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01 - 07 Sept, 2012
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collageTravel Athens
by HAMZA

The capital of Greece is a huge modern city, but one with old roots and many monuments dating back to the dawn of civilisation. At first glance, Athens seems entirely to be composed of nasty, four- to six-story concrete buildings, lacking character and badly in need of paint, but if you look beyond that, you will find little gems tucked in amongst the grey. The areas at the foot of the Acropolis, Anafiotika, Plaka, Monastiraki and Thissio are home to many wonderful Neoclassical buildings, trendy and traditional cafes and shops, narrow winding streets, and incredible views of the Acropolis. Little Greek Orthodox churches are tucked in amongst the concrete, often in the most unexpected places. These are usually beautifully decorated with icons and brass fixtures inside, but make sure you're appropriately dressed, as a mark of respect. The main monument to visit is of course the Acropolis, the hill upon which the Parthenon and other important sites are located. The Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the ancient fortified town of Athens, dating back to the Late Bronze Age, and the site of the best buildings of the Greek Classical Age: the Parthenon, the Erectheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. Acropolis dominates the Athenian sky and symbolises the foundation of modern culture and civilisation. As the most famous landmark of entire Greece, the place is a symbol of democracy, education and inspiration. If you attend a university in the European Union, and bring your ID card, you can enter for free. The climb can be hot, but it is worth your while. Don't forget to visit the Plaka, one of the nicest areas of town and ideal for shopping and wandering through cobblestone streets or sitting down in one of the many taverns.

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