Greeks and myths go hand in hand, but there is so much more to Athens than what you hear in these stories. It changed the entire country for the better because the citizens sought a voice that they claimed should be heard by the ruling class. One of the best ways to understand the impact of the city on Greece is to learn the various facts about Athens.
These encapsulate the essence of Athens and what it has to visitors. If you want to have a cultural and historical experience on your next vacation, the Greek capital is a great option.
Historical Facts About Athens
The city has been in existence since ancient times, which is why it has a long history. While it’s impossible to narrate the complete history, here is a small glimpse into the past with some ancient Athens facts.
Settlement Evidence Dates From 4500 And 4000 BC
Humans began inhabiting Athens during the late Neolithic Era. Progress was rapid, and by the time the Bronze Age came into being, the city was one of the most crucial places for the Mycenaeans.
However, real progress and prosperity for Athens came during the Iron Age, as it became a vital trade center.
Democracy Was Born In Athens
If you go into the roots of the word “Democracy”, you will understand it comes from the Greek words “demos”, which means “the people”, and “Kratos”, which means “power”. The citizens initiated their assembly back in the day and decided it was time for their voices to be heard.
However, men that owned property were at the forefront of democracy in the city.
During the 4th Century BC, Athens Was In Its Golden Age
Ancient Athens and Golden Age go together because this is when the city saw a lot of prosperity. It was an era where the culture of the city also flourished. At the peak of the Golden Age, the Parthenon was also built in the Acropolis of Athens.
Nafplion Was The Capital Before Athens
Athens wasn’t always the capital of Greece. In fact, it was a bustling and prosperous city called Nafplion. The city is also known as Nauplio and is one of the most beautiful coastal cities in Greece.
In 1834, two years after the establishment of the Kingdom of Greece, the capital was switched from Nauplio to Athens because of its historical importance.
In 2004, Many Ancient Artifacts Were Uncovered
More than 30,000 artifacts from ancient times were uncovered in 2004. These included coins, vases, gold, oil lamps, and much more. A bronze head and statuette were also uncovered that dates back between the 1st and 5th centuries.
Cultural Facts About Athens
You can’t separate Athens and culture because this is what the city is built on. We have selected some of the most interesting facts about Athens and its culture.
Myth States That Poseidon And Athena Were In Competition To Become The Guardian Of Athens
Greek mythology is always one of the fun and intriguing aspects of Greece.
Legend has it that there was serious competition between those who wanted to become the guardian of the city. Both of them had to offer a gift, and the winning party would become the guardian. Poseidon’s gift was a saltwater spring, while Athena decided to gift an olive tree, which was deemed to be better, and she won.
Tradition Of Theater In Athens Is As Old As Time
Even in Ancient Athens, theater was an important outlet for people to express themselves. Plays used to happen that honored the Greek Gods and Goddesses, along with comedies and tragedies. You can also go and enjoy a theatrical performance at one of the ancient theaters.
Trying Moussaka Is A Must
One of the popular Greek food to try on your trip is the Moussaka. It is usually made of minced lamb, tomatoes, and eggplants, with some nice cheese on top. There are different varieties of Moussaka available throughout the city, so that’s an excuse to get more than one serving.
Interesting Facts About Athens For Kids
Athens is an important city that have been in existence since ancient times. Here are some fascinating facts about Athens, Greece that can interest the young ones.
Athens Is Not The Birthplace Of the Olympics
Many people mistakenly think that the Olympic games started in Athens; however, that is not correct. The Olympics were started in a city called Olympia, hence the name “Olympics”.
The misconception may have started because Athens used to have its own games called the Panathenaic Games. Another reason why Athens might be (mistakenly) considered the Birthplace of the Olympics is that the first international Olympics were held in Athens in 1896.
In 2003, Dora Bakoyanni Gave The City The Changes It Needed
Marble used to be an important part of the sidewalks of downtown Athens. However, Dora Bakoyannis, the first woman mayor, decided it was time for this to change. So she changed the walkways and roads in Athens to make it more accessible for everyone.
You Will Find Various Architectural Styles In The City
As you take a stroll through the city, you will find examples of various styles of architecture throughout. These include modern, Neoclassical, Greco-Roman, and many others. Make sure you keep your camera handy to take some incredible pictures of these places!
Useful Athens Facts For Travelers
Traveling in Athens means you will get to learn a lot about the culture, myths, philosophy, and everything else that makes the city what it is. These fun facts about Athens can help you in your exploration of the city.
The Panathenaic Stadium Was Made During The 6th Century BC
Today, this impressive historic site is one of the major landmarks in Athens.
When it was first built, the purpose of this stadium was to work as a racecourse. Later in 330 BC, it was rebuilt using limestone as the people thought this would be a better choice. Finally, even the limestone was removed and changed to marble in 145 AD.
