Athens also written as Αθήνα in Greek, one of the oldest cities in the world, is the capital and biggest city in Greece. Founded some 3,400 years ago, Athens today is a city of some 750,000 people (2011 estimate) covering an area of 39 sq km (15 sq mi). The urban area of Athens has a population of 3.2 million people (2011 estimate) over an area of 412 sq km (159 sq mi).
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More On Athens
The city is located in the central plain of Attica, often called the Athens Basin. It is bounded on three sides by high mountains: Mount Parnitha to the north, Mount Aegaleo to the west, Mount Hymettus to the east, and Mount Penteli to the northeast. Of these, 1,413-meter (4,636-foot) Mount Parnitha is the tallest and is within a national park.
Within Athens itself are a number of hills, about twelve. The tallest is Lycabettus. From the peak, you can get a nice view of Athens spread all around you.
That Athens is old needs no repeating. Evidence of human presence has been found at the Cave of Schist going back to the 11th millennium BC. As a city, it has been continuously inhabited for a span of seven thousand years. it became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the 5th century BC. It has begun to decline by the Middle Byzantine Period (9th-10th centuries AD). The conquest of the Ottomans in 1453 sealed its decline for a long period to come.
Athens received a new lease of life in the 19th century. At that time, it was nothing more than just another village, yet it was selectede to be the capital of the independent Greek state. A new city had to be designed around the ruins of ancient Greece. In 1896, it was brought onto the world stage as host of the first modern Olympic Games.
An influx of Greek refugees in the 1920’s from Asia Minor following the Greco-Turkish War swelled the population of Athens, but it was after the Second World War that the city experienced explosive population growth. By the 1980’s it was experiencing a myriad of urban woes from over congestion to smog and high pollution. The years leading up to the Athens Olympic Games of the new millennium saw the city sprucing up with anti-pollution measures and grand infrastructure projects such as the new Athens International Airport and Athens Metro. Today it is considered a much more functional city than a couple of decades before.
Going To Athens
The new Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport is the main airport for Athens and Greece. It is located in Spáta, a suburb about 27 km (17 mi) to the east of the city center. From the airport, you can take the Athens Metro to the city for €6.00. Discounted group tickets are also available for 2 nor 3 people traveling together.
Getting Around In Athens
There are many transport options in Athens, among them the Athens Metro, the suburban trains, the trams,k the trolley buses, the regular buses – and they all accept a €1.00 ticket that allows your unlimited transfers within a travel period of 90 minutes.
If you are going to use public transport a lot, then get the Tourist Ticket for €15.00. It allows you unlimited travel on all the aforementioned transports over a three-day period. You can buy it at the ticket office or from the ticket machines at the airport metro station.