Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world, it is assumed that the first settlements appeared here several millennia BC. The Greek capital got its name in honor of the goddess of wisdom Athena. Moreover, according to legend, the sea god Poseidon competed with her for the right to be the patron of this city. Trying to win the favor of the townspeople, Poseylon brought them seawater as a gift, and Athena brought an olive tree. But, the water donated by Poseidon turned out to be unfit for drinking, and he lost in this dispute.
In ancient Greece, Athens was the center of the largest polis (city-state), which fought for supremacy with Sparta. And Athens became the capital of modern Greece not so long ago, in 1833, when the Kingdom of Greece was created, the head of which was Otto I of the German dynasty of Wittelsbach. At that time, Athens had long lost its greatness, the population of the city was no more than 5, 000 people.
The Athenian Acropolis, a monument of ancient architecture, attracts millions of tourists from all over the world every year. It consists of a whole complex of architectural structures, including the famous Parthenon. But, popularity among tourists threatens the Acropolis with destruction, as many visitors try to grab a piece of marble as a keepsake. The Athenian authorities have to go for a trick; at night, marble is specially brought here and scattered across the Acropolis to save it from vandals.
By the way, the Parthenon could have been destroyed in the first half of the 19th century, during the liberation struggle of the Greeks from the Ottoman Empire. In 1821, the Greeks laid siege to the Acropolis, where the Turkish army was located. Soon the Turks ran out of ammunition, so they decided to replenish their stocks of lead by extracting it from the columns of the Parthenon. Upon learning of this, the Greeks themselves sent a batch of ammunition to the enemy to save the ancient monument.
Athens has about 150 theaters, more than any other city in the world. Among them is the ancient theater of Dionysus, which was built in the 5th century BC. Over the years, the theater has been rebuilt several times. And during the Roman rule, not only theatrical performances, but also gladiator fights took place on its stage.
Athens is home to the Olympic Movement. At the end of the 19th century, the French baron Pierre de Coubertin decided to revive the tradition of holding the Olympic Games. The first Olympiad of our time was held in 1896 in Athens, as a sign of respect for ancient traditions. The second time Athens hosted the Olympics in 2004. At all the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games, the Greek delegation is the first to pass through the stadium.
In addition, Athens can rightfully be called the birthplace of democracy. A similar form of government existed here as early as the 6th - 4th centuries. BC. Every free citizen had the right to speak at a national assembly. But women and slaves, including those who were released, were strictly forbidden to attend such meetings. Currently, all Greek citizens who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote.
In 490 BC, the Athenian warrior Philippides ran from the town of Marathon to his hometown to announce his victory in the battle with the Persians. In memory of this, in 1896, marathon competitions were held at the Olympics. These competitions have become so popular that they are held all over the world, gathering a huge number of participants.
The Athens Metro is one of the oldest in the world, the first line was opened in February 1869, just six years later than London. But, the fact is that this Athenian line was land, which deprives it of the right to be called the second in the world. Now the total length of the metro in Athens is 84.5 kilometers. The Athens subway carries up to 500 million passengers annually.
"Draconian laws" - this is how harsh laws are called. This expression appeared in Athens in the 7th century BC, but they have nothing to do with the mythical creature breathing fire. In 621 BC, an Athenian legislator named Drakont compiled a set of rules for the common inhabitants of the city. According to them, a person could be executed even for petty theft. This is how this popular expression came about.
Athens has several dozen sister cities, including the capital of Russia, Moscow. The corresponding agreement was signed on December 7, 2001. The distance between the two brotherly cities is almost 3, 000 kilometers, and the time difference is 1 hour.
The Parthenon temple in Athens was captured on one of the canvases of the famous Russian artist Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov, who in the early eighties of the nineteenth century went on a journey to biblical places. On their trips, he brought a huge number of sketches and sketches for future paintings. In 1881 - 1882. he worked on the painting "Parthenon. Temple of Athena-Parthenos".