404 Not Found

404 Not Found

Home> Destinations> Europe> Athens> Overview

Profiles of Athens

Updated: 2014-06-10 / (visitgreece.gr)





City Introduction

Athens is the capital of Greece, and has its name after Athena. With the history of thousands of years, it is one of the oldest cities in the world. This is also the birthplace of the European civilization. The philosophy, mathematics, literature and political thought born here still influence the whole modern world today. It was said that in the ancient times, people were ready to build the city states, two celestial gods fought to be the protector god for this place, who were Goddess of Wisdom Athena and God of the Sea Poseidon. Athena gave the people here olives, and Poseidon gave the people war horses. The people chose olive tree because it was the symbol of peace and wealth. So this city state took Athena as the protector god (yes, the goddess guarded by the saint warriors), and had the name Athens. Athens is an old and modern city. In the prosperous metropolis, you may see the ancient Athens relics here and there, beside the subway, at the roadside, in the park and even in the backyard of the residential houses. The history of this city is reflected in the streets and alleys with the intersection of the old and new. Due to rapid development of Athens in recent years, many residential buildings are built around Acropolis region. The roads in Athens are very narrow, generally one-way lane. So traffic jam is common here. The best traffic means travelling in this city is metro. The sightseeing spots in Athens can be generally reached by subway or bus, and there is convenient traffic.





History and Culture

The most splendid period of Athens was called Classical Period, when the Athenians led Greece to win the Greco-Persian Wars, and won the dominant position among many city states of ancient Greece. The ancient Greeks familiar to us, such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle to Herodotus, Aeschylus, and Aristophanes, lived in Athens of that period. The places that they made speeches and debates are now still retained; the ancient relics you may see today are mostly constructed in the period under the rule of Pericles, in about 5 centuries B.C., which was the Golden Age of the Golden Age in Athens. Greece was ruled by Alexander the Great, Romans and Turks one after another for two thousand years, but Greek culture was disseminated to Europe and other places of the world in these two thousand years. In the 19th century, Greece won independence from Ottoman Empire and began to recover its own language and culture. But Greece still experienced the war tumult and rule of the military government, till the 1960s and 1970s when Greece started the economic resurgence and joined EU. Science and Cultural Center is on the North of Acropolis Hotel. There are Academy of Athens, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (founded in 1837), National Library of Greece (with the collection of ancient handwritten scripts for more than 2,300 volumes), Greek Archaeological Society (making the outstanding contribution in archeological aspect, being famous in the world), National Theatre of Greece and various museums. National Archaeological Museum of Athens was founded in 1866, with the collection of prehistoric antiques and artworks; Epigraphic Museum, with the collection of precious historical inscriptions; Acropolis Hill Museum (open since 1878), with the collection of the carvings in the ancient times; Byzantine Museum, with the collection of Byzantine, Muslim and Chinese artworks; Benaki Museum, with the collection of Greek costumes in different historical periods. Athens is 10km from Piraeus Port, and the urban area has been linked together. The northeast of the urban area is the political and cultural zone, while the southwest and port zone are industrial and commercial zone. Athens is situated in the navigation and aviation center of Mediterranean Sea, the seagoing vessels gather in Piraeus Port, and almost all of the shipment for the foreign trade nationwide is realized here. Drinking water in the city is supplied from Marathon Reservoir in the northeast, and with the marble dams hardly seen in the world.





Natural Environment

Greece is situated in the south end of Balkan Peninsula, Peloponnese, including Crete Island, Rhodes Island and other Aegean Sea islands. It is adjacent to Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania on the north, European part of Turkey on the northeast, Ionian Sea on the southwest, Aegean Sea on the east and is opposite to African continent to the south with Mediterranean Sea in between. There is the coast line 14,880 km and land border line 1,160 km. In Greece, 80% of the land is mountainous area, and most regions in this country are very dry; only 28% of the land is arable. There are wetland and lake in the west. The average altitude in the middle mountain area is about 2,650 m. The legendary Olympus Mountain is the highest point in Greece, with the altitude of 2,917 m.






