Atenas is 741,512 (in 2001), but its Metropolitan Area is much larger and comprises a population of 3.7 million (in 2005). It is the main center of Greek economic, cultural and political life. The history of Athens spans more than 3000 years, making it one of the oldest inhabited cities. During the classical period of Greece, it was a powerful City-statethat had a fundamental role in the development of Democracy.

It was also a cultural center where many of the great artists, writers and philosophers of antiquity lived. These contributions of Athens to the thought of her time had a great influence on the development of Greece, Rome, and Western culture. Athens is one of the richest cities in archaeological remains of extraordinary importance, of which the most famous is the Parthenon on the Acropolis. In addition to constructions from the classical Greek period, Roman and Byzantine monuments are also preserved, as well as several notable modern constructions.


The etymology of the name is not certain. The ancient Greek name is Ἀθῆναι, a plural form. It may be the majestic Plural of the goddess Athena, protector of the city, who would have taken her name in her honor; but it is also possible that the goddess took the name of the city, and not vice versa, and the plural form is due to the fact that originally Athens was a group of small towns that eventually merged into one city. The name Athina, from Demotic Greek, was officially established in the 1970s.


At the bottom, to the left, the theater of Herod Atticus. In the background, on the right, the Lycabet. The Ancient Athens was one of the city-states dominant in Greece for much of the first millennium BC Approximately between 500 BC and 323 ne was one of the biggest cultural and intellectual centers of the world and originated many of the ideas, achievements and practices of Western civilization, including the concept of democracy. The defeat against Sparta in 431 BC, the rise of Macedonia in later Hellenistic times and finally the Roman conquest they were reducing power and prestige to Athens.

The end of the classical era is situated in the year 529, with the closure of the schools of philosophy. During the Greek Empire of Byzantium, Athens went into decline, while the center of Byzantine power in the current territory of Greece moved to Mystras. Between the 13th and 15th centuries the city changed hands several times, between the Greeks (Byzantines) and the French and Italian knights of the Latin Empire, who came to establish a Duchy in Athens; Aragonese and Sicilians also occupied the city at various times, and the Duchy of Athens, including that of Neopatria, came to Aragonese power. Finally, in 1456 was conquered by the Ottoman Empire.

In the following centuries the population declined considerably, being reduced to 4,000 residents at its worst. Athens suffered a Venetian attack in 1687, in the course of which General Morono’s Venetian bombardment was responsible for the explosion of a Turkish powder magazine that ruined the Parthenon, and a Turkish response the following year.

After the Greek War of Independence (1821 – 1829), Athens became part of the new Greek State, and was named the capital of Greece on September 18, 1834. Since the creation of the modern Greek state, Athens has not stopped increasing its economic weight, political influence and population.

During the reign of King Otho, multiple public buildings were built and the growth of the city was planned. Following the Asia Minor disaster in 1921, more than a million Greek refugees from Turkey were welcomed into the country, much of whom moved to Athens, resulting in explosive and disorderly growth. The next wave of immigration came after World War II (during which Athens was occupied by German forces), when the population of many rural areas and islands moved to Athens.

There was again a rapid and disorderly growth, which is at the origin of the traffic and pollution problems that the city is enduring. In September of 1999 the Athens metropolitan area suffered an earthquake that caused 143 fatalities, thousands of buildings damaged and some parts exposed in the National Archaeological Museum. Large infrastructure works carried out since the entry of Greece into the European Union, especially for the preparation of the Olympic Games of 2004, they have partially achieved alleviate some problems and improve quality of life in Athens. Today the city is the political, economic and cultural center of Greece, and a tourist destination of great international importance.

Tourism and culture

Athens has varied leisure and cultural possibilities. There are several archaeological sites ranging from archaic Greece to Roman rule. In addition to the great archaeological sites (the Acropolis, the two Agoras, the Ceramic and the Temple of Olympian Zeus), there are plenty of places in the city where you can see a small fragment of an ancient building: from the Lysicrates Lantern or the monument from Filopappos, to remains of a wall near the central market, a Thermal Baths on Amalias Street or a vertical section of various archaeological layers at the Syntagma metro station.

