The Ancient City of Athens
Athens is a city rich in both natural beauty and history. Athens came to being around 4000 B.C. on top of the Acropolis and has been inhabited ever since. During its thousands of years of existence, the people of Greece have constructed magnificent monuments and buildings to honor their gods. Many of these structures are now in ruins throughout Greece and Athens.
The Parthenon in Athens is probably one of the most well known of all the ancient Greek structures that can still be seen today. Also known as the Temple of Athena the Virgin, the Parthenon was built to honor the goddess Athena, who the ancient Greeks believed protected them during the Persian Wars.
Athens was actually much smaller long ago, and the Monastiraki district where flea markets are held today is where the old town used to be. The Plaka is the name given to this whole area and many ruins and monuments can be seen here. These include the Tower of the Winds and the Monument of Lysicrates. The Pnyx, rocky platform where speakers would stand during democratic assemblies is also nearby.
The Acropolis is a great place to take in the true experience of the ancient city. Built into the slope of the Acropolis is The Theater of Dionysus. Northwest of the Acropolis is The Areopagus or Mars Hill, which is even mentioned in the Bible.
Located in the center of Athens is the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, which took over 600 years to build and is a major tourist attraction today.
In addition to all of the ruins themselves, several museums in Athens feature collections of ancient Greek art, sculptures, and artifacts. The National Archeological Museum of Athens houses a great collection of ancient Greek art and sculptures, weapons, pottery, jewelry, and paintings. The museum is considered to be one of the best archaeological museums in the world and a site to not be missed when visiting Athens.
The Benaki Museum started as a private collection of Anthony Benakis and includes Greek art from pre-historic to modern times.
The Museum of Cycladic Art contains collections of Cycladic, Ancient Greek, and Cypriot art.
The Kanellopoulos Museum features over 6,000 artifacts such as statues, sculptures, coins, jewelry, and pottery from the Bronze Age to the present. Represented cultures include the Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean cultures.
The War Museum of Athens focuses on war history for a period of thousands of years. Weapons on display include axes from the Stone Age and fighter jets from World War II.
The Piraeus Archaeological Museum contains artifacts from the city of Piraeus, where the Athenian navy was based, and surrounding areas. Some of the artifacts actually came from the bottom of the sea.
There is so much to see in Athens that it would be impossible to cover all landmarks of interest in one article. Other historic landmarks include: The Library of Hadrian, Hadrianís Arch, and The Hill of the Muses. Also of interest are the burial grounds of Kerameikos and the Marathon Battlefield.
For more information about the history of Athens and surrounding areas, check out the following websites.
Ancient Sites in Athens This site has a very good list of ancient sites and museums to visit in Athens along with an historical background of each.
History World This is a chronological history of ancient Athens.
Athens Greece Guide This website features Athens tourism information and sites to see, as well as a brief history of the area.
Cheap Hotels in Athens to provide you with the best travel experiences in Greece.
Greek Architecture This website has some good information about Greek architecture according to period of history.
History of the Acropolis This is an article that discusses the history of the Acropolis in Athens.