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Athens History, Greece

Athens in Greece is one of the oldest cities in Europe beginning its history for over 7,000 years ago.  Its history, from its glorious to dark days has been well-documented and well-known by almost everyone.  It is commonly said that Athens is the birthplace of European civilization and democracy, having bred three of the greatest philosophers of all time—Aristotle, Plato, Socrates. 

History of Athens begins with the Neolithic settlers which date back to around 5000 BC.  During the Bronze Age, on the Island of Crete, the Minoan civilization ruled but they were overpowered by the Mycenaean civilization at around 1200 BC. During the time of Mycenaean, culture was lost in such a way that the art of writing was never used which resulted to lack of information.  This period is referred to as the Dark Ages

Following the fall of Mycenaean civilization during the early Iron Age or around 1100 to 900 BC, the Dorians invaded Greece—to which we call Dorian Invasion. The start of historical period was around 900 to 700 BC when Greek city states start to develop—Athens, Corinth, and Sparta.  People started creating pots and were brought back to writing, hence, the term historical period.  It was during this time that Homer was known in the Greek world, having written epic poems like Iliad and Odyssey

During the Archaic period, a lot of Greek cities flourished in terms of political, philosophical, and of course artistic developments.  All of these were destroyed when Persians invaded Greece in 480 BC.  At 479 BC, Persian invasion came to an end and Athens took the lead in bringing the Greek civilization back by reconstructing the destroyed temples and buildings. Around 4th century BC, Athens developed even more in the arts like literature, structures, and architecture.  Politically, they were able to bring back the democratic government.  The center of civic life was Agora, a place in Athens.  It was a marketplace and a place where citizens could talk about civic and public life.  Surrounding Agora were Areopagus and Pnyx where the supreme court sat and the Athenian Assembly come together as a group, respectively. However, conflicts within cities, specifically Sparta and Athens, arose which resulted to Peloponesian War which ended on 404 BC.

It was during the Hellenistic Period when Alexander the Great’s former empire was divided into three parts, namely: Seleucids located in Asia Minor, Ptolemies found in Egypt, and Macedonian in Greece.  Athens continued to prosper in their cultural life but failed to have its own government.  The best philosophical schools were established in the country. 

Finally after 200 years of Macedonian empire, Greece was absorbed by Rome on 84 BC. The Roman period gave Greece a chance to become a free city, the country continued to thrive.  But it was the Byzantine period that a part of the Roman empire was converted into Christianity—Constantinopolis--causing most philosophical schools to be closed down. In 1453, the Ottoman Turks invaded Constantinopolis and ruled for 400 years.  Athens continued to suffer during the World War 2 under the German occupation.  In 1981 Greece joined European Union, which helped them rise up from all the disasters it had gone through.

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Read our members' reviews about Athens

  • cipristbDon't miss it in Athens
    review by cipristb posted more then 30 days ago
    Probably the main point of atraction when you visit Greece capital, Athens, may by the Acropolis where the visitors can see the Parthenon. The Acropolis has become during the time a Greek simbol. It is situated in the center of Athens, at the height of 180 m from the sea level. It was biult in...
  • WazlingWhat to visit in Athens
    review by Wazling posted more then 30 days ago
    Athens as a city, is a big fat man, who's dirty and not able to move. Culture of course you can have there a lot, for example with the Parthenon, the Agora and so on. You can spend days there, only visiting ancient Greek places and museums, mostly close to areas with ancient ruins. There're a...
  • WazlingAthens - first impression
    review by Wazling posted more then 30 days ago
    I've never seen such a different city before that time. On the one hand there was everything historical and full of antique things, on the other hand the place was very dirty and spoiled sometimes, mainly if you went away from the tourist places. Today it's not so bad any more, like friends told...
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Read our members' travel tips about Athens

  • WazlingThe ancient burial place Kerameikos
    travel tip by Wazling posted more then 30 days ago
    If you are at Athens, visit the Kerameikos, the ancient burial place of Athens. It is situated north east of the Acropolis. Some findings are also to see in the Kerameikos museum, the bigger part is shown at the national Museum.
  • MadSuhBring water with you to the Parthenon
    travel tip by MadSuh posted more then 30 days ago
    Athens is extremely hot, so make sure that you always have enough to drink with you. Especially when you are climbing up to the Parthenon.
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Athens City Ratings

  • Rating77%
    City Rank176
  • History & Culture: rated for 100%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 85%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 33%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 43%
  • Food: rated for 70%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 95%
  • Shopping: rated for 80%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 60%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 100%
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