Glo­ri­ous Greece

The Luxury Collection - - Contents - -By Aruna Rathod

A rich his­tory, mon­u­ments, beaches, is­lands and ex­otic Greek cui­sine make Greece a great hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion through­out the year.

Greece brings to mind an azure sea and bright white build­ings. Athens, the cap­i­tal,has a glo­ri­ous past and el­e­gant build­ings mak­ing it easy to fall in love with the city. Ac­cord­ing to Greek mythol­ogy, Athens was named af­ter a com­pe­ti­tion that the god­dess Athena had with Po­sei­don to de­cide who would be the pro­tec­tor of the city. Po­sei­don hit the ground with his tri­dent and cre­ated a spring, show­ing that he would of­fer sig­nif­i­cant naval power. Athena of­fered the olive tree, a sym­bol of pros­per­ity and peace, as she touched the ground of the sa­cred rock of the Acrop­o­lis. The peo­ple of Athens choose Athena as their pro­tec­tor and so the city was named af­ter the god­dess of wis­dom.

A peek into the past

The first set­tle­ment of Athens in 3000 BC was sit­u­ated on the rock of Acrop­o­lis. It was dur­ing the 5th cen­tury, un­der the reign of Per­i­cles, that Athens had its golden pe­riod. Dur­ing this pe­riod the Golden Age of Athens, the Parthenon was built.

Arts, Phi­los­o­phy and Drama de­vel­oped to their high­est point. Dur­ing the reign of the Ro­man Em­peror Adri­anos, Athens be­came his beloved city. Adri­anos built and dec­o­rated Athens with mag­nif­i­cent mon­u­ments like the Adri­anos Li­brary. With the fall of the Ro­man Em­pire Athens’ im­por­tance de­clined as well.

Dur­ing the Byzan­tine times Athens was a pro­vin­cial town of the Byzan­tine Em­pire and many Byzan­tine churches were built in Athens. The Cru­saders in­vaded the city from the 13th cen­tury un­til the 15th cen­tury when the city was oc­cu­pied by the Turks. Af­ter the Greek war of In­de­pen­dence, Athens be­came the Cap­i­tal of Greece in 1833. Un­der the reign of the first king of Greece, Otto, the city ex­tended to the north and many build­ings were built by Ger­man and Greek Ar­chi­tects.

What to see

Athens is a mix of breath­tak­ing mon­u­ments and mod­ern, el­e­gant struc­tures of the present. Acrop­o­lis is the crown­ing beauty and glory of An­cient Athens lo­cated on a rock plateau with the Parthenon, the Propy­lea, the tem­ple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion, with its Porch of Maidens all nearby.

You can drive to the Tem­ple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathi­naikon Sta­dium – which is where the first mod­ern Olympic Games were held in 1896. Af­ter ex­plor­ing one part of Athens, it’s best to take a lunch break with Greek food. In­dulge in starters with dumplings stuffed with var­ied fill­ings (like feta cheese, sun­dried to­ma­toes, and pomegranate sauce); pro­ceed with the main course of Grilled Chicken (with proscuitto ham, cherry to­ma­toes, smoked cheese from vermio and sage). Greek cui­sine con­sists of clas­sic dips such as tzatziki (yogurt,

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