Athens, Greece

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Athens, the capital of Greece, is one of the oldest cities in the world as its origins dates back to 3000 BC. It is considered as the cradle of modern civilization because it is the birthplace of democracy, literature and western philosophy. Though the Olympics started out in Olympia, Greece in 776 BC, Athens was the host city to the very first modern day Olympic Games in 1896.

Athens is home to two UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Sites: The Acropolis (inscribed in 1987) and the Daphni Monastery inscribed in 1990.

The Acropolis of Athens is the most striking and complete ancient Greek monumental complex still existing in our times. It is situated on a hill of average height (156m) that rises in the basin of Athens.The first fortification wall was built during the 13th century BC, and surrounded the residence of the local Mycenaean ruler. In the 8th century BC, the Acropolis gradually acquired a religious character with the establishment of the cult of Athena, the city’s patron goddess. The sanctuary reached its peak in the archaic period (mid-6th century to early 5th century BC). In the 5th century BC, the Athenians, empowered from their victory over the Persians, carried out an ambitious building programme under the leadership of the great statesman Perikles, comprising a large number of monuments including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia and the temple of Athena Nike. The monuments were developed by an exceptional group of architects (such as Iktinos, Kallikrates, Mnesikles) and sculptors (such as Pheidias, Alkamenes, Agorakritos), who transformed the rocky hill into a unique complex, which heralded the emergence of classical Greek thought and art. On this hill were born Democracy, Philosophy, Theatre, Freedom of Expression and Speech, which provide to this day the intellectual and spiritual foundation for the contemporary world and its values.” – UNESCO

The logo of UNESCO is inspired by the Parthenon, a temple built in honor of goddess Athena.

Parthenon

 

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