- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Travel to Athens, Greece
Greece may be undergoing a difficult period, but Athens will forever remain a European centre of culture, with stunning classical sites and world-class museums.
Athens, the capital city of Greece, has the distinction of being one of the oldest cities in the world. It has been continuously inhabited for the past 4,500 years, with a recorded history spanning about 3,400 years. Bordered by four mountains, Athens lies in the Attica Basin. It is here that the foundation stone of the Western civilization was laid.
The city is named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who is celebrated by an ancient temple on the Acropolis, rising proudly above the concrete jungle of modern Athens. It reached its heyday in 5th century BC as a city state, when many of the icons of Ancient Greece were erected.
Since the early days, Athens has been a favored tourist destination. Home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Acropolis, there is even more to the city than meets the eye. The first thing that the tourists get to see when they set foot in Athens is its magnificent architecture. From Greco-Roman to Neo-classical, to the modern architecture, the city buildings are a veritable feast for the eyes. Amidst the different styles of architecture, the city is a wonderful blend of the old and new. As you walk through the streets of Athens, you will find old mansions existing right along the most modern and luxuriant houses.
Given the city’s illustrious past, it is only natural for Athens to be one of the most important archaeological sites of the world. Those who wish to learn a bit more about the history of Athens can visit the several museums in the city. These include the National Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine Museum, the Epigraphic Museum, and the Cycladic Museum. Ever since the 2004 summer Olympics in the city, the influx of visitors has increased manifold. The first stop on their list is the Acropolis.
The Acropolis, in literal terms, means the edge of the city. It was mainly created for the defense of the city. Acropolis is crowned by four Ancient Greek temples, the best known of which is the majestic Parthenon. The Parthenon is a temple dedicated to the Greek Goddess Athena. Built in the 5th century BC, it is iconic of the greatness of Greek civilization and its democracy. While the Acropolis and the Parthenon would transport you to the earliest centuries of Greek history, a visit to the Syntagma Square is likely to bring you back to the 21st century. The Syntagma Square is the central square of the city of Athens. It houses the Greek Parliament.