Athens (pronounced /ˈæθn̩s
/; Αθήνα, Athina aˈθina
), the capital and largest city in Greece, dominates the Attica periphery: as one of the world's oldest cities, its recorded history spans at least 3,000 years.
The Greek capital has a population of 745,514 (in 2001) within its administrative limits1
and a land area of 39 km² (15 sq mi).3
The urban area of Athens extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3.37 million (in 2005).4
The metro area of Athens spans 412 km² (159 sq mi)3
and encompasses a population of 3.192.606.1
The Athens Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) is the 8th most populated LUZ in the European Union with an estimated population of 3.89 million (in 2001).5
A bustling and cosmopolitan metropolis, Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece. It is rapidly becoming a leading business centre in the European Union.
Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Akademia and Aristotle's Lyceum,67
Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles, and its many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization, and the birthplace of democracy,8
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.9
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 the Parthenon on the Acropolis, widely considered an important landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains a vast variety of Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a small number of remaining Ottoman monuments projecting the city's long history across the centuries. Landmarks of the modern era are also present, dating back to 1830 (the establishment of the independent Greek state), and taking in the Greek Parliament (19th century) and the Athens Trilogy (Library, University, and Academy).
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, with great success.10
Athens is the most historical and important city among the ancient cities of the world.