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,