Athens, althoug it became the capital of Greece only in 1834, the goddess of wisdom Athena (daughter of all-powerful Zeus) had long since been chosen as the guardian of the city by the greek Gods who gathered on Olympus. The toursit visiting today the capital still faces the hellemic history and mythology. No better place to feel this history than the Acropolis, with its panoramic view of the town and its temples dating back to the 5th century BC. Pericles, the general who had ruled Athens from 461-429 BC, had led an ambitious building program on this rocky plateau. The Parthenon thus became the heart of the ancient city and it stands now for Greece glorious past.
The traveler can only imagine today how it looked like (something like imagining the Colosseum at its maximum splendor).
Although the most photographed monument on the Acropolis is the Erechtheion with the beautiful six stone maidens, or Caryatidis, used in place of columns, it is on its southern slope that Greek tragedy was born and where Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides had their plays performed in front of some 17000 spectators. A fairly short walk leads the tourist to the Agora, or marketplace of ancient Greece, where men like Socrates met to debate and started the foundations of western philosophy.
Mostly touristy but still requiring a walk are two of the oldest inhabited areas of the town: Plaka and Monasteraki, with their souvenir shops and boutiques. Above all in the labyrinth of Plaka narrow streets plenty of cafés, restaurants and tavernas offer some relax to the tired tourist. who can still walk to Monasteraki flea market to navigate among old books, records, coins and many other items. A suggestion: bargaining is here a must.
After a full day of sightseeing, sit down once again for an ouzo (traditional licorice-flaavoured spirit) and watch the sunset on the highest point of Athens, the Likavittos Hill. Last but not least: there is no shortage of hotels in Athens, for every budget and every taste.
As part of the Ottoman empire for almost 400 years, one cannot but have a small strong ‘Turkish’ coffeee served in any coffee shop. But if you want to jump into a variety of designer boutiques, just go to Tsakalof Street. Here again just sit down at one of it’s many trendy cafés before starting your visit to the over 100 museums in Athens, from the National Archeological Museum to the Goulandris Museum and the National Gallery of Art.