During my trip to Greece, on the way back, I could not miss a visit to Athens; really a unique city, the cradle of Western civilization.
I had the opportunity to stay there few days admiring and photographing various archaeological ruins, wander about distant beaches, and visit the city center enjoying some really nice and chaotic nightlife.
I arrived in Athens by ship, from Crete, and I leaved by plane to Turin in Italy.
Actually it was not my first time in Athens; the previous visit went back to 1997.
Athens is immense, considering Athens plus Piraeus more than four million people are living there, about 35 per cent of all inhabitants of all of Greece.
Photo gallery: Athens
Athens has been inhabited continuously for more than 3000 years, already from the Neolithic around 3500 BC
In the 5th century BC, Athens became the most important city in the Greek world the really foundations of Western civilization.
Athens is known throughout the world for the birth of democracy, for being the seat of the Academy of Plato and the Aristotelian high school, as well as giving birth to Socrates, Pericle, Sofocle and many other prominent philosophers and famous characters.
After a decline, the city recovered in the Byzantine years and was relatively prosperous during the Crusades, also thanks to the trade with Italian Maritime Republics.
After the disastrous rule of the Ottoman Empire, Athens re-emerged in the nineteenth century as the capital of the newly-born Greek state.
In 1896 he hosted the first edition of the modern Olympic Games.
It was only after World War II, in the 1950s and 1960s that there was a real demographic boom that led the city to the present size of megalopolis.
During the last 90’s especially thanks to the Olympics Games in 2004, the infrastructure has improved a lot.
The transport system is fortunately excellent as subway and as harbor with ferries connecting the heart of Greece to all the islands.
The museums are just as immense as you can image, and if you think about the history and the culture of this country it is really worth to visit at least one part of them.
The promontory on which the Parthenon is, looks like an island surrounded by houses and palaces, a unique island of green and indomitable culture stands out against pollution to urban madness, stands out on the horizon.
What remains of the Parthenon is really ruined, under and infinite restorations that from the early 2000s continue uninterrupted. Restorations needed to recover the inadequate interventions done at beginning of nineteenth century plus the vandalism of British.
In 1811, Count Elgin obtained from Greece permission to remove some of what he had discovered. But from 1801 to 1812 Elgin men removed about half of the surviving sculptures of the Parthenon along with architectural and sculptural elements.
Marbles were transported by sea to Britain. Some claimed the arrival other condemned it as a real act of vandalism. Following a public debate in Parliament the marbles were purchased by the British government in 1816 and transported to the British Museum.
After obtaining independence from the Ottoman Empire, Greece expressed its disappointment over Elgin’s actions who had stripped one of the most important monuments in the world.
Greece continued to press for the return of marbles in the country of origin and brought the matter internationally in 1980.
UNESCO agreed in 2014 to mediate between Greece and the United Kingdom to resolve the issue.