Athens Culture and history
We at travelgems love culture and history and we feel lucky being Greeks. This is the reason we create cultural retreas and activities that travelers can feel and see what was happening in the historic city of Athens and how relevant history is today. To be honest keen culture fans could easily camp out in Athens for months on end, studying the vivid range of daily exhibitions and events artfully dignifying past, present or future and presented at innumerable museums, galleries, libraries, multi-arts centres, theatres, planetariums and institutions. Academy of Athens is a must see for every traveler and admire also Athena status in front of the building.
A fascinating aspect of simply strolling through Athens today is how elements of its multi-layered history (starting at around 7000BC) are placidly stated, de-facto, by evidence of glimmering ruins strewn along streets of historic neighbourhoods like Plaka, Monastraki and Thisseio, or archaeological digs going on in random parts of town.
The city features buildings from Roman times, the Ottoman occupation, the Byzantine era, the 19th century, the 50s and 60s blocks as well as some eye-catching contemporary structures, all muddled together across the city.
When it comes to learning about local culture itself, there is nothing more rewarding and educational than immersing oneself in the ways of the locals – for example, sitting out at busy cafes for hours on end to watch the world go by; seeing a traditional dance performance on Philopappou Hill; watching an opera under the stars in the Odeon of Herod Atticus or a movie in a jasmine-scented, open-air cinema.
A delightful way to discover the historical wealth surrounding Athens is by taking half or full-day trips to historical towns and sites that should not be missed. South of Attica is the picturesque seaside town of Epidaurus, where you can swim, dine and visit the famous ancient amphitheatre known for its astounding acoustics, where exciting performances of the Athens Festival are hosted throughout summer.
More to check out:
- The Acropolis Museum, which showcases finds from sanctuaries and settlements that were on the Acropolis. Its ascending glass floor is created to reflect the slopes of the ancient rock. See its stunning gallery of statues, each with its own tale, and enjoy the shop and restaurant.
- Other must-see museums for gaining a good sense of Athens, like the new Benaki Museum, Archaeological Museum and Cycladic Art Museum. Also, don’t overlook the smaller folklore museums such as the Museum of Traditional Instruments.
- The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is a multifunctional and environmentally sustainable education, arts, and recreation destination designed by the internationally renowned architect Renzo Piano. It includes the new state-of-the-art facilities of the National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera and the Stavros Niarchos Park, covering an area of 210,000 sqm.
- Out-of-the-box guided tours putting a fresh perspective on the city’s culture and history. Examples are insider-led tours of food markets, urban graffiti hotspots or literary landmarks. Just ask for all the ideas we have and check our tours.
- Cape Sounion, for an exceptional day trip just 70km from Athens. Perched majestically at the edge of the sea, the Temple of Poseidon (built in 444BC) is the second most-photographed temple after the Parthenon, especially at sunset. There are tavernas and beaches nearby. Don’t miss Lord Byron’s graffiti – his name engraved on a column.