Athens (in Greek old Ἀθῆναι / Athễnai - the name is always plural -, in Greek modern Αθήνα / Athína , in the singular) is the Capitale of the Greece, like its principal city. The city is re-elected for its glorious past, under the ancient Greece in particular.
- Population: 3.700.000 inhabitants with the census of 2006 (agglomeration) ; : 745 514 inhabitants (city)
- Coordinated: 37°58' Northern; 23°43' Is
- Altitude: varied, of 0 m to 1.000 m with the agglomeration (there are 3 mountains around the city)
- Superficie: 40 km ² (city centers); 428 km ² (metropolis)
- Mayor: Nikitas Kaklamanis
- 71 municipalities - urban surface.
EtymologyThe formation of the toponym would come, according to some, of the Indo-European root ath- probably meaning “head” or “top”, since the fortress of the Acropole located at the top of the hill of the same name, would constitute the “core founder” of the city. What would explain the origin of the mythological legend besides relating to the birth of the goddess éponyme, according to which Athéna would have left “armed” with the head with Zeus.
the plural of the word Athens, according to Thucydide, is a trace of the old villages which amalgamated to found the city (see Synœcisme).
- In Greek old, the city was called Ἀθῆναι / Athễnai and it is under this name that it became the capital of the modern Greek State. However, since the abandonment of the Katharévousa, in the Years 1970, the modern form Αθήνα Athína became the official name of the city (and of the megalopolis).
The Athenian agglomeration is the principal hearth of population in Greece, with 3,7 million inhabitants, on a total of 11 million Greeks approximately.
Evolution of the population through the ages:
The modern city of Athens consists of formerly distinct cities and villages, which with the demographic expansion of the 20th century ended up forming an agglomeration. This one includes/understands 54 municipalities today ( δήμος ), most important being the town of Athens ( Δήμος Αθηναίων Dhímos Athinéon ), with nearly a million inhabitants (the second being Pirée). The name of Athens can thus indicate the whole agglomeration (also called the large Athens ) or the town of Athens, or even just the downtown area. See below the list of the municipalities.
Athens extends on the plain from Attique, dominated by the mount Aegalien with the West, the mount Parnitha in north, the mount Lycabette in the North-East (belonging to chain Pentélique), the mount Hymettus in the east, and the Saronique gulf in south-west. Because of these natural limits, it is not very probable to see the city extending much more than it is it today. In addition, the geomorphology of Athens contributes much to the problems of atmospheric pollution from which she suffers today (Los Angeles with the the United States knows the same geomorphology and the same consequences).
The grounds are rocky and not very fertile. The ancient city was grouped with the foot of the Acropole. In the Antiquity and until the beginning of the 20th century, the port of the Pirée (in Greek, Pireas ) was a quite distinct city but it forms part of the urban unit today.
The districts of Pláka (Acropolis), Kolonaki, Monastiraki and Exarhia (or Exarchia) constitute the center of the modern city. When Athens became the capital of the kingdom of Greece at the 19th century, the German architects created a new city of neo-classic style around the places Omonia (Harmony in Greek) and Syndagma (the Constitution) which remain nerve centres. The majority of the monuments and museums are in these districts. The Parliament occupies the building of the royal palace on Syndagma.
The new parts of the city are for the gray concrete majority and suffer from a lack of green areas. The Athenians called their city Tsimentoupolis (“the town of cement”).
See also: History of Athens
Traces of human occupation are attested as of the Neolithic on the site of the Acropole (see Pélasges). But it is only following the invasions Ionie that the Attique was organized in cities, among which Cécropia, future Athens.
Athens was formally founded towards 800 before our era by the Synœcisme several villages, partially preserved by the invasion of the Doriens. By doing this, while drawing left the natural fortress from the Acropolis, they could resist the hordes of plunderers which terrorized the area. The plural of the word Athens , according to Thucydide, is a trace of the old villages which amalgamated to found the city. According to the legend, it is the hero Thésée, rubble worker of the Minotaure, which directed this unification of the Attique.
Athens was one of the dominant cities in Greece during its golden age was reached under Périclès, with the O C, where its domination was at the same time political, financial (thanks to the money mines of the Laurion and with the tribute), soldier and cultural. It is at that time that Athens was described as “capital (ἄστυ) of Greece” (Isocrate). Quickly, Athens transformed the league of Délos into a true empire which was dissolved at the end of the Peloponnesian War which opposed it to Sparte.
The Aristote philosopher born in 384 av. J. - C. took part much in the intellectual life of Athens in particular thanks to its book Politique where he criticized the Athenian democracy.
