Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. According to Greek mythology, the city was given its name as a result of a competition between the Olympian gods, Poseidon and Athena, about who will become protector of the city. The myth goes that Poseidon provided a well with sea water whilst Athena offered an olive tree, a symbol of peace and prosperity, as she touched the ground of the sacred rock of the Acropolis. The people of Athens chose Athena as their protector and so the city was named after her. The two gods represent the strength of Athens as a city of wisdom and as a sea power.
The Acropolis Select Hotel is located in the Athenian suburb of Koukaki, one of the adjoining neighborhoods that borders the southern section of the Acropolis,Philopappos Hill and the historical district of Plaka. This area is occupied by beautiful neoclassical buildings along its narrow streets and the pedestrianized Dionysiou Areopagitou Avenue and Makrigianni Street make for a peaceful stroll with leafy cafes, inviting restaurants, jewelry and clothing shops easily at hand.
There are several very significant sites in the area that should not be missed. The Acropolis (akro + polis), literally meaning the edge or point of the city, is perched atop an impressive rock in the center of Ancient Athens. It is Greece’s most visited monument and is the birthplace of the concept of democracy, embodying the glory, power and splendor of an advanced society at its pinnacle.
The ultra-modern Acropolis Museum sits near the base of the Acropolis and has a direct view of the Parthenon. It was designed by the New York-based architect Bernard Tschumi and is one of the highest-profile cultural projects undertaken in Europe this past decade. The state-of-the-art building houses all of the portable objects removed from the Acropolis since 1834 and was designed to offer the best conditions for the exhibition of its artifacts.
Another must-see attraction is the Temple of Olympian Zeus, a colossal ruined temple in the center of the capital which was dedicated to Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods. It is reportedly the biggest Greek temple and its construction spanned over 700 years. Works began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world and was finally completed under the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian. Hadrian’s arch, the entrance to the ancient site, was built by the Athenians to show their gratitude to Hadrian.
The twisting alleyways of Plaka, the older part of modern Athens, are easily the most charming part of the city. Naturally, they are also the most visited and attract tourists in droves from all over the world. A stroll through the area’s narrow streets flanked by ancient monuments such as the Tower of the Winds, Byzantine churches, stately mansions, and quaint taverns makes a pleasant diversion.
Parallel to the street of the hotel stands Syngrou Avenue, a major road that links the coastal suburbs of Athens with the city center. A short 15 minute drive places you right on the beach where you can enjoy a dip in the Mediterranean Sea.
Athens, a truly remarkable city is waiting to be explored.