Dear participants from France and Germany,
Welcome to the Greek page and the 10 top atractions of Athens, Greece, selected and described by the Greek students.
Athens is the capital of Greece and is one of the world's oldest cities, widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilisation and the birthplace of democracy. It is a city of unique historical monuments such as the Parthenon on the rock of Acropolis-an Unesco World Heritage site and a lively modern metropolis that attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.
Athens.Panoramic view from Areopagus hill (wikipedia) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athens
10 top attractions of Athens, Greece
1.The Acropolis, the pearl of Athens
Have you ever wanted to get away from the daily routine of our modern world and discover the real meaning of ancient times? Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Parthenon on the rock of Acropolis. It is the greatest sight of Athens. Even If you are not interested in Classical Art, you should definitely feel enchanted by wandering around this magic place that stands there for about 2,500 years!!Acropolis is a high rock in the centre of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic importance, the most famous being the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Its construction began in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC ,made of brilliant white marble, surrounded by 46 great columns, roofed with tiles, and housed a nearly 40 foot tall statue of the goddess Athena. The statue was made of wood, gold and ivory and could be seen from a distance of many miles. On the rock, there are also the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike.
The Acropolis and the Parthenon above all, is the landmark of Athens. It has been under restoration since 1983 but it continues to be a symbol in many ways. First it is the symbol of democracy and the Greek civilisation. It also symbolises the beginning of the Western civilisation and is the icon of European culture. In 1987 it was inscribed as a World Heritage Site (UNESCO, 1987).
You can take a virtual tour on the rock of Acropolis here Don't miss it!! by Katerina and Miranda
2.THE NEW ACROPOLIS MUSEUM
A Glorious past in a Gleaming New Museum
THE HISTORYThe museum was built to house all artifacts and sculptures found on the rock of Acropolis. The first museum had been on Acropolis until the new museum was founded in 2003. It was opened to the public 6 years later in June 20 2009 and is now considered the 3rd best world museum. WHY VISIT THE MUSEUM? it’s a unique opportunity to learn about the ancient Greek history and you will be able to see the Parthenon through history. Almost 4000 objects are exhibited in an area of 14,000 square meters such as the statues of Caryatid, Core and the mourning Athena. You can also enjoy the view of Athens from the top floor and you will certainly admire the architecture of the building with its glass floors, sloping ramps and natural light.
THE INSIDE OF THE MUSEUM. The exhibits are placed in three levels. The first level contains exhibits from the settlement and sanctuaries of the Acropolis. The next level has a large trapezoidal hall which includes the archaic finds. The third level contains the Parthenon sculptures which weren’t taken by Elgin to England. Plaster copies of the sculptures now found in the British Museum have been placed in their appropriate places in the frieze so that for the first time in 200 years visitors can see the frieze as it was. There are plenty of facilities such as café, restaurant , visual theatre and the museum shop where you can find wonderful souvenirs.WE HOPE YOU WILL ENJOY YOUR VISIT TO THE MUSEUM AND WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING YOUR OPINION ABOUT IT.