The battles of Chéronée gained in 338 av. J. - C. by Philippe II inserted Athens in new the empire Macedonian. The city, which remained the large hearth of Greek civilization, profited until from new installations and work from embellishment undertaken under the crook from Lycurgue. After the death of Alexandre the Large one in 323 av. J. - C. and the empire division Macedonian, the city, still under domination of kings de Macédoine, sinks in the lapse of memory.
Conquered by the Romain Sylla, in 86 av. J. - C., Athens lost its ramparts and its political role but remained nevertheless a genuine intellectual headlight thanks to the Pax romana which was established. Allured by the culture and art of living Athenians, the Romains copied of them the works of art and manners and did not cease embellishing the city: the Turn of the Winds, the temple of Rome and Auguste on the Acropolis, the Roman agora, the theater of Odéon in the old agora are among the monuments built at that time. In the neighborhoods of year 1, the city counted thus approximately 300.000 inhabitants.
From 53, the sermons of Paul saint in front of the Aréopage gave only one weak echo to the Christianisme in Athens; it however succeeds in converting a member of the worthy court, Denys Aréopagite or Dyonisius, and a woman Damaris (original text Actes chapter 17:33,34). Later, the emperor Hadrian (117 - 138), particularly attached to Greece, continued work of town planning of his predecessors: the library which bears its name, the Olympion (temple of Zeus), a gigantic marble stage located beyond Ilissos, of new roads and the aqueducts were built under its reign.
The Middle Ages
Under the Byzantine Empire, Athens lost most of its glory to become only one small town of province.
Théodose II, by its edicts of 426 and 439, ordered the destruction of all the pagan temples. It made an exception for Athens however: they would be closed down and converted into churches. However, the Panathénées continued to be celebrated. Justinien made apply the decisions of Théodose II from 529: closing of the philosophical schools (mainly Neo-Platonists), transformed into deprived Christian schools and conversion of the temples into churches: the Parthenon became the cathedral of the city. Indeed, the worship of the Virgin (in Parthénos Greek) Athéna was replaced by that the Virgin Mary Mère of God described as Athenian like sponsors city. The Erechtéion became church of Théotokos (Mother of God). In 857, évêché of Athens became archbishop's palace and the Parthenon became metropolitan church. The temples were stripped their treasures with the profit of Holy-Sophie. Between the Life and VIIe century, Asklépieion was devoted to the saints anargyres Like and Damien. The Théseion was devoted to Saint Georges. At the 12th century, the Propylées became episcopal palate. Many Byzantine churches were set up, very often on old pagan sanctuaries.
In 1146, the city was taken by Roger of Sicily. After the establishment of the Latin empire of Constantinople in 1204, the French reflect in place a Duché of Athens, initially controlled by the lords of the Rock and Brienne. It was conquered by Catalan adventurers , the Almugavares, before being begun again by Florentins, the Acciaiuoli (1385). The latter returned to the city part of its glare. The Acropolis was transformed into manor. They were placed in the metropolitan palate of the Propylées. They made build a tower of guet destroyed by Heinrich Schliemann in 1875. The low city, limited to the Roman agora, was equipped into 1402 with an enclosing wall, sometimes called Mur of Valérien.
In 1458 the city fell under the domination from the Ottoman Empire. The Turks surrounded the Acropole of new fortifications (the wall of Serpentzé), pressed on the gantry of Eumène and Odéon of Hérode Atticus. The Parthenon became a mosque. It was equipped with a minaret. Erechtéion became the harem of the Disdar. September 26th, 1687, whereas Athens was besieged by the troops of Venice ordered by Morosini, a bomb fell on the Parthenon that the Turks had transformed into explosives magazine. The temple was almost completely destroyed. Degradation continued at the beginning of the 19th century and was the work of the British ambassador with Constantinople, Thomas Bruce (Lord Elgin) and of his agents.
The population of Athens strongly declined, thing which worsened with the decline of the Empire itself. Whole districts of the city were destroyed between in wars of factions.
As of 1821 and the release of the war of Independence, Athens was released from the Turkish occupation when the troops seized the fortress of the Acropole. In 1826 and 1827, the Turks besieged the Acropole, defended initially by the Klephte Gouras and Makriyánnis, then, after the death of Gouras, by the French general Fabvier. All the attempts to release the city, carried out by Karaïskákis then, after its death by the admiral Cochrane then the Church general, failed. The troops of Rachid Pasha took the Acropole on May 27th, 1827 and remained there until April 12th, 1833. The city was almost uninhabited when she was proclaimed capital Kingdom of Greece on December 1st, 1834, but she was rebuilt in the decades which suivirent.
The government settled in a city in ruins. The churches were reconverted to accommodate the ministries. Théséion became a museum. The Bavarian architects of the king Othon proposed an information system strategic plan in triangle, directed towards the Acropolis thus development, and a perpendicular plan. The rebuilding/construction of the city was left on the initiative private. The street Ermou (Hermes) then marked the border between old, medieval city and city contemporaine.