There is ongoing restoration and remodeling work. The remains from medieval times to the 18th century include a large number of Byzantine churches and the Kaisariani and Dafni monasteries. There are many examples of Neoclassical architecture from the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as the so-called neoclassical trilogy. One of the most prominent Museums in Athens is the National Archaeological Museum, which contains the largest collection of objects and works of art from classical Greece in the world, including famous pieces such as the funerary mask of Agamemnon or the Zeus of Artemision.

Other important museums, specialized in other historical eras, are the Museum of Cycladic Art and the Christian and Byzantine Museum. The Benaki Museum spans from Prehistory to the 20th century. The Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and the Ceramic also have museums on site; A new Acropolis museum, equipped with a much larger exhibition space, was inaugurated on June 20, 2009. Athens has multiple venues for theater, music, exhibitions, and shows. One of the most significant events is the Athens Festival, which takes place between the months of May and October and includes Opera performances, Dance, theater (especially classical Greek theater) and concerts, using, among other settings, the odeon theater of Herodes Atticus (next to the Acropolis, built in the 2nd century BC).

Places of interest

Archeology, monuments and places

  • The Acropolis, with the Parthenon, Erechtheion, Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike and museum. There are also remains on the southern slope of the Acropolis.
  • Ancient agora.
  • Roman Agora, where you can find the Tower of the Winds.
  • Arch of Hadrian.
  • Ceramic, old cemetery located next to the old walls.
  • Filopappos Monument.
  • Monument of Lisícrates.
  • Temple of Olympian Zeus.
  • Pnyx, a rocky hill near the Philopapos and the Acropolis where legislative assemblies were held during the Classic Era: that is, the first democratic parliament.
  • The Areopagus, a small rocky rise in front of the Acropolis where the trials were held during the Classic Era.
  • Panathinaiko Stadium, also called Kallimarmaro, a white marble stadium built in 1895 for the first Olympic Games of the modern era, in the same location as the stadium of ancient Athens.
  • Plato’s Academy.
  • Kesariani Monastery, located on the foot of Mount Imitos, with Frescoes from the 16th and 17th centuries, in the suburb of Kesariani.
  • Dafni Monastery, declared a World Heritage Site, built on a temple of Apollo.
  • Mitrópoli, cathedral of 1862, the first important construction after the independence of Turkey.
  • Panagía Gorgo epíkoos, built on an ancient temple in Eileitia.


  • National Archaeological Museum.
  • Museum of the Agora of Athens, in the building of the reconstructed Stoa of Attalus.
  • Archaeological Museum of Ceramics.
  • Benaki Museum.
  • Epigraphic museum.
  • Museum of Cycladic Art.
  • Byzantine museum.


  • Plaka
  • Anafiotika
  • Monastiraki Square, where there is a colorful street market and an Orthodox monastery that gives the place its name.
  • Psiri, central neighborhood, very popular for nightlife.
  • Syntagma Square, the heart of modern Athens, where the Parliament and the Monument to the Unknown Soldier are located.
  • Port of Piraeus.
  • Olympic complex for the 2004 Games, in the suburb of Maroussi.
  • National Gardens, dating from the nineteenth century and are located next to the Parliament and Syntagma Square.
  • “Neoclassical Trilogy”: three 19th century buildings (the Academy, the National Library and the University of Athens), built according to the proposals of the architect Theophile Hansen. They are located in the central Eleftherios Venizelos street (also called Panepistimiou).
  • Mount Lycabettus.
  • Gazi, a former gas factory, converted into a cultural space.


  • Athens University of Agriculture
  • University of Athens
  • Panteion University
  • Piraeus University
  • American College of Greece
  • National Technical University of Athens

Athens, Greece City Overview

Athens, Greece City Overview
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