Athens: What To See And Know In The Capital Of Greece



Despite the wealth of ancient monuments and stone on which his fame rests, Athens is certainly not a dead city. Indeed, it is precisely the opposite: a capital city full of life, teeming with people, except for the hour of siesta. While it is true that the stifling summer heat and gray tower blocks demotivate the traveler and lead him to avoid long stays, the fact remains that this megalopolis is able to give special feelings, keeping the privilege did not look like any other part of Greece. According to the latest census conducted in 2007 Athens, situated in a plain in the center of Attica, would count approximately 720,000 inhabitants in the municipality, and more than 3,800,000 in the vast metropolitan area, now a single conurbation, in which houses the famous port of Piraeus and its municipalities.

The history of Athens appears as a rich set of triumphs and ruins. During the Mycenaean period, between 1500 and 1200 BC and indeed rather nebulous, the city was known for the legend of the heroic Theseus, winner of the Minotaur and involuntary parricide on his return from Crete . Similarly Theseus synoikismos ascribes the foundation of a grouping of a dozen villages penthouses, including Eleusis and Marathon, as well as Athens, which was the economic and administrative center of this great agglomeration. The Athens that everyone knows, the historic birthplace of democracy, saw the light between 650 and 500 BC when, following the reforms introduced by Draco, by the wise Solon and Cleisthenes, the city laid the groundwork for the introduction of democracy Athens. The prestige of the settlement increased significantly following the victories of Marathon (490 BC) and Salamis (480 BC), while the exploitation of new silver mines in the current Lavrion, south-east of Attica, contributed to the financing of war.

Free from any external threat, the Athenians were able to fully devote that time to the development of culture under a good leadership is no accident that we speak of “the age of Pericles,” which finds its most sublime symbol in the Parthenon. After the glorious ancient period, the fate seemed relentlessly against Athens : the Franks dominated it since 1204, following disputed whether the Catalans and Florentines, finally, in 1456, three years after the capture of Constantinople, the Ottomans took possession. At the end of the seventeenth century the Venetians lay siege to the city and gave the coup de grazi: Athens , or rather what was left, took on the appearance of a field of ruins, with the Parthenon, turned into a mosque, reduced to a ruin. Only in the decade between 1820 and 1830, when the young state gained independence greek albeit on a very small part of the national territory, it was decided to refurbish the town, which worked in some great European architects of the time, for most Germans, who designed a neoclassical center from the geometric structure as possible. Since then, the urban fabric has been extended up to encompass most of the adjacent region.

Obviously, the stay in Athens can only be characterized by an archaeological survey. The sites are many, too many to be visited all, so it requires a careful selection of such privilege at the expense of other goals. To begin with, we can go around the large pedestrian area from the cemetery in Ceramic odòs Ermou and passed through the streets and Apostolou Pavlou Dionissiou Areopagitou, and finally all’Olimpièion, from which to leave on foot at a time sites of ceramic, the Agora, the Acropolis and dell’Olimpièion same. Thanks to renovations undertaken in the recent Olympic Games in 2004, these areas of the city were reported to the glories of the past, with many squares and neoclassical buildings that have finally returned to their respective original color, at the expense of dullness caused gradual pollution in the air.

For many tourists visiting the city, Athens Acropolis stands for. In this area, the symbol of Athenian history and Greek, there are several monuments of the utmost importance, almost all made of Pentelic marble: Beule Gate, the entrance to the site, named after the French archaeologist who restored it after it is discovered under the Turkish fortifications, dating back to Roman times and flanked by two towers, the Propylaea, the monumental entrance marked by an impressive succession of Doric and Ionic columns, which gave access to the true sanctuary, reached by the Via Sacra, which began in Ceramic and the Temple of Athena Nike, built an elegant Ionic placed on a wall, from which, according to legend, he threw the old Aegean convinced that his son Theseus had been killed in Crete by the Minotaur, the Parthenon, the first building built by Pericles , completed in fifteen years between 447 and 432 BC by the architects and Ictinos Kallikrates, built on a base in excess of the length of the present temple, base of an earlier temple destroyed by the Persians, and on which you have written pages and pages history, and the Erechtheion, the small shrine of the famous Caryatids, columns with molded figures of woman who, to ward off damage from pollution, have been replaced by copies in 1979, while the originals are in the museum of ‘ Acropolis. In the south slope below the Acropolis lies the theater of Dionysus, dating from the fifth century, where they were shown the masterpieces of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes, followed by nearly 2,000 spectators. A little ‘to the west is the theater of Herod Atticus, Roman, and still used for some events of the Festival of Athens.

