A. Strengths and Weaknesses of Athens
Named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom the Greek Capital Athens with around 660,000 inhabitants in the city itself (and over 3 million in urban area) is over 3000 years old and therefore definitely the city to go back to the source of western civilisation.
The magnificent Acropolis, crowned by the iconic Parthenon temple, rises above the city.
Even in the face of current financial issues, Athens is surprisingly more sophisticated and cosmopolitan than ever before.
Scoring high in sights, location, and most of all in climate secures a top 40 finish for the Greek capital.
If you do not like museums or ruins, there is not much else to see. As you leave the beautiful historic centre, Athens is notorious for being loud, polluted and full of concrete.
Demonstrations and riots are still relatively frequent.
5.5/10 [0.665 Mio.]
B. Best Things to Do in Athens (Detailed List with Photos and Information)
These sights and attractions contribute to a sights score of 6.7/10.
This 156 meter (512 ft) high table-like limestone rock towering above Athens with its iconic temples (built from 461 to 429 BCE) is widely considered the most important and influential ancient sight in the Western world.
Highlights of the Acropolis include the majestic Parthenon temple (the largest and most impressive building on the Acropolis), the Erechtheion temple (famous for its 6 female figures in place of traditional columns), the Temple of Athena Nike (one of the earliest pieces from the Ionic order), the Theater of Herod Atticus (a large stone theatre structure, now used for theater performances and concerts), the Propylaea (a monumental gateway), the Theater of Dionysus and the Acropolis Museum (established in 2009).
Ancient Citadel (World Heritage Site since 1987)
by Adam L. Clevenger / CC BY-SA 2.5
Built completely of white Pentelic marble between 447 and 438 BC, this majestic Doric temple, is the main ancient structure on the Acropolis and unquestionably one of the world's greatest cultural monuments.
The majority of the spectacular sculptures that once decorated the Parthenon are still in the British Museum in London, the rest is on display at the nearby Acropolis Museum.
Temple (World Heritage Site since 1987)
by derivative work: Neokortex / CC BY-SA 3.0
Acropolis Museum 7
Inaugurated in 2009, this ultra-modern airy glass-and-concrete museum, located at the foot of the Acropolis houses countless masterpieces of ancient Greek art from the world-famous ancient citadel.
Not-to-be-missed highlights of the magnificent collection include stunning reliefs and sculptures that once ran around the top of the Parthenon, a relief of Athena Nike, the original caryatids of the Erechtheion temple and the second-floor restaurant, which offers wonderful panoramic views.
by Jean Housen / CC BY-SA 3.0
This late 19th-century building is home to an exquisite collection of ancient and classical Greek artefacts.
Key exhibits include include the highly fascinating and intriguing Antikythera mechanism (the first known analogue computer [150-100 BCE]), the golden mask of Agamemnon (1550–1500 BCE), the Antikythera Ephebe (famous bronze statue of a young man [340-330 BCE], the stunning bronze age wall paintings of ancient Thera, Santorini (1700 BCE), the Jockey of Artemision (a Hellenistic bronze statue of a young boy riding a horse (150–140 BCE) or the Artemision Bronze (a bronze statue representing either Zeus or Poseidon).
by Carole Raddato / CC BY-SA 2.0
Temple of Hephaestus and the Ancient Agora 6
Overlooking the Ancient Agora (the commercial, political, and social center of ancient Athens) this impressive 5th-century BC temple, dedicated to the god craftsmen and metalworkers Hephaestus, is arguably the best-preserved in all of Greece.
Nearby is the Stoa of Attalos, an exact as possible replica of the original building (reconstructed in 1952–1956), which houses the interesting Museum of Agorá.
ERECHTHEION TEMPLE 6
Located on the Acropolis just north of the Parthenon, this temple built entirely of marble between 421 and 406 BCE is most known for its south porch (Porch of the Caryatids), which is supported by six female figures (caryatids) in place of traditional columns.
One of those original six figures, which are replaced onsite by replicas, is now on display in the British Museum in London, the other five in the nearby Acropolis Museum.
Temple (World Heritage Site since 1987)
C. Other Notable Sights and Attractions in Athens
-Temple of Athena Nike (within the Acropolis complex) 5
-Philopappos Hill (Hill of the Muses) 5
-Museum of Cycladic Art 5
-Panathinaiko Stádio (Panathenaic Stadium) 5
-Theatre of Dionysos (within the Acropolis complex) 5
-Byzantine Museum 5
-Roman Agora (with Tower of the Winds) 5
-Anafiotika (city district) 5
-Olympieion (Temple of Olympian Zeus) 5
-Kapnikaréa (small church) 5
-Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens 5