A journey to antiquity

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The precise location of the city, as well as a detailed map of the location of the different Slovak cities, you can find on the following link.

Athens is the capital of Greece and the seat of the region of Attica. The name of the city is associated with that of the ancient Greek goddess Athena, its patron. According to a legend, the inhabitants of the city chose this name after a dispute between Athena and the god of the sea – Poseidon. Trying to convince people, Poseidon created a salt pan – a symbol of sea power, while Athena – an olive tree, a symbol of prosperity and peace. In the end, the inhabitants liked Athena’s proposal better and named their city after her.

Description: panoramic view of Athens /picture source:;

Today, Athens seems to be a mixture of two cities – the city of the ancient Greeks, unreal and great, and the other city – dynamic and modern. The largest monuments of the past – the Parthenon and the Acropolis rise above densely packed blocks and busy streets.

The history of the city is so rich that it can hardly be told in one or two paragraphs. The city is one of the oldest in the world. There are historical records dating back about 3,400 years. Athens was an important part of the Mycenaean civilization, but it acquired a true Mycenaean character only after 1500 BC. Relics from the first Mycenaean palace were found where the Erechtheion and the first temple of Athena – the Acropolis – which still stands today. In the early period of the 12th century BC the heyday of the Mycenaean period passed, but Athens did not remain desolate.

During the classical period, the city was one of the strongest ancient Greek city-states, reaching its heyday in the 5th century BC with its cultural achievements that laid the foundation for Western civilization. In 490 BC the Athenians fought a hard battle against the Persians who wanted to conquer their city. This battle took place near Marathon. After heavy fighting, the Athenians managed to win. To announce the victory, the Athenian army sends the messenger Philippides, who runs the distance to Athens, announces the victory, and dies. That is where the name of the Olympic sport “marathon” came from.

Description: a temple in Athens /picture source:;

Towards the end of Late Antiquity, the city suffered a decline, which was followed by a recovery in the second half of the Byzantine period (9th-10th century BC), and was relatively prosperous during the Crusades, benefiting from Italian trade. In 1458 the Ottomans conquer Athens. Sultan Mehmed II, greatly impressed by the ancient monuments, issued a decree prohibiting their looting and destruction. The Parthenon was converted into the main mosque of the city. In 1687, Athens was besieged by the Venetians. A shot during the bombing of the Acropolis caused an explosion in the Parthenon and the building was badly damaged. In the following years, the Turkish army set fire to the city. Ancient monuments were destroyed to provide material for a new wall with which the Ottomans surrounded the city in 1778.

Between 1801 and 1805 Lord Elgin, a British resident in Athens, took reliefs from the Parthenon, along with one of the six caryatids of the Erechtheion. In all, fifty sculptural figures were taken from the Parthenon, including three friezes that were purchased from the French. After a long period of decline under the Ottoman Empire, Athens re-emerged in the 19th century as the capital of the independent Greek state, helped in part by Lord Byron. An interesting fact that many people do not know is that Athens is the third capital of Greece after Aegina and Nafplio.

Descroption: the Greek Paliament;

In 1896, Athens hosted the first modern Olympic Games after the Roman Emperor Theodosius I banned the games in 393. In 1894, at a congress in the Sorbonne, organized by Pierre de Coubertin, the “International Olympic Committee” (IOC) was created, which decided to host the first Olympics in Athens. A record number of athletes participated in the event for that time, but compared to others Olympic Games is the lowest. The most important race for the Greek community is the marathon, which was won by their compatriot. Spyridon Louis was the first Greek to win first place with a time of 2:58:50, beating his compatriots and competitors from abroad.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Greece appeared united. Within three years its territory doubled, it prospered financially and its industry grew. However, the war presented Greece with an unwelcome dilemma. If the country joins the Allies, then it will not only face Germany and Austria-Hungary, but neighboring Turkey and Bulgaria, which are full of appetite for Greek territory. On the other hand, Germany hinted to Greece that if she remained neutral and the Central Powers won, then the Greeks would get part of Serbia and Albania.

Description: Plaka district /picture source:;

The then Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos wanted to take the side of the Antanta, but the king had a different opinion. Annoyed by the situation, Venizelos left for Thessaloniki. Then Greece split into two governments – one supporting the king and the other Venizelos. At the time, the Prime Minister was in constant touch with England and France, who were sending warships to the port of Piraeus. Athens is then blocked and has no choice but to join the Antanta.

During the Second World War, the situation in Athens was very difficult because the winter of 1941 was extremely cold and many people died of hunger and cold. On the other hand, the citizens of the city showed extraordinary bravery when they declared permanent strikes against the Nazis, who wanted to send many Athenians to concentration camps. Eventually, the Germans’ plans changed and the townspeople triumphed. After World War II, the city began to grow. Greece’s entry into the European Union in 1981 brought many new investments to Athens.

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