Welcome to Athens, Greece

Named for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and courage, the proud marble columns of Athens – once the most powerful city in ancient Greece – mirror the fortitude of the goddess herself. Athens was the birthplace of democracy, theater, and Western civilization, and the city's cultural richness and history is evident in its architecture. Majestic, strong, and purely white, the sturdy columns of the Parthenon, which crowns the city, give travelers a glimpse into Athens' architectural perfection; this symbol of classic architecture continues to hover over the city and is one of many reasons tourists visit Athens in droves. Few cities rival Athens when it comes to historical importance. As the sun rises over the smooth marble monuments of the Acropolis and fills the cobblestone streets along its base, the people of Athens emerge from their homes and head to local markets or sidewalk games of chess. Life moves more slowly, as if the entire city is reveling in blissful retirement from its glory days as a political and cultural powerhouse. But as the sun sets, Athens' contradictions come to light: The air thickens with the aroma of spiced lamb and music from a nearby taverna, dance clubs blast rock music amidst ancient columns, and the bright lights of Omonia Square mirror the glistening columns of the Parthenon, illuminated for all to see.