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Athens – the Birthplace of Western Civilization

The list of major contributions that Athens has made to the world is endless. Concepts like philosophy, democracy, drama and mathematics would not have been the same without the great minds of Athens and Ancient Greece. In a time when the Greek city-states dominated the ancient world, Athens was the greatest among them. This history can still be seen in the city’s major sights, chief among which is the Parthenon. This temple to the goddess Athena sits atop the Acropolis, which looks across the modern city of Athens. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses the best Greek Classical buildings and many of the city’s other top attractions are within walking distance. The Ancient Greeks also gave the world the Olympic Games, and when the movement was revived in the 1800s, Athens was chosen as the site of the first modern Olympics, held in 1896. It also hosted the games in 2004. The area of Olympia, where the ancient games were held, is fairly close to Athens and makes for a great day trip, as do the other historic sites of Delphi and Mycenae. There are flights to Athens from cities all around Europe, as well as Asia, Africa and North America. An efficient new international airport was built for the 2004 Olympics. This has served to improve the arrival and departure experience for visitors. Like most European destinations, there are cheap flights to Athens on the many discount airlines that have popped up in Europe in recent years. In fact, flying is now often cheaper than taking the train between European cities. As for accommodation, there are hotels in Athens to suit every taste and budget. Camping grounds and hostels are just as easy to find as the leading five-star hotels. Hotels are to be found right across the city, with a particular concentration near the major sites and transport hubs. After a day’s sight-seeing, hang out with the locals and try a souvlaki with tzatziki for dinner, then cap it off with either a shot of ouzo (the aniseed-flavored liqueur) or a Greek-style frappé.

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