A very interesting visit is the Agora, the place where not only are they treated business affairs, but they exchanged information and commented on the latest political news in the news. There was everything from public services, administrative offices, shrines, and today it’s hard to imagine with the power of thought this ferment. Do not miss the Giants, however, the Portico and the Temple of Efaistièion, said Theseion for north and south friezes of the metopes, representing businesses of Theseus. A little ‘to the south rises the hill of Philopappos, more significant for the view from there you can enjoy up to Attica Piraeus for the tomb of this prince of Syria. The hill is covered with green, and descending along the west side, you can see the ruins of some houses, while on the other side of the road, after the pretty chapel of Agios Dimitrios Lombardiaris reminiscent of churches in the mountains, stands the hill of Nymphs, Pnyx with the observatory. Finally, to cap off the walk, you can stop the Areopagus, the Acropolis opposite: here was meeting the court that he found, among many, even Orestes.

Under Amalias corner of Olgas, are Hadrian’s Gate and Olimpieion. The door from the second century, and separates the city from Greek and Roman, while the Olimpieion, dedicated to Zeus, was a monumental temple columns with a diameter of 2.38 meters. Today there are only 15, impeccably aligned, small consolation if you think back of 104 items that stood in full force, reaching the respectable height of 17.25 meters. The construction works were launched in 515 BC and ended in 131 AD by order of Hadrian.

Between neighborhoods and areas of the city’s special mention: Platia Sìndagma, the great square of Athens , situated just below the Parliament, Plaka, one of the most vivid, lively and interesting city, with shops, restaurants and bars that serve as frame with a colorful street performers and dancers sirtaki, the Monastiraki, the bazaar of Athens , where to buy all kinds of merchandise; Psiri, an old neighborhood that extends around the streets and Miaouli Evripidou, home to shops of local handicrafts dealers, antique dealers and services more “trendy”, as local restaurants, and Gazi, Shick an area frequented by artists, intellectuals and lovers of disco nights.

They are of course also many museums: the National Archaeological Museum, which displays Greek treasures from every era, the Byzantine and Christian Museum, housed in a villa built in 1840 for Sophie de Marbois-Lebrun, Duchess of Plaisance, which contains some splendid works of these two different cultures, the Benaki Museum, set within a classical Athenian neoclassical building, which offers a broad overview of Hellenism from its origins to the present day, the Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek, a beautiful building in glass and white marble that contains salt donated by a fan of Cycladic Art, the Museum of Greek Folk Art, very interesting because it illustrates the customs and traditions which more than 2,500 years are repeated throughout Greece, the Baths of Aeridon, placed near the Tower of the Winds, or the old Turkish bathhouse, the only well saved and restored to Athens, the Frissiras Museum, dedicated to modern Greek and European painting, and the Museum of Maria Callas and nothing but the collection that the City of Athens bought at auction held in Paris in 2000 on course objects and photographs related to the famous star.

The climate is typically Mediterranean, with warm, sunny and very dry summers and mild winters and little rain. Average temperatures in July are around 27/28 degrees, while those of January, the coldest month, down to 9 degrees. In reality, both in winter, especially in summer, there are often days that extend well beyond the average weather, bringing cold and sometimes snow in winter and scorching afternoons in the summer by the heat oppressive. The best months to visit Athens are therefore those of May and September when the weather is particularly pleasant. The rainfall is very low, much lower than many other parts of Greece, and tend to be around 350/400 mm of rain per year.

Transport and transport infrastructure was significantly upgraded during the 2004 Olympics. The main airport is Eleftherios Venizelios, a modern port, from which pass through every year tens of millions of people. The backbone of public transport consists of a handling system of iron which includes three lines and three suburban railway underground lines, partially on the surface, to which are added trolleybuses and buses, many of them to methane, for a total of more than 350 lines. The main railway stations are those of Stathmos Larissis, stop in the center of Piraeus and SKA, acronym of the Greek meaning “joint rail Acharnae”, as e homonymous suburb. Very important for policy, particularly trade, is the port of Piraeus , while the three ring roads that encircle the city to pay are the roads that catalyze more traffic.

Originally posted 2012-08-02 10:12:19.

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