Athens is the capital city of Greece, universaly known as one of the world's oldest cities, with recorded history that spans at least 3,000 years.
It is widely referred to as the cradle of western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent.
Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home ofPlato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles and its many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world.
The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by a number of ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon on the Acropolis, a universal symbol of the classical spirit and civilization, that is included on European Cultural Heritage list of monuments and forms the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world.
The city also retains a vast variety of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman monuments, projecting the city's long history across the centuries.