Athens is the historical capital of Europe, with a long history, dating from the first settlement in the Neolithic age. In 1834, it became the capital of the modern Greek state and in two centuries since it has become an attractive modern metropolis with unrivalled charm. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning.A large part of the town’s historic centre has been converted into a 3-kilometre pedestrian zone.The historic centre is an open-air museum, yet the city’s cultural and social life takes place amid these ancient landmarks, merging past and present. The magnificent Acropolis rises above the sprawling metropolis and has stood witness to the city’s many transformations.The heart of ancient Athens was the Agora, the lively, crowded focal point of administrative, commercial, political and social activity.
The Plaka is the oldest section of Athens. Most of the streets have been closed to automobile traffic, though you should still keep a watchful eye for a speeding motorcycle or delivery truck. At one time it was the nightclub district, but most of these closed down when the government outlawed amplified music in the neighborhood in the seventies in an effort to get rid of undesirables. The strategy was very successful and it is now an area of restaurants, Jewelry stores tourist shops, and cafes. Though it is quite commercialized it is still a neighborhood and arguably the nicest neighborhood in central Athens. Most of the restaurants are typical tourist places but the quality of food is not bad in some of them and if you follow my leads in the restaurant section of this guide you should have a few enjoyable evenings and not be unpleasantly surprised by the bill or wake up with a gastro-intestinal disorder on the day you were supposed to visit the Acropolis.
In the Maroussi suburb (north of the centre) are the facilities of the Olympic Athletic Centre of Athens, where the majority of the athletic events were held during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
The grand Panathenaic Stadium lies between two pine-covered hills between the neighbourhoods of Mets and Pangrati. It was originally built in the 4th century BC as a venue for the Panathenaic athletic contests.