Athens, the capital and largest city in Greece, is one of the world's oldest cities, with a recorded history spanning at least 3,000 years. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization and the birthplace of democracy.
Ancient Athens was a powerful city-state and center for the arts, education and philosophy, as well as home to some of the world's greatest thinkers, including Plato, Aristotle and Socrates. Today, tourists flock to the city to see remnants of the classical era, which include the iconic Parthenon on the Acropolis. The Acropolis, perched high above the modern city, offers commanding views of Athens and an amazing array of ancient architecture.
Most of Athens' other tourist attractions can be found within a relatively small area surrounding the city center at Syntagma Square, which is dominated by the old Royal Palace. The streets of Athens, clearly signposted in Greek and English, now meld imperceptibly into Piraeus, the city's ancient (and still bustling) port.