The Athens, Greek capital, represents the “Cradle of Western civilization”. This epithet picturesque describes the importance, powerful and glory of this city. There are many reasons why the Athens enjoys in its glory and it is difficult and would take a lot of time and space to write something about each of them separately. Certainly it is just impossible not to mention that the Athens has itsown city symbol, the Parthenon on the Acropolis by which it is recognizable as well as the Paris has the Eiffel Tower or New York has the Statue of Libert. Also the Parthenon represents the most painted and photographed building in the Europe.
According to the legends, the Goddess of Wisdom Athena and the God of the Sea Poseidon competed who will be the protector of a small town on the Attica peninsula. The supreme God of the Olympus, Zeus decided that those who give the most beautiful gift to the city would be the city protector. The Poseidon has with its trident hit in the stone and the water just came out. The Athena has planted unusual and strange tree – olive tree. The people voted in Athens favor and in gratitude for that special gift, the city was named Athens by the Goddess Athena.
Today the Athens is a modern European metropolis living its fast live. When we talk about the Athens, it can be freely said that Athens has its own style, modern life style on the one side mixed with ancient architectural style of buildings on the other side. Opinions are divided: some people would consider it as a beauty while some people would consider it as a disadvantage. Construction of modern Athens began forties and then it got the typical architectural style, by which it is recognizable today, white buildings with flat roofs and large terraces – a classic Greek architectural style.
The major squares in the Athens are: the Omonoia Square (Πλατεία Ομονοίας) and the Syntagma Square (Πλατεία Συντάγματος) where is located a monumental building of the Greek Parliament in front whom held a spectacular ceremonial changing of Evzones guards (guard of honor of the Greek army).
The famous Ermou Street is a popular shopping area connected the Syntagma Square and the Monastiraki (Μοναστηράκι), city district known for its small souvenir shops, markets and taverns. The Plaka (Πλάκα) is the ancient historical part of the city under the Acropolis, known as the bohemian city part with many taverns. The Kolonaki (Κολωνάκι) is one of the elite city parts at the foot of the hill Likavitos, particularly interesting for tourists because it is known for its exclusive stores with expensive merchandise, restaurants and bars as well as for museums and galleries.
Still there aren’t building in the Athens that can be compared with the magnificent Acropolis. The Acropolis is a limestone hill, where are the remains of the Parthenon . Once in the Parthenon there was the Parthenos, Athena’s statue made of gold and ivory. Today, the Parthenon ruins are always surrounded with scafollings, because it conserves and strengthens always something, but even so, the Parthenon is still so magnificent that leaves you breathless. It is assumed that the Parthenon was built in Doric architectural style in the fifth or sixth century BC.
To enter the Acropolis, you have to go by stairs and to pass through the glorious Propylaea gate. On the Acropolis, beside the Parthenon, there are also two smaller temples. Just after you passed through the Propylaea gate, on the right side, there is a temple of the Goddess Nike (goddess of victory) and the smaller the Erechtheion temple built in the Ionian architectural style known for caryatids, pillars in the shape of human figures.
There is the Acropolis museum on the Acropolis hill too, in which are preserved valuable exhibits from the Archaic, Classic, Hellenistic and Roman periods, mostly reliefs, sculptures and fragments of the frieze.
At the foot of the Acropolis hill are two ancient theaters – amphitheaters: Herod’s Odeo and the Dionysos Theatre, the Hadrian’s Library, cemetery Karameikos, the cell where Socrates was imprisoned as well as monuments dedicated to Diogenes and Lysistrata. On tht east side of the Acropolis is located the Olimpeon, archaeological place from the sixth century BC, dedicated to the Zeus, supreme God of the Olympus.
It is supposed that Ionians, who were first inhabitants of Athens, about 6000 years ago, have built the Acropolis. The Athens experinced its greatest prosperity in the fifth century BC when ruled Perikles and it has become the capital of Greece in the 1834th.
Today the Athens is a city that has about 3 million inhabitants and represents cultural, political, administrative and economic center of Greece and next to Istanbul, the second largest and most important city of the Balkan Peninsula.
Published on: 22.12.2010