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A unique mix of historic Athens and modern day Mediterranean culture

Athens, which sprawls well beyond its official limits, is unlike any other European capital. Home to roughly one-third of the Greek population, its fabric has been woven by successive waves of migrants – initially from the Greek provinces, today from abroad – since it was established in the 11th century B.C. The Greek capital may exhibit all the characteristics of a big city but at heart it remains a small town.

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Famous The symbol of Athens

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Ariana Hendrix Content Editor

I knew the Acropolis would be impressive, but there’s nothing that can prepare you for the sheer size and age of this truly mind-boggling structure. Come in the evening to watch the sunset over Athens (and for the best photography light) and give yourself plenty of time to wander and ponder.

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The symbol of Athens Editors' Note

Glimpsed between the forests of antennae on Athens apartment blocks, towering majestically at the end of central streets, glowing in the summer sunshine, the Acropolis is omnipresent. But nothing prepares the viewer for the breathtaking magnificence of this monument when seen up close.

The awe it inspires comes from more than sheer beauty: the Acropolis temples are the greatest achievement of classical Greece, combining mathematical proportion with a glorious aesthetic to create an effect both human and sublime.

The Acropolis was a seat of royalty and a focus of religion as far back as Neolithic times. After the 11th century BC, however, Athena became the focus. Most of the myths surrounding the Acropolis are associated with the goddess of wisdom: it was on this rock that she battled Poseidon for control of Attica’s greatest city.

The god of the sea struck the rock with his trident and out gushed a spring, his offering to the people. Athena offered the olive tree (providing food, oil and shelter), and the citizens awarded her patronage of the city that still bears her name.

Acropolis, Athens
210 321 0219
Apr-Dec 8am-7pm daily. Jan-Mar 8.30am-2.30pm daily