Athens - Athens guide, attractions and pictures
, (Athina) the oldest European capital, is a city of magnificent historic monuments, countless museums, fast urban development, and busy street fare. Located on the Attica Periphery, Athens stands for the centre of the cultural, economic, financial, and political life of Greece
. The capital combines ancient splendor and modernization to establish itself as a vibrant, admirable, and unforgettable tourist attraction.
The early history of the capital begins during the Neolithic period. In 1400 BC, Athens functioned as a mighty Mycenaean city. Four centuries later, Athens established itself as a major cultural and artistic centre of ancient Greece. The city was governed by aristocrats and generals for centuries. Solon, the founder of the Athenian democracy, declared the annulment of all debts and introduced the trial by jury in 594 BC. Under the reign of Pericles in 5th century BC, Athens experienced its Golden Age. The city witnessed the construction of splendid architectural masterpieces, the rapid rise of sculpture, and an incredible boom in drama and literature. Athens lost some of its glory during the Peloponnesian Wars and fell under the rule of Philip II of Macedon in 338 BC. During the Roman period, the city established itself as an important intellectual and cultural center. Athens was captured by the Ottomans in 1456 and gained independence nearly four centuries later.
Athens is the traditional host of several major festivals. Taking place at the Atticus Theatre, the Hellenic Festival features ancient and modern theatre, opera, ballet, and classical music. The European Music Day promotes international and Greek Music. In view of the major landmarks around, the Parthenon
is one of the most significant architectural pieces of Athens. Located on the Acropolis or the ‘Highest Place’, the building had functioned as the sacred home of the city’s protector: the goddess Athena. The monument is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Ancient Agora of Athens is one of the most famous agoras or places of assembly, constructed by ancient men. In the 6th century BC, Peisistratus established the agora as the centre of the Athenian government. Other major landmarks include the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, the Banaki Museum, and the Byzantine Museum. The archaeological museum features the world’s largest collection of Greek antique art. The exhibitions cover the Neolithic and Mid-Bronze period, and Cycladic, Mycenean, and Egyptian art collections. Established by Antonis Banakis, the Banaki Museum boosts an extensive collection of Greek masterpieces from the prehistoric period to modernity. The Byzantine Museum displays rare scriptures, frescos, manuscripts, and pottery which belong to the Byzantine period of Greece.
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