Greece is one of the most touristic countries in Europe and maybe in the entire world. The weather is great, they have over 6000 islands and a great volume of history. Greece is where academies were invented and where philosophers were born. But even so, what is Athens famous for?
Surprisingly enough, Athens will soon become famous for its vegan restaurants, which I have tried and I loved them. But seriously now. What is Athens famous for?
A place where people were eating cheese, figs and grapes, and where children played the lyre.
The home of Plato, one of the most famous ancient figures, and the one who establishes the first academy. A city in which statues of Ancient gods are still in place.
What is Athens famous for? Here are 5 things famous from Athens.
This hill is probably one of the first pictures that come to mind when thinking of what is Athens famous for.
When I was a child, I was a huge fan of geography (now you understand my passion for travelling), and I had a special map of the world and the 7 wonders. And there was something about the Acropolis too.
In Greek, Acropolis actually means ‘high city’. It’s about the altitude of this ancient Athens city. Athens has 3 hills and the Acropolis with the most famous Parthenon is on one of them. The Parthenon was built in 438 BC.
The temples and ruins you see there have been through many different ages and rulers and is Europe oldest capital city. 6000 years old. Actually, when we think about the Acropolis from Athens, we think about the Parthenon, the big and damaged sacred temple from the top of the hill.
It’s funny how during the years, the Parthenon has gone under some hardship: it has been used as storage for munitions, converted into a church, then a mosque, stipped by the Constantinople ambassador Lord Elgin. Oh, and accidentally boomed by the Venetians in 1687.
During my last trip to Athens, I had a hard time getting to actually visit this place. Why? Check out How I spent 7 days in Athens.
The Greek Tavern aka Restaurant
A taverna is a small Greek restaurant which of course, served Greek cuisine. The oldest taverna was discovered in Athens at the Ancient Agora (Athenian Agora) excavation site. They found a huge number of cooking tools as well as plates, bowls casseroles and jugs.
The archaeologist also found a lot of fish bones, revealing the menu specialities (a tradition which is carried out to this day): oysters, mussels and large fish. Wine is another important part of the traditional menu. The remains of such a wine shop were also found near the Athenian Agora.
The traditional Greek cuisine included on its menu: bread, lamb, pork, beef, salad, fish and seafood dishes, tzatziki (yoghurt, garlic and cucumber dip), souvlaki (small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled), wine and spirits (ouzo and Metaxa brandy).
The Mediterranean cuisine is a famous one and you can find Greek taverns all around the world. Did you know they also have a lot of vegan dishes? I tell you, it’s delicious. Check out my recommended vegan restaurants in Athens.
Ouzo (pronounced Uzo)
Ouzo is a dry anise-flavoured aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece (also in Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel). Its taste is similar to other anise liquors like rakı (Turkish version), pastis (Franch version) and sambuca (Italian Version).
Ok, maybe this is not true just for Athens but for entire Greece.
I find it too strong flavoured and bitter, but it is something most people buy as a souvenir to their friends from back home.
Anise is a flowering plant, native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Its flavour has similarities with some other spices, such as star anise, fennel, and liquorice. It is widely cultivated and used to flavour food and alcoholic drinks. It served as a carminative in herbal medicine.
Democracy was born in Athens
This is one important point. So if you forget all the other points, remember that the answer to “What is Athens famous for?” is “Democracy.”
Democracy was established in Athens around 500 B.C. It was based on a direct democracy system, in which eligible citizens directly voted on laws. Democracy is definitely one of the first answers which should come to mind when questioning what is Athens is famous for.
Athenian democracy was the first known democracy in the world. Can you imagine that? This city grew from a small fishing village to the most important city in the ancient world and developed the concept of democracy around the fifth century BC. Other Greek cities took the democratic concept as well, but Athens has the most documented history on the topic.
Simply put, democracy meant that citizens are voting for laws. Also, voters also had the power to banish politicians from the city for 10 years.
In the Athenian democracy, there were some conditions for voter participation: male, adult, not foreign. These conditions probably restricted the voting population to 30% of the total adult population.
The origin of the marathon
The modern culture calls it the “Marathon story of Pheidippides”. It’s a story about a Greek soldier Pheidippides, who ran from Marathon (a city in Attica region) to Athens to report the Athenians’ victory against the Persians in 490 B.C. The city of Marathon is roughly 25 miles (40 km) away from Athens.
Today we call this endurance run a marathon, as a commemoration to the Greek soldier who died announcing the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon. The soldier said “We win” and then collapsed and died.
I hope you found what you were looking for and now you have an answer to what is Athens famous for. Actually, you have 5 answers, as I listed 5 famous things from Athens. Do you know any other famous things from Athens?