You can take a virtual tour in the museum and its exhibits here by Babis and Vaggelis
3.THE CENTRE OF ATHENS:SYNTAGMA SQUARE, THE GREEK PARLIAMENT,THE NATIONAL GARDEN
Syntagma square is Athens' central square. ‘Syntagma’ in Greek means constitution and the square was named after a demonstration against the first King of Greece, Otto. The fact that the square was named after a large demonstration isn't a coincidence, as even today it is the main meeting place, especially for young people, to protest and express their most of the times dissatisfaction. Don't lose the opportunity to visit Syntagma, because it's not only the best square, which drives you to most Greek sightseeings, and fascinating places in Athens, but it's also a great place to enjoy a walk and see the changing of the guard (evzones) in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Are you interested in politics? If you do, you should know that the Greek Parliament (not open to the public) is just across the square and that gives you the chance to admire the old neoclassical building that used to be the old Royal Palace. What's more, a lot of events take place there, such as concerts, meet ups for young people, dance competitions etc. The Syntagma square is a place with many meanings, because either Greek people gather there to demonstrate sometimes peacefully some other times not, or just pass by every day, and so forget the meaning of this historical square and for tourists isn't just the best spectacle for great photos, but also a place to relax as it has amazing cafeterias and the National Gardens nearby. I wish you get the opportunity at least once in your life, to visit it and you won't regret it.by Selena
National Garden, the oasis of Athens
Are you in Athens and feel tired of the noise and crowds of the big city? If yes, visit the National Garden in the centre of Athens. It is a place you can rest or enjoy a long pleasurable walk. The garden is next to the Greek Parliament and it used to be the private garden of queen Amalia.The area is 15.5 hectares. Its first name until 1974 (after the political changeover) was ‘Royal Garden’. In this garden, besides herbs and other plant species, there are ancient ruins, mosaics, and sculptures of great Greeks and philhellenes.In ancient times, it was the private garden of the herbalist Theofrastos, which was a gift to him. When Otto was on the throne, his wife Amalia was so obsessed with this garden and it is said that she spent 3 hours in the garden every day. She wanted to give a ‘’green gift’’ to the city of Athens. Later, when she dealed with agricultural policy, she left the care of her private garden.The National Garden took its current name in 1927 during the republican. It is open for everybody almost all day. The garden ponds with ducks , a small zoo , a cafeteria, a library and a children's playground.I think that it is the jewel of Athens! By Areti
4. MONASTERAKI - THESEION
photo collage of pictures taken by Panayiotis and Christina.
Have you ever wanted to get away from your daily routine? Then don't miss the opportunity to visit Monastiraki and Thisio, the most fabulous and lively places in the centre of Athens! ‘Monasteraki’ means ‘small church’ and the area is named after the Church of the Pantanassa that is located within the square. Here you can also see an old Turkish Mosque which now is the Folk Art Museum. The area is full of traditional shops, a flea market, bazaars and stand holders. Besides, there are a lot of taverns where you can taste Greek food like souvlaki or desserts like frozen yogurt or ice cream. The square is located on top of the metro station Monasteraki. On the square, you can actually have a look inside a part of the metro-station which exhibits an archeological relict. It’s a great example of integrating the old with the new.
You just walk down a big pedestrian road and in 5 min you are in Theseion area, named after the ancient temple in the Agora. The Theseion area is a lively place, a fun area with great tavernas and cafes; it is a real treat to enjoy your coffee right next to history. You can enjoy the view of Acropolis with the temple of Parthenon and you will definitely love walking down the pedestrian streets past the numerous souvenir shops, the live statues and the groups of buskers. While you are walking at Monastiraki and Theseion, you will certainly discover the real meaning of Athens. ♥ by Christina
5. KERAMEIKOS.The ancient cemetery of Athens. A walk along ancient paths of history
video created by Syleia
A group of students from the etwinning class on a school visit to the Archaeological site of Kerameikos.
Kerameikos, formerly known by its Latin name Ceramicus, is an area to the northwest of the Acropolis where you can visit the ancient cemetery of Athens. The place used to be the potters' quarter of the city, from which the English word "ceramic" is derived and it functioned as a cemetery for at least 16 centuries (!!) -from around 12th century BC to 4th century AD. It is probably the least visited of the ancient Athenian archaeological sites. Kerameikos has over one thousand funerary sculptures erected along the road, out of the city towards Eleusis. You can enjoy a long walk, staring at tombs and statues in the center of Athens where you can enjoy the green and the fresh air. While walking along these paths you will also be able to see the Eridanos River. In Kerameikos you will definitely be able to discover the real meaning of ancient times. A small museum is also found inside the site, hosting burial monuments found in the area (statues, tomb plaques, toys and other belongings of the dead, etc.)To me, Kerameikos is one of the most important and beautiful archaeological sites you have to visit while being in Athens, Greece. I am sure that you will feel fascinated and excited during your walk along the cemetery paths. It may seem awkward but it is worth-visiting. Do not miss that opportunity. by Syleia
6. THE ANCIENT THEATRE OF DIONYSUS
This is how the theatre looks today.
This is how it looked in ancient times.
