Discount Hotels Athens
Historical interest: Athens
The earliest settlement in the area, dating from before 3000 BC, was situated
on the summit of the Acropolis, protected on all sides except the west by its
steep slopes. Named for the city's patron goddess, Athena, the ancient city developed
mainly to the north of this hill, around the Agora marketplace.
Parallel walls (also called 'long walls') created a protected thoroughfare
between the city and its port of Piraeus. 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.
Although overshadowed by the rise of Rome, Athens remained a city of social
and intellectual importance during the Roman Empire. Thereafter, the city declined
in importance. It was subject to attack by Slavs and was reduced to a petty
provincial town in the Byzantine Empire.
In 1204, Athens was occupied by the Crusaders and remained under Western rule
until its capture by the Turks in 1456. Greece gained independence from the
Turks in the war of 1821-32, and in 1833, Athens became the capital of Greece.
In 1833, Athens was a small urban settlement of fewer than 4,000 people located
north of the Acropolis in a district known today as the Plaka. Modern Athens
developed to the north and east of the old city. The architect Eduard Schaubert
laid out a network of wide, straight boulevards that converge at Syntagma (Constitution)
Square and the Royal Palace, lying to the east of the early city.
The expansion of Greece's territories in the First and Second Balkan Wars (1911-1913)
was truly breathtaking. Its land area increased by some 70 per cent, and so
did its population (from 2.8 million to 4.8 million). A military junta seized
power in 1922 as King Constantine abdicated and Greece emerged from the travails
of the 1940s (civil war) in a state of devastation.
Nonetheless, the post-civil war political regime had a distinctly authoritarian
hue, and from the mid-1950s Greece underwent a rapid process of economic and
social development. The country moved gradually from military rule to democracy
over the next two decades.
The most significant recent improvement is the completion of an extensive underground
rail network in time for the 2004 Olympic Games, expected to reduce traffic
and pollution, which can only make Athens all the more desirable as a destination.
Selection of hotels in this region:
Hotel Rio Athens
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full list of hotels and online booking