Athens

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This article is about the capital city of Greece. For other uses, see Athens (disambiguation). For other uses of Athina, see Athina (disambiguation).
"Agrae" redirects here. For the town of ancient Pisidia, see Agrae (Pisidia).
Capital of Greece

Capital city in Central Greece, Greece
Athens

Αθήνα
Capital city
Clockwise from top: Acropolis of Athens, Zappeion Hall, Monastiraki, Aerial view from Lycabettus, Athens Olympic Sports Complex, and Hellenic Parliament

Flag

Seal
Nicknames: 
Ιοστεφές άστυ (the violet-crowned city)
Το κλεινόν άστυ (the glorious city)
Athens
Location within Greece
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Athens
Location within Europe
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Coordinates: 37°59′02.3″N 23°43′40.1″E / 37.983972°N 23.727806°E / 37.983972; 23.727806Coordinates: 37°59′02.3″N 23°43′40.1″E / 37.983972°N 23.727806°E / 37.983972; 23.727806
Country Greece
Geographic regionCentral Greece
Administrative regionAttica
Regional unitCentral Athens
Districts7
Government
 • TypeMayor–council government
 • MayorKostas Bakoyannis (New Democracy)
Area
 • Municipality38.964 km2 (15.044 sq mi)
 • Urban
412 km2 (159 sq mi)
 • Metro
2,928.717 km2 (1,130.784 sq mi)
Highest elevation
338 m (1,109 ft)
Lowest elevation
70.1 m (230.0 ft)
Population
 (2012)[2]
 • Municipality664,046
 • Rank1st urban, 1st metro in Greece
 • Urban
3,090,508
 • Urban density7,500/km2 (19,000/sq mi)
 • Metro
3,781,274[1]
Demonym(s)Athenian
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal codes
10x xx, 11x xx, 120 xx
Telephone21
Vehicle registrationYxx, Zxx, Ixx
Patron saintDionysius the Areopagite (3 October)
Websitewww.cityofathens.gr

Athens (/ˈæθɪnz/ ATH-inz;[3] Greek: Αθήνα, romanized: Athína [aˈθina] (listen); Ancient Greek: Ἀθῆναι, romanized: Athênai (pl.) [atʰɛ̂ːnai̯]) is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years[4] and its earliest human presence started somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.[5]

Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus. A center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum,[6][7] it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy,[8][9] largely because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, and in particular the Romans.[10] In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, maritime, political and cultural life in Greece.

Athens is a global city and one of the biggest economic centers in southeastern Europe. It has a large financial sector, and its port Piraeus is both the largest passenger port in Europe,[11][12][13][14] and the second largest in the world.[15] The Municipality of Athens (also City of Athens), which actually constitutes a small administrative unit of the entire city, had a population of 664,046 (in 2011)[2] within its official limits, and a land area of 38.96 km2 (15.04 sq mi).[16][17] The urban area of Athens (Greater Athens and Greater Piraeus) extends beyond its administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,090,508 (in 2011)[18] over an area of 412 km2 (159 sq mi).[17] According to Eurostat[19] in 2011, the functional urban area (FUA) of Athens was the 9th most populous FUA in the European Union (the 6th most populous capital city of the EU), with a population of 3.8 million people. Athens is also the southernmost capital on the European mainland and the warmest major city in Europe.

The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery. Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament and the so-called "architectural trilogy of Athens", consisting of the National Library of Greece, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Academy of Athens. Athens is also home to several museums and cultural institutions, such as the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, the Acropolis Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics, making it one of only a handful of cities to have hosted the Olympics more than once.[20]