What do we know about Greece? Certainly, Athens – the first thing that comes to mind!
This ancient city was called after the favorite daughter of Zeus – Athens – goddess of wisdom. Athens is an ancient cradle of the greatest civilization; the legendary city that has no equal. This noble city is situated on the central plain of Attica and is surrounded by such mountains as Pendeli, Imittos, Egaleo and Parnitha. Athens includes Old Town, Central districts, the suburbs and the port of Piraeus. There are two hills in the center of Athens: the hill of the Acropolis with the Parthenon and the ancient temples and Lycabettus Hill (Likavitos). On the top of Lycabettus there is the beautiful church of St. George.
The symbol of the Greek capital is the majestic Acropolis. Here, in ancient times, on the hill of the Areopagus took place the meetings of the Board of Elders which was the greatest judicial authority of the ancient Athenian state.
Ancient Athens is a birthplace of theater. On the southern slope of Athens’ Acropolis there is one of the oldest theaters in the world – the theater of Dionysus. The worship of the god of wine and the variety of festivities contributed to the birth of the theater as a separate branch of the entertainment. Annual celebrations in honor of the god of wine and fertility Dionysus were held here, the ancient playwrights competed with each other, such classics as the tragedy of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, as well as comedians Aristophanes and Menander performed here for the first time.
Parthenon is one of the most famous monuments of the ancient architecture in the Athenian Acropolis. This is the main temple of Athens which was dedicated to the patroness of the city and the whole Attica, the goddess Athena-Virgin. It was built in 447-438 BC by the architect Kallikrates.
The Parthenon was conceived as an ideal structure that visually had to ease the burden on the bearing elements. Historians of architecture separately highlighted the concept of “curvatures” of Parthenon. This is explained by a special distortion, which created some optical adjustments. Temple seems perfectly rectilinear, but its contours have no strictly straight lines. Masonry was carried out without any mortar or cement and the overlaps were made of wood. In the center of the temple there was an 11-meter statue of Athena Parthenos. It was made of gold and ivory. Unfortunately, the sculpture is not preserved.
Temple of Olympian Zeus or Olympeion is the largest ancient Greek temple, and its size exceeds even the famous Parthenon. It is located in 500 meters from the Acropolis. Temple of Zeus was built in Corinthian style, with columns in two rows at the ends and in three rows at the facades. According to legend, the temple was built at the place the sanctuary of mythical Deucalion, who was the forefather of the Greek people. The construction of the temple began in 515 BC and was completed only in 650 years after the start of the building work. There was a statue of Zeus inside the temple, made of gold and ivory, as well as a statue of the emperor Hadrian. Currently, one corner was preserved of all the building, composed of 14 columns, decorated with Corinthian capitals, two free-standing columns and one felled.
Here you can also find the churches of the Byzantine period: the Russian church of the Holy Trinity, the church of St. Theodore, the church of St. Catherine and others. There are monuments of architecture and neo-classical buildings of the XIX century – building of the Academy of Sciences, the National State University of Athens and the National Library.
Athens is also known for its magnificent beaches. The wonderful beaches of Porto Germeno and Alkionides, as well as amazing Cala Nisya and Alepohori are located on the coast of the Gulf of Corinth.
In the north of the Saronic Gulf there are such beaches as the Kinetta, Pahi, Eleusis, Lutropirgos as well as Alimu and Agiu Cosma. Here you can also find an amazing lake Vulyagmeni which is considered to be the real natural wonder. They say, the waters of this lake are therapeutic.
There is a Varkiza Beach – quiet and peaceful coast, sandy Freatida, Batis or Votsalakia, spacious beaches Asteras Glifadas, Katramonisi, Fleves, Voula and Kavouri – the list of these and other points of interest can be endless.