Athens or Athéna, is the capital of the Hellenic Republic of Greece. It is one of the oldest cities in the world with recorded history that dates back over 3,000 years.
The city, which has contributed so much to Western culture ever since ancient times, is now the spiritual and financial center of Greece. Athens was the birthplace of many of the most influential philosophers such as Socrates, Pericles and Sophocles. As well as being the seat of the head of the Greek Orthodox Church it houses a university and other educational establishments, together with museums of world renown.
There are an immense number of Roman and Byzantine monuments, a smaller number of Ottoman monuments as well as other notable landmarks such as the Parthenon on the Acropolis. Due to the vast array of architecture, Athens has become a major centre for archeological research. The archeological museums include the National Archeological Museum, Byzantine Museum and the Epigraphic Museum. The mediterranean climate is much drier in Athens than most of the rest of mediterranean Europe, Spring and Fall are the ideal times to visit for sightseeing and outdoor activities as the summer months tend to be quite hot and prone to smog.
Athens hosted the first modern-day Olympic games in 1896 and was selected again to host the 2004 games, based on the appeal of Olympic history.