Athens - Greece

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Athens - Greece, Victory against the Persians
The first blood shed over Athens was 2,500 years ago. Evidence for this are the ruins of the Acropolis, 511 feet (156 m) above the teeming city. This steep hill site attracted people from the Neolithic period for seven thousand years.
The first powerful town was built on the high plateau by Mycenaean settlers around 1400 BC. By the sixth century the Acropolis and the settlement of Athens were synonymous. For the first time people started to build on the hillside.
The golden age began with the defeat of the Persians around 500-479 BC and colonization of the Mediterranean coast by the Greeks. Athens blossomed culturally under Pericles around 450 BC and this led to the construction of the Acropolis.
Athens remained the center of philosophy and intellectualism of
Athens - Greece
the Mediterranean world during Roman rule from 86 BC until well after the division of the Roman Empire. Athens became a mere provincial town in 529 with the closing of its school for philosophy.
In the following nine hundred years the land had constant new rulers and settlers until the Ottomans seized power in 1456 and held it until the War of Independence between 1821 and 1827
Conditions are perfect between Easter and mid-June - beaches and ancient sites are relatively uncrowded; public transport operates on close to full schedules; and accommodation is cheaper and easier to find than in the mid-June to end of August high season. Conditions are once more ideal from the end of August until mid-October, as the season winds down. Winter is pretty much a dead loss outside the major cities as most of the tourist infrastructure goes into hibernation from the middle of October till the beginning of April. This is slowly changing, however; on the most touristy islands, a few restaurants, hotels and bars remain open year-round, while the ski resorts on the mainland do thriving business.
Athens weather
Weather
Greece generally has mild wet winters and hot dry summers. Winter temperatures can be severe in the mountains and even Athens can get viciously cold. Maximum temperatures on the islands hover around 30°C (87°F) in summer, but the heat is often tempered by the northerly wind known as the meltemi.Greece owes its good climate, one of mild winters and warmsummers cooled by a system of seasonal winds, to its geographic position. The general condition of the weather in the Greek seas usually stabilizes in early summer, and is characterized by bright sunshine and very little rainfall. However, from April to October, the winds vary significantly from area to area, in terms of direction, strength and duration.
Athens is one of the great cities of the world and one of the few places that can look back to a history of thousands of years. No other place contributed so much to the Western civilization than did Athens during its peak time 2,500 years ago, when it was the spiritual center of the then known world. It was here that such universal values as democracy were born and flourished. It was here that philosophical and political meditation were developed and later affected the course of the Western civilization. It was here that literature, fine arts and sciences reached an unparalleled acme. History, however, is not the only reason why the Greek capital has become a popular tourist destination. This vibrant metropolis of 4 million inhabitants offers visitors many choices of what to do during their stay.
sights of Athens
Sightseeing and Tours
The many sights found in and near Athens allow for a full program during a stay of several days. Escorted tour companies offer a selection of half-day and full-day tours. 
Morning tours take visitors to the major sights of Athens.
Sunset tours to the Poseidon Temple at Cape Sounio are offered in the afternoon. 
Evening tours include both the Sound & Light show and a Greek folk dance presentation at the Dora Stratou Folk Dance Theater or the more mundane pleasures of a Greek nightclub with bouzouki music and floor show. 
Full-day tours go either to Delphi or to the archeological sites of Argolis, i.e. Corinth, Mycenae, Nafplion and Epidaurus. One-day cruises to the Attica Islands of Aegina, Poros, Hydra and Spetses are also available.
Athens
Shopping
Athens will prove to be very challenging for the avid shopper, The most exclusive area for shopping clothes is Kolonaki with its many boutiques featuring designer labels. Ladies will also appreciate the shops of elegant Ermou Street selling clothes, shoes and accessories. Many boutiques for both men and women can be found on Patission Street (between Kodrigtonos and Fokionos Negri Street) as well as in the southern suburb of Glyfada (on Metaxa Street) and in the northern suburb of Kifissia (in the Kefalari area). Inexpensive wear is sold in Eolou Street and its side streets. Several shops in Mitropoleos and Evangelistria Streets sell fabrics. At 9 Mitropoleos Street is also the showroom of the Greek Handicrafts Organization presenting a selection of traditional hand-woven carpets.

The most exclusive jewelry shops can be found in Voukourestiou Street (in the section between Stadiou and Akadimias Streets). Jewelers can also be found around Syntagma and Omonia Squares, in Mitropoleos Street and in Plaka. Boutiques specialized in furs are located around Syntagma and Omonia Squares, in Mitropoleos Street and in Plaka.

Athens features many art galleries selling original works of art. Some galleries are concentrated in Plaka and Kolonaki.

Athens
The shops of Panepistimiou, Stadiou, Akadimias and Patission Streets feature books, compact disks, clothes, shoes, jewelry and electronics among other articles.

The shops of the Plaka area feature a great variety of handicrafts, antiques, souvenirs, clothes and jewelry. Many shops can be found along Kydathineon, Adrianou and Pandrossou Streets.

In Monastiraki, the narrow streets around Avyssinias Square are cramped with shops selling new and second-hand articles ranging from clothes and books to music instruments and antique furniture.

Inexpensive tools can be found on Athinas Street. Not to be missed is the Central Market on Athinas Street, which is housed inside a huge market hail, built in 1856. Meat products, seafood, fruit and vegetables can be found inside the hall and the surrounding side streets, showcasing the treasures of Greek agriculture.

Some of the museum shops feature copies of antique sculptures and pottery as well as handicrafts, traditional costumes and jewelry. These shops can be found at the Acropolis, the National Archeological Museum, the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art and the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum.

No shopping spree is complete without a stop at a wine store. Excellent Greek wines are proof of a wine-growing tradition of thousands of years. Greek cheeses, olives and excellent oil can be purchased at food stores.

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