Bustling modern capital, ancient bastion of Greek culture, the birthplace of western philosophy and scientific thinking, Athens is all of these things and more. Sprawling beneath the solemn Acropolis lie Athens’ busy streets, crowded squares and vibrant citylife. Rapid development and the forces of modernity have altered the Athenian cityscape, but these changes have not covered over Athens’ architectural legacy. A hodgepodge of Greek, Roman, Byzantine and modern architectural styles create a fascinatingly diverse cityscape and give Athens its own distinctive character. Although the last twenty years have brought extensive development of central Athens, this has been accompanied with massive renovation programs designed to revive its ancient and neo-classical architectural wonders.
Foremost among Athens’ ancient Greek landmarks is the Acropolis, but a multitude of other interesting buildings and ruins such as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Agora and Temple of Hephaestus exist. Often forgotten beside the overwhelming presence of the Acropolis and the remnants of its classical era are the monuments that represent Athens’ Roman and Byzantine heritage. The Gate of Athena Archegetis and Tower of Winds are important landmarks located in the Roman Forum while the Arch of Hadrian and Hadrian’s Library were built to honor the Roman Emperor Hadrian, benefactor and patron of Athens. Byzantine churches and landmarks include the Agii Theodori, Monastery of Daphni and Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea.
Athens is also a city of parks, cafes and restaurants that embodies the modern Greek lifestyle. While many Greeks work long hours, they also take time out to enjoy life by sipping coffee frappe at a local café, dining out at the local souvlaki joint and knocking back some ouzo before heading to the club. Perhaps you should follow their example – after all when in Athens do as the Athenians do!
Open-air theaters, month-long art and performance festivals, museums with everything from ancient Greek artifacts and contemporary works – explore the modern culture and archeological legacy of Athens. see more
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