[photo by marcelgermain]
The Greek capital has a population of 745,514 (in 2001) within its administrative limits and a land area of 39 km2 (15 sq mi). Theurban area of Athens extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3,130,841 (in 2001) and a land area of 412 km2(159 sq mi). According to Eurostat, the Athens Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) is the 7th most populated LUZ in theEuropean Union with a population of 4,013,368 (in 2004). A bustling and cosmopolitan metropolis, Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece. It is rapidly becoming a leading business centre in the European Union. In 2008, Athens was ranked the world’s 32nd richest city by purchasing power and the 25th most expensive in aUBS study.
Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato‘s Academy and Aristotle‘sLyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles,Sophocles and its many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace ofdemocracy largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent.
The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by a number of ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon on the Acropolis, widely considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains a vast variety of Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of remaining Ottomanmonuments projecting the city’s long history across the centuries. Landmarks of the modern era are also present, dating back to 1830 (the establishment of the independent Greek state), and taking in the Hellenic Parliament (19th century) and the Athens Trilogy consisting of theNational Library of Greece, the Athens University and the Academy of Athens. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics, with great success.
[Article via Wikipedia]
Arrival and Departure
The new award-winning Athens International Airport, Eleftherios Venizelos, has been serving Greece’s capital since opening to the public on March 28th, 2001.Its stellar design has -according to surveys- made it one of the world’s leading airports in overall passenger satisfaction for the last four years and Europe’s fastest growing airport.
At the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Athens is a city that is easily accessible from virtually any point of departure. Flights from major airport hubs in London, Berlin, Paris, New York, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Zurich, Rome, Milan, Larnaca and Dubai come in daily and frequently.
Located 33 km (20 miles) southeast of Athens, it is easily accessible via Attiki Odos, a major highway constituting the Athens City Ring Road. Public transport to Athens and the port of Piraeus is provided by the new metro, express airport bus connections, taxi and high-speed rail.
Athens can be reached by road via Western Balkan countries, Bulgaria, Albania and Turkey.
There are daily ferryboat connections from Italy (Ancona, Bari and Brindisi, Venice and Trieste) to Patras the second largest port of entry to Greece; approximately 220 km (135 miles) from Athens. The Middle East is accessible via the port of Volos.
The main railway network of Greece currently provides links between Athens and Northern and Southern Greece and the rest of Europe through the Western Balkan countries and Bulgaria.