When you are about to plan your visit to Athens, you should be aware of the following facts:
Athens is the oldest inhabited city in Europe, and everybody visits it for history and Acropolis. Athens’ land was walked from Socrates, where someone can find his prison, Plato, where ruins of Academy can be seen in Kolonos square today, Aristotle, Lyceum was recently discovered, Alexander the Great, Cicero, Ceaser, Apostle Paul in Areopagus and Philip preaching christianism. Moreover, Emperor Hadrian’s Library and Arch are still there from Roman Period, surviving numerous raids.
Famous emperors as Julian the Apostate, philosophers as Proclus’ house is still in Areopagitou Pedestrian Street. Athens’ student list includes also Christian Fathers as Basil, Gregory until Classical Athens global fame was over in 6th century. Three female Byzantine Empresses were from Athens, Vasilios Voulgaroktonos, the last prestigious Emperor visited Parthenon.
Mehmed the Conqueror visited Athens and gave privileges to the city marking the beginning of Ottoman Athens, that ended with Greek war of Independence. During this War, Lord Byron was astonished by city’s beauty and past glory… More recently even Sigmund Freud visited Acropolis and exclaimed “this is too good to be true!!!”, and realizing the reality of Acropolis “this is it as we learnt it in school!”. Athens was a school indeed for centuries and today it is the residence for 17 foreign schools (!!!).
One of the world’s oldest cities and once at the very heart of a powerful civilization and empire, Athens is today a hub for global trade and one of the largest economic centres in southeastern Europe. Rich in culture and encompassing an abundance of religious and historical landmarks, the Greek capital is considered a dream destination by travelers from far and wide. The vast number of attractions and points of interest that span from east to west of the Mediterranean metropolis offer tourists ample opportunities to explore a city which has connected fascinating places and extraordinary personalities over thousands of years.
Most will be aware of Athens’ main historical hotspots including that of the ancient citadel and perhaps most famous landmark, the Acropolis. However, the attractions and activities this enchanting city has to offer are bountiful and stretch far beyond those which have dominated the pages of travel magazines and postcards we see today. Athens will likely always draw in its majority of tourists due to the role it played during Ancient Greece, but the city can be explored through many different perspectives. These include Mythical Athens, Classical Athens, Christian Athens, Medieval Athens, Ottoman Athens and Modern Athens.
Tourists generally visit Athens before or after a trip to the Greek islands during the summer period. The fact that Greece is such a small country and offers excellent connections from one destination to another makes planning a tour around the peninsular country relatively easy. However, whereas many of Greece’s isles and less inhabited areas all but close down to tourists during the winter period, Athens remains a bustling hive of activity.
An all year long experience
Greece consists of a famous destination during summer, before or after a planned visit to Aegean islands or Peloponnese. Nevertheless, Greece is quite a small country compared to other famous destinations, so planning a joined trip among several places is easy.
So during Summer you should pay attention to Athens coastline nightlife, where you can combine beaches, drinks, cocktails with Mediterranean tastes. In autumn, after grape harvesting, you can organize a wine trip and tasting, in Athens, Attica or to places really worth visiting around Greece, like Nemea region. Athens is a food (especially Plaka) as well a premium wine destination.
During Winter, somone could combine a Christmas visit and New Years’ Eve in Athens, with also wonderful menus in Athens hotels, but not only that. In Athens you should visit Plaka’s Apocrea festivals and parties, where Bacchus’ parties take place.
Spring is a must for an Orthodox Easter and special celebration, not only focused in Plaka, but all around Greece is a magnificent event to watch. Even Greece’s Independence day on March 25th is celebrated specially in Athens and Plaka.
Historical Athens’ old center, Plaka, is widely considered to be an open museum comprising countless classical, roman, medieval and modern icons and monuments. Plaka, also known as the “Neighbourhood of Gods” took its name after a large white marble stone that was once situated in the famous area named “Kydathinaeon meets Adrianou”. It is widely believed that the marble that paves Kydathineon street originates from the very stone.
Those who visit the Greek capital are well informed on the classical period when, in a move to demonstrate the glory of Athens to other city states, Pericles built the Parthenon above the Acropolis rock. In fact, the area around the Acropolis formed the foundation of the city’s development dating back to Prehistoric times when Athens was no more than 90,000 m2. During the Archaic period (7th Century), the city surface had grown into an urban centre which spanned 500,000 m2 and the Acropolis transformed from a military stronghold into a religious one. In the present day, Athens covers over 15,000,000 m2 of land and Plaka is one of the only areas that has remained unspoiled throughout history. Plaka is now divided into two sections separated by Adrianou Street (running north to south): the upper level, – Ano Plaka and the lower level – Kato and you can see how you can navigate at Plaka’s streets here.