Are you interested in theatre? Have you ever wondered how theatre used to be in Ancient Greece? If so, you should definitely visit the Theatre of Dionysus in Athens! It is an open-air theatre which is built on the southwest slope of Acropolis and can accommodate 17,000 spectators. Being there, in an empty theatre with the remains of marble thrones and the round stage and you come to imagine and feel the atmosphere of how it was like 2,500 years ago - people cheering, actors wearing masks , poets laureate and playwrights competing each other to win a tripod. The most well-known tragedies were performed here. Great "Attic tragedians", such as Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides presented their masterpieces. Moreover, this theatre was used for big festivals dedicated to the god Dionysus, the god of wine and the patron of drama;- some believed that Dionysus himself was responsible for its construction. To sum up, if you're curious to find out how an ancient theatre looks like, you should take the chance and visit it. It is truly awe-inspiring. by Anna
7. PLAKA - The neighbourhood of Gods
Are you interested in getting away from the hustle and bustle of the modern city and be transferred to an idyllic place that will remind you most of a Greek island and take you back in past times? If yes, you should visit Plaka. Plaka is an old, maybe ancient, historical location right beneath the Acropolis. From ancient times, Plaka has been the spot where shopkeepers set up their stalls and hundreds of people gathered to shop and socialize. Even today, the area is full of shops mainly with tourist items like Greek art shops, Furs and jewelry shops. Plaka is also famous for the typical Greek taverns where you can listen to Greek music, taste delicious Greek dishes and drink retsina (white wine) or ouzo.
Plaka is an amazing part of Athens to explore. It is a place where the picturesque narrow roads, the beautiful buildings and the warming smiles of the shopkeepers will keep you around for quite a long time. While in Athens, you should not miss the opportunity to visit PLAKA because it is one of the most beautiful and most modern attractions of our city. We are confident that the experience will be unforgettable! by Christo, Nikos, Alexandros and Ramon
8. The Pnyx: The speaker’s corner of ancient times
Have you ever wondered how it is like speaking in public? While in Athens, don’t miss the chance of visiting the Pnyx, a small rocky hill with a large stone flat platform just 1 km west of the Acropolis. In ancient centuries, it was the official meeting place of the Athenian democratic assembly. There, on the speaker’s platform, all citizens were equal and could express their opinion on social and political issues as well as listen to their political leaders’ speeches and vote. This is called Direct Democracy which means that citizens directly vote in elections and not through their representatives(Members of Parliament) as it is nowadays. This makes the hill one of the most important sites in the creation of democracy. Today, this place is popular among young people and tourists and while being there you might come across a passionate speaker or who knows, you might be the one that steps on the stone to speak.
You will also have the chance to enjoy the view of Athens and the magnificent Acropolis.Believe us, it's a wonderful and unforgettable experience. by Stefania and Irene
9. SOUNIO, A LEGENDARY PLACE
Sounio is the best destination for a half day trip in the outskirts of Athens. Imagine that it is only a 40 minutes ride. It is an opportunity that you must not miss as there are a lot of things to do and admire. There, you can visit the Temple of Poseidon which is an amazing place and very peaceful. When you are there, you feel you can travel back in time. You will be enchanted by the magnificent view and you will definitely stay more and more because of the great view. Finally, for you that love poetry and know Lord Byron, you should go and see the column that he carved his name. Did we convince you? Don’t miss it. This place is magic!! by Maria, Ifigeneia and Joanna
10. THE ATTICA ZOOLOGICAL PARK
An important reason that one should visit Athens is not only the ancient monuments .There are other attractions as well, such as the Attica Zoological Park located in a nearby suburb. It covers a total area of 20 hectares, home to more than 2000 animals from 350 different species, including one of the five largest bird collections in the world. Its bird collection now comprises 250 species, of which 29 are endangered. The zoo belongs to the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums which has established humane standards for keeping animals in captivity, their diet and health as well as the education of visitors and breeding programs for endangered species. The scenery is beautiful and it is a pleasure to just wander through the pathways among the trees, grass and ponds. Don’t miss the dolphinarium and the white rhinos. Besides, there is an educational center with a collection of butterflies, moths, insects and scorpions. The Zoo is open every day of the year from 9:00 to sunset. If you are interested in the animal kingdom, don’t miss that for the world!! By Christos and Spyros
By Katerina and Panayiotis
Last editor: Arielle FREMIN