Athens (Athina) is named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who, according to legend, won the city after defeating Poseidon in a duel. The goddess’ victory was celebrated by the construction of a temple on the Acropolis, the site of the city’s earliest settlement in Attica.
As a city state, the coastal capital of Athens reached its heyday in the fifth century BC. The office of the statesman, Pericles, between 461BC and his death in 429BC, saw an unprecedented spate of construction resulting in many of the great classical buildings (the Parthenon, Erechtheion, Hephaisteion and the temple at Sounion) now regarded as icons of Ancient Greece.
Physical evidence of the city’s success was matched by achievements in the intellectual arts. Democracy was born, drama flourished and Socrates conceived the foundations of Western philosophy.
Remarkably, although the cultural legacy of this period has influenced Western civilization ever since, the classical age in Athens only lasted for five decades. Under the Macedonians and Romans, the city retained a privileged cultural and political position but became a prestigious backwater of the Empire rather than a major player. Following a very long history of cultural achievements and declines, modern Athens was born in 1834. The city was restored as the capital of a newly independent Greece.
Visitors with visions of gleaming marble and philosophers in white robes are understandably perturbed that the architectural achievements of Athens’ classical past are surrounded by the unforgiving concrete of indiscriminate 20th-century urbanization.
In addition to the celebrated classical sites, the city boasts Byzantine, medieval and 19th-century monuments, as well as one of the best museums in the world and areas of surprising natural beauty. Despite the traffic, an appealing village-like quality becomes evident in the cafes, tavernas, markets and the maze of streets around the Pláka.
The metropolitan area, including the port at Piraeus, is the indisputable industrial and economic powerhouse of the country, while the return of the Olympic Games in 2004 prompted a flurry of new development, including a new airport, the extension of the metro system, the building of new sports venues, the upgrading of hotels, the renovation of several top museums, and the formation of a traffic-free ‘archaeological promenade’.
For those enthused by the historical bohemian life of Athens, one can indulge and celebrate the culture at Grand Resort Lagonissi.
Grand Resort Lagonissi represents consummate luxury in terms of location, design, facilities and service. The highest level of pampering, relaxation, leisure and recreation are values offered to the discerning visitor who wants to live this experience. Located on the south side of the Athens area, in a 72 acre peninsula of unique charm, Grand Resort exudes an aura of distinction and elegance. The magical location, surrounded by the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea, offers both the natural beauty and the cultural treasures which have given birth to the Olympic spirit and define Greek hospitality. All villas, suites and bungalows are situated along the waterfront of the bay and offer ultimate privacy in a true dream world. (Luxury Facilities Comfort Club; Premium Services; Premium Club; Olympic Spirit Grand Sports Club; Elite Atmosphere Exclusive Club; Dream World Platinum Club)
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