Athens is one of the oldest and populated cities in the world, with a history going back 3400 years and a wealth of traditional buildings, ruins and archaeological remains.
Chief among these is the Parthenon, perched on top of the Acropolis which still dominates central Athens, while the traditional Agora, Church of Olympian Zeus and the Tower of the Winds are among many reminders of the ancient times of this unique town which continue to draw in masses of world travellers.
In the meantime , first-class museums like the Nationwide Archaeological Museum with its Mycenaean, Classical Greek, Hellenistic and Roman treasures, and many smaller museums like the Byzantine Museum with its collection of medieval art and the Greek People Art Museum, which homes traditional costumes, embroideries and woodcarvings, are on each visitor’s tick list.
Nonetheless Athens is not just about traditional history and monuments. Athens is a modern, colourful city with an energetic cultural scene, including many music, drama and dance holidays, and it’s a great spot to go do some shopping, whether you are looking for designer fashions in upmarket Kolonaki or perusing for bargains in the busy and always intriguing street markets.
Tavernas and restaurants in Athens serve some of the finest Greek cuisine in the world, and the city’s ouzeris the Greek equivalent of tapas bars are delightful places to try local specialities in an authentic setting. If you get bored with the busy speed of town life, the beach resort of Glyfada is simply a short distance along the coast from Athens, where you can luxuriate in a spot of swimming and sunbathing, and the pretty tiny island of Aegina is a short ferry ride across the Saronic Gulf.
Main Sights in Athens
Acropolis Still dominating the skyline of Athens 2500 years after it was built, the Acropolis is a really top flight sight that no visitor should miss. At the top stands the Parthenon, the wonderful marble church dedicated to the goddess Athena and dating from the fifth century B.C.
It’s the biggest Doric temple ever built in Greece. Also on the Acropolis is the Erectheion, another church devoted to Athena, Poseidon and the Athenian king Erecthonius, adorned with caryatids, or statues of young maidens, and the Church of Athena Nike, while below are the Theatre of Dionysos and the Roman-era Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which still hosts music and drama performances today.
Athens 6 Day Weather Forecast
Nationwide Archaeological Museum Home to Greece’s most critical archaeological treasures, the nation’s Archaeological Museum displays a big number of finds from across the nation. You might spend days here without seeing everything. The Mycenaean antiquities on show include the famous Mask of Agamemnon. Also here are Cycladic manikins from the third century B. C, bronze and marble statues of gods and goddesses, Minoan frescoes from Santorini, Hellenistic and Roman sculpture and beautifully designed pottery from the Neolithic period onwards.
Benaki Museum Set up in 1931 to shelter the non-public collections of a rich Greek merchant, this museum displays a wide-ranging assemblage of artefacts from ecclesiastical silver and non secular icons to paintings including works by El Greco as well as textiles, woodcarvings, pottery, jewelry and a prominent collection of Greek regional people costumes. Traditional Agora This Agora, or market, was the heart of traditional Athens, and the buildings here have been punctiliously revived to their appearance in the Roman period.
The Stoa of Attalos, reconstructed in the 1950s, contains an engaging museum with artefacts in relation to normal life in traditional Athens while other notable buildings include the Church of Hephaestus, built in the fifth century B. C, the Stoa of Zeus Eleutherios, where Socrates delivered his speeches and the 10th century Church of the Holy Apostles, built to remember the visit of St Paul to the Agora in the first century Anno Domini. Museum of Cycladic Art This modern museum homes one of the best and most vital collections of traditional Cycladic art, dating from 3000-2000 BC and gathered from across Greece and its islands.
Also on show is traditional Cypriot art, pottery and Hellenistic and Roman sculptures. Countrywide Gardens Laid out behind the nation’s Parliament building, this lush park is a rare and much treasured area of greenery in central Athens. Made in the 1840s as a personal royal park, the gardens are criss-crossed with shady paths and dotted with pools and flowerbeds.
Plaka The historical centre of the old town, the Plaka is the primary traveller road in Athens. Unavoidably , it’s become really commercialized and crowded, but regardless of the expansion of tacky keepsake shops it keeps much of its unique charm. Rambling along its narrow lanes, you will find medieval churches including the wonderful 12 th century Panagia Gorgoepikoos – kooky small museums, traditional Greek and Roman remains and lots of cafeterias and tavernas where you can stop off for refreshment.