10 Awesome Facts About Athens
6 min read
6 min read
Athens takes the glory of being the origin of democracy, western philosophy and literature, the Olympic games, major mathematical principles, and theatre. Many prominent philosophers, rulers, politicians, and scientists, including Alexander the Great, Socrates, Aristotle, Pericles, Plato, and Sophocles came from this enigmatic and fascinating city.
The origin of Athens dates back to around 3,400 years ago, with its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium. For that reason, it is considered one of the oldest cities in the world and Europe’s Oldest Capital.
The main landmark of Athens is the Acropolis, which dominates the city where the remains of the Parthenon, the propylaea, and the Erechtheum stand. All together these formed the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek antiquities to the world.
Having been inhabited for over 4,000 years, Athens has experienced almost every form of government in history – including monarchy, democracy, socialism, capitalism, and even communism.
Athens is home to the first known democracy, established in Athens around 500 B.C. It was based on a direct democracy system, in which eligible citizens directly voted on laws.
The tradition of the theatre started from Athens’ first democracy, with the city home to 148 theatre stages, this is even more than the West End and Broadway combined.
Besides the Acropolis of Athens, there is another UNESCO world heritage site here – the medieval Daphni Monastery. The Byzantine-style monastery was first built in its current form almost a thousand years ago. It had risen from the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Apollo Daphneios.
Due to various human activities, Athens experiences the urban heat island effect. Elefsina and Tatoi suburbs of Athens recorded a temperature of 48.0 °C on 10 July 1977 that ranked Athens first in the record books of the World Meteorological Organization for the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe.
Greece is the world’s third-largest producer of olives, which were a hugely important part of the Grecian diet. These sacred trees have been growing in Athens for thousands of years, and some of the trees planted in the 1200s still produce olives to this day.
Plato was Athens’ most influential teacher, while he was also famous as a philosopher, scholar, and mathematician. He was responsible for creating the Academy, the first institute of higher learning in the western world, making Athens the home of the first university.
With rich culture and history, Athens has always been a favourite vacation spot and it attracts around 17 million tourists every year. However, due to their weakened economic output and financial stability, it’s widely known as one of the PIIGS during the European debt crisis.