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The earliest settlement, dating from before 3000 BC, was situated on the summit of the Acropolis. Named for the city's patron goddess, Athena, the most glorious period in the city's history was the 5th century BC, when it was the cultural and artistic centre of the classical world. In 1833, Athens became the capital of Greece. At this time Athens was a small urban settlement of fewer than 4,000 people located in a district known today as the Plaka. The architect Eduard Schaubert laid out a network of wide, straight boulevards that converge at Syntagma (Constitution) Square and the Royal Palace

Events in Athens

The Athens Festival is the main cultural event during summer. The performances take place in several venues across the city. The highlight of the Festival are the performances of ancient Greek drama taking place in the splendid Epidaurus Theatre.

Athens boasts a lively theatre scene with dozens of theatrical companies showcasing their productions ranging from conventional to avant-garde. Visitors are also drawn to art exhibitions in the National Gallery and other venues.

Athens is host to major sporting events such as the Athens Marathon Run, which features the original Marathon-Athens route, the acclaimed Rally Acropolis and sailing regattas taking place in the Saronic Gulf.

Must See in Athens

The Acropolis. The most famous site in all of Athens is situated in the centre of the city and contains a cluster of ancient ruins.

Agora was once the site of the marketplace in ancient times.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is also a must see. The Parthenon is renowned for its dignified white marble columns and perfect proportions.

There are many wonderful museums in the city. Some of the most notable are the National Archaeological Museum, featuring the art and artifacts of the Minoans.

The Benaki Museum, A collection of ancient and modern Greek visual culture.

The Acropolis Museum details the history of the Acropolis, and features a collection of ancient statues used in religious ceremonies.

The National Gallery of Art houses a collection of 20th century Greek art in addition to Renaissance Western European art.

The National Gardens provide a soothing respite of greenery from the big city with picnic benches, cafes, duck ponds and a small zoo.