10+1 Facts about Athens that you need to know!

Acropolis in Athens, photo by Mattyas John Lamar, found on Unsplash.com

Athens is the biggest city in Greece and also the center of politics and tourism in the country. The city has a population of more than 3 million people and it is among the ancient capital cities in Europe. Athens has a rich history and known as the birthplace of Western Civilization. Some of the best facts about Athens are listed below.

1. Did you know that Athens is the oldest capital city in Europe? Athens has an origin that dates back to 3,000BC. It is also older than the first permanent settlement in the United States (St. Augustine, Florida) which was founded in 1565.

2. It is known as the birthplace of democracy: Athens was the first place to propose a system where eligible citizens can vote directly on laws during 500BC. This then brings about democracy that we are all enjoying now.

3. Marathon was named after a long run to the city: Marathon is now a sport thanks to Pheidippides, a Greek soldier than ran from Marathon to Athens in 490BC. This run then inspired today’s 26.2-mile marathon event.

4. The 4th Fact about Athens is that the city houses one of the 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece: The Acropolis of Athens was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena in 448BC and it is among the most popular archaeological sites in the world. The site is also listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list with 17 fascinating sights in the country.

5. Poseidon may have been the patron of the city if not for an olive tree: Athena and Poseidon competed for the title of the guardian of the city based on mythology. They then offered a gift for gaining favor from its people and gods but the olive tree presented by Athena was deemed valuable than the saltwater spring that was given by Poseidon. This is why her name was given to the city.

Monastiraki Athens, photo by Jimmy Teoh from Pexels.com

6. The sixth fact about Athens is that the city houses the most theatrical stages in the world: It is a common fact that the Greeks take theater very seriously and the tradition of theater dating to the time of the first democracy in Athens. The city houses about 148 theater stages which are more than the theaters in Broadway and West End combined.

7. The Acropolis in the city has a rich history: Although the Parthenon is regarded as the central city landmark in the Acropolis, the temple has a troubled past. In the past, the temple was used for storing munitions before it was converted to a church and then a mosque, it was also looted by the former Ambassador to Constantinople Lord Elgin. The temple was also used as an army barrack and in 1987, it was bombed by the Venetians.

8. Did you know this fact about Athens? The city has never held the ancient Olympic games: Athens had its games known as the Panathenaic Games which dates back to 566BC and you will be surprised to find out that the first Olympic Games were held in Olympia located in the Peloponnese in 766BC.

9. The sidewalks in Athens was built by a woman: The sidewalks of downtown Athens were usually paved with marble from the late 19th century to the 1990s. The first female mayor in Athens, Dora Bakoyannis then decided to renovate it in 2003 because the marble is old and would be slippery during the rainy days. Although you will find some marbled sidewalks in the city, most of the Athenian walkways and roads were modernized which helps to make the city accessible to everyone.

10. The 10th Facts about Athens is that a lot of Archaeology finds were discovered in the Athens Metro: The greatest archaeological finds in the city were found during the construction of the Athens Metro to aid transportation during the 2004 Olympic Games. More than 50,000 artifacts were excavated and you are going to find some of the finds displayed in Six Metro stations.

11. Athens houses a wide range of architectural styles: Athens is an ancient city that dates back to antiquity. If you are architecture enthusiasts, you can head to Athens which houses diverse architectural styles that range from Greco-Roman to modern ones. The city has experienced all types of government such as democracy, monarchy, capitalism, socialism, communism, and so on.

These were the 10+1 facts about Athens, if you liked my post please share the love and let me know any facts that you think I should add. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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