A royal palace (become since seat of the Parliament), that certain architects would have wished to install on the Acropole, was completed in 1938 on the Syntagma place. The queen Amalia created the following year a botanical garden (become since the national gardens) beside the palais.
In 1845, the city was still either a field of ruins or a building site. Large neo-classic houses emerged from hardly cleared waste grounds. The streets were paved yet, neither lit, nor not really arranged.
During the First World War, the city was occupied by Franco-British troops.
The " Large Catastrophe" : an surge of refugees, more than one million, coming from the minor Asia following the war against the Turkey involved in the years 1920 the construction of whole districts.
During the Second world war, the city was taken by Germany Nazie, on April 27th, 1941, and was occupied until October 1944. The Germans organized a systematic famine which made very many deaths. December 3rd, 1944, communist rising started in the district around Théséion, after the police force drew on a demonstration the morning even on the Syntagma place, making 15 dead. The British restored the order after intense street battles and reinforcement come from Phalère.
The growth of Athens was very weak during the first years post-war. Then the city started again to grow.
In 1985, Athens was declared capital cultural of Europe.
It is in Athens that in particular were born the Démocratie and the Philosophie. In fact, Athenian civilization is one of the bases of the European culture and it is in memory of that the project of European Constitution quotes in preamble the historian Thucydide:
Χρώμεθα γὰρ πολιτείᾳ καὶ ὄνομα μὲν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἐς ὀλίγους ἀλλ' ἐς πλείονας οἰκεῖν δημοκρατία κέκληται.
- Our Constitution is called “democracy” because the capacity is between the hands not of a minority, but of the greatest number.
Athens was also the arts center of traditional Greece, and this in all the fields. Its design of beautiful and good durably influenced the Greek rest of the world, then Roman, and finally the Occident.
- Sculpture (Phidias, Céphisodote, Praxitèle, Léocharès)
- Theater (Eschyle, Sophocle, Euripide, Aristophane)
- Rhetoric (Speakers attics)
- history (Thucydide)
- philosophy (Socrate, Sophist S, Plato)
- Architecture (constructions of the Acropolis).
Athens accommodated the Olympic first modern Games in 1896, in remembering the Olympic Games of ancient Greece. The city again accommodated the Jeux of summer in 2004. Perhaps in addition to the sporting and media success of the event, they will make it possible to increase the overseas investments in Greece by proving the capacity of the country to manage great projects.
TransportAthens has a dense network of Trolleybus and Autobus. In order to fight against pollution, an increasing share of the buses runs on natural gas for vehicles (GNV).
Le subway, whose first line, named ISAP, date of 1904, was supplemented in 2000 by two modern lines and extends to the airport. A line of Tramway is in construction and was brought into service for the Olympic Games of 2004.
Un the RER, of French type also connects the central station (Larisis) to the suburbs attic in direction of the airport - it borrows the same way as the subway between Doukissis Plakentias and the Elefthérios-Vénizélos international airport.
Ce last, built by a German company, is very recent and replaced old Elliniko.
À this public transport, it is necessary to add the taxis, omnipresent in the Helene capital, and which have the characteristic to take at the same time several passengers going vaguely in the same direction.
Before these developments, to move in Athens proved very problematic, that it is because of the outdatedness of the equipment or the slowness of the traffic. A contribution of OJ of 2004 thus consists of this effective network subway-tram-bus which seems to have brought a solution to the problem of Athenian transport. Nevertheless, the tram is not priority on the remainder of the traffic, which causes a certain slowness and obstacle thus its performances.
Places of interest
Monuments and museums
- the Agora of Athens (nerve center of the ancient city) and its museum;
- the Roman Agora and the Tower of the Winds (a hydraulic Clock built with I er);
- the theater of Dionysos;
- the Stage Panathénaïque, remade by Hadrian and Hérode Atticus and renovated in 1896;
- the archaeological National museum of Athens which shelters one of the largest collections of art of ancient Greece;
- the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens created for the collections of the Christian archaeological Company;
- the national Art gallery of Athens;
- the Museum Bénaki;
- the Museum of art cycladic;
- the Olympion, or temple of Zeus;
- the ancient necropolis of Ceramics and its museum.
- University of Saving in Athens
- French School of Athens: institution re-elected for its archaeological work.
- port of the Pirée.
the large market of Athens;
- the flea market of Monastiraki;
- streets of Kolonaki with its shops knack and its museums of contemporary art;
- the mount Lycabette, from where one has a panoramic sight of the city;
- the district of Pláka, oldest of Athens and one the most animated of;
- the Place Syntagma and the old royal palace which shelters the Parliament.
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