The Temperature Can Get Very Hot During Summer
Summer is warm with August typically being the hottest month in the entire year. Athenian summers are clear, dry, and hot, with temperatures going over 28C. It also receives the most hours of sunshine in July, so plan your trip and pack according to the climate.
The National Archaeological Museum Dates Back To The 19th Century
Athens is famous for having the largest archaeological museum in the country. It is the perfect spot to learn about the history of the city and country.
The museum also serves the purpose of protecting all the antiquities uncovered here. You will find an incredible collection that offers a glimpse into ancient Greece. It is one of the most educational and insightful landmarks in Greece.
There Are Many Michelin Star Restaurants Here
Some people love to travel in luxury and enjoy gourmet cuisine wherever they go. If this resonates with you, then you need to visit the Michelin Star restaurants in Athens. These include Pelagos, Soil, CTC, Varoulko, Spondi, Hytra, Botrini’s, and Funky Gourmet.
It Has Various Trendy Neighborhoods
Visiting the city for the first time means exploring the trendy districts that you will not want to take your eyes off. Some of the exciting neighborhoods in Athens include Gazi, Plaka, Psyri, and Kolonaki. Take a leisurely stroll through them to understand what they are all about as they each have their own charms.
Common Facts About Athens
Here are some general facts about Athens that are good to know.
The Hotel Grande Bretagne Has Been Welcoming Guests Since The 19th Century
Greece is famous for providing some quality, high end experiences. One of the luxuries in Athens is dining in Hotel Grande Bretagne as a guest, sipping on delicious wine, and enjoying the best view of the Acropolis.
If you have the budget for it, you can even book this luxury hotel for your stay. Everything from the service to the views is excellent here.
You Will Not Find Many Skyscrapers In The City
The city has deliberately avoided building any skyscrapers because they obstruct the beautiful Parthenon’s view. Besides that, the city is also prone to earthquakes, and construction work can be tedious. Every time the workers dig the ground, they find something from the past.
The Pride Parade Has Been Taking Place Here Since 2005
Athens welcomes LGBTQ with open arms, as the Pride Parade is also an important part of the culture. Perhaps the most interesting Pride neighborhood in the city is Gazi. So if you are visiting during that time, make your way there to soak in the atmosphere.
Facts About Acropolis Of Athens You Didn’t Know Before
The Acropolis of Athens is a historical landmark that you should know more about before you visit the city. Some important Acropolis Athens facts include the following.
The Parthenon Has Seen Some Hard Times
Persians burned the Parthenon in 480 BC, but that was not the only challenging time that it had gone through. In 267 AD, the Heruli also decided to destroy it along with the city. Then, during the 6th century, they decided to turn it into a church before it became the historic site it is currently.
The Odeon Of Herodes Atticus Hosts Musical Performances And Cultural Events
Anyone that wants to have a glimpse into the culture of Athens should visit one of the cultural events or musical performances at The Odeon of Herodes Atticus. It is situated at the Acropolis feet, and throughout the year, various events take place here. Check the schedule when you go and see if you can catch a show.
Visit Acropolis During The Early Morning
Plan your visit to the Acropolis smartly because it is one of the most popular things to do in Athens. We recommend going early in the morning because it can get crowded and very hot later on, as there is no shade. Grab a fulfilling Greek breakfast and prepare for some historic adventure and great city views.
Another important note to keep in mind is try to avoid going on a rainy day because the rocks are slippery. This is one attraction where joining a guided tour is worth it if you want to really understand the stories behind the site, rather than just seeing the ruins.
Other Interesting Facts About Athens
Here are some other amazing Athens facts that gives you more insights into the city and region.
Attica Has Been Producing Wine For More Than 4,000 Years
Wine lovers will enjoy a visit to Attica, one of the oldest regions where wine has been produced for a long time. It has some of the most delicious wines that will wow you with its exceptional flavor. Try the Retsina wines, and you will understand what we mean when we say they have the best wine.
Plato Found The Educational Academy In 385 BC
Also known as the Platonic Academy, it is located just outside the walls of the city. Many consider this to be one of the first universities in the modern world. Locals also refer to it by “Academy”, which is why you should not be confused when you hear these terms for the university.
Air Pollution Has Caused Major Problems To Ruins
The air in Athens is moderately polluted, and long-term exposure to it can cause significant health risks. It doesn’t just cause problems for humans but also for the ancient ruins of the city.
The pollution in the air causes a lot of degradation to ruins such as Erechtheum and many others. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to reverse these changes right now, and people just live with it.
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Discovering More Fun Facts About Athens, Greece
The greek capital is one of the most beautiful places in the world that is rich in culture, history, and heritage. These were just some of all the interesting facts about Athens that offer a glimpse into the unique culture.
Whether you’re interested in ancient ruins, gourmet greek treats, or trendy neighborhoods, this ancient city has it all. If you have never visited, plan your next trip to Athens and explore all the exciting and fun things the city has to offer!