Last Updated: 15th Dec 2011

<p>by &#8211; <a href="/people/mattyvcontiki">Matt Vernick</a>, Tour Manager, Europe</p> <p><img src="" class="rightwise" alt="" /></p> <p>Athens (Greek: Athena) is an ancient city, whose establishment is lost in antiquity. It is unlike so many other ancient cities in that it is still a prominent and thriving center almost 6000 years after it was established. The capital of <a href="/contikipedia/articles/greece">Greece</a> is home to over half the country during the winters while in the summers is the hub and jumping off point for people heading out to the Greek Islands and other ancient Greek sites.</p> <p>It is impossible to understate the contributions of the ancient city to modern western civilization. Athens was the birthplace of democracy and was also home to Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and one of the most advance civilizations of all time. Still today the ideals, principals and philosophies used by the ancient Athenians are studied, applied and are visible in peoples lives, work and art.</p> <p>A busy, bustling, and kinetic city, modern Athens continues to shine of the world stage and home not only to the wonders left behind by the ancients but also world wide events like the 2004 Olympic Games.</p> <ul> <li><a href="/contikipedia/articles/the-acropolis-and-the-parthenon-athens">The Acropolis and the Parthenon</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="/contikipedia/articles/the-temple-of-zeus-and-hadrian-s-gate">The Temple of Zeus and Hadrian&#8217;s Gate</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="/contikipedia/articles/the-olympic-games-and-the-pan-athenian-stadium-athens">The Olympic Games</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="/contikipedia/articles/syntagma-square-and-the-changing-of-the-guard-athens">Syntagma Square and the Changing of the Guard</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="/contikipedia/articles/shopping-athens">Shopping</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="/contikipedia/articles/nightlife-athens">Nightlife</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="/contikipedia/articles/athens-airport">Athens Airport</a></li> </ul>