Greece has the Mediterranean climate. This climate is characterized by being dry in summer and rainy in winter. So except in winter, it hardly rains. Greece has sufficient sunshine and annual average daylight time in the regions is over 2,000 hours. The lowest temperature is found in January and February, and the highest temperature is recorded in July and August. The average temperature is 6-13°C in January, and 23-33°C in July and August. But in the winter, there is snow in the mountainous area and even in Athens region.





Useful Information

Medical service Greece has good sanitary conditions, and the tap water is drinkable. There are developed medical service, and doctors in relatively big cities and tourist attractions are capable of speaking English. Tourists may consult the restaurant or tourism police station. The drugstores in Greece may provide the drugs based on the prescription. If the tourists bring the drugs into Greece, the drug labels will be checked because the drugs containing cocaine are prohibited in Greece. The related authorities of Greece impose very severe punishment on the unapproved use of the narcotics. Mobile phone message Local mobile phone stores sell SIM cards. The passport shall be registered for the opening of the mobile phone number, and top-up card can be purchased in the cigarette booths here and there. Public telephone booths are visible here and there in the streets, and the prices of telephone magnetic cards include Euro 3 and Euro 5. Post card The business time for most of the post offices in Greece is 7:30-14:00, Monday to Friday. Except the post office, the newspaper booth and restaurant sell the stamps, but the 10-15% handling fees will be charged. In addition, the postage for the mailing of large-sized post cards is same as that for the mailing of letter. If you want to mail the package, except that it is only required to affix the seal for mailing to EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, other packages shall be checked and then sealed. When collecting the mail, you’d be sure to present your passport.

Information of Embassy and Consulate

Greece country code: 0030   Embassy Address: 10-12, Dimokratias, P. Psychico, 15452 Athens     Fax of Embassy: 210-6723819 Consulate Address: 2A Krinon Street, P. Psychico, 15452 Athens   Tel: 210-6723282; Fax: 210-6718839





Visa Information

Materials needed: Passport: Signed passport at the last page with a validity of at least half a year; passport with at least two blank pages for the new visa; all previous passports if applicable. Three photos: The photos taken within the last six months, white background, 2 inches (3.5cm * 4.5cm). Identity card: Front-and-back photocopy of Identification Card, with clear contents. Household register Please provide the copy of the first page of the applicant household register with all members. In case of the collective household register, it is only required to provide the first page and the applicant page. Personal Data Sheet: Please write every item seriously in regular script, because the authenticity and integrity of such information will have direct influence on the visa results. Information about the China organization: 1. Company Certificate: original copy of leave permit in English language: (1) Printed with the notepaper of the company, including the company address, telephone number, fax number and so on. (2) Contents include: a. Applicant passport number, birthdate, title, and salary; b. Holiday time, purpose and schedule; c. The guarantee that the applicant will abide by the law in the destination and return to China as scheduled. (3) The printed version shall be signed by the company and affixed with the official seal of the company. 7 Personal Asset Certificate: 1. Bank current account sheet in recent half year... Photocopy of the bank deposit, the original and photocopy of the bank current account sheet or current deposit of you or your spouse (if there is only bank card, it is required to print the current account sheet in recent six months affixed with the seal of the bank), it is possible to provide multiple copies of bank current account sheets or the copies of the current deposit. In case of the term deposit, it may be provided as the auxiliary property for the information.





Currency Exchange

Euro is used in Greece. It may be converted in China, or in Athens Airport. The conversion in China might not be a good deal. UnionPay The UnionPay service has been launched in Greece. Credit Card Almost all stores, restaurants and hotels accept Visa and Master cards. Drawback Tax refund may be applied for the articles purchased from the stores with “TAXFREE” sign.











Tourism Service Number

Emergency rescue telephone: 166; Hospital and Clinics Consulting: 106; Drugstore Consulting: 107; Police Alarm: 100; Sightseeing Police 24h Service: 171; Coast Patrol Police: 108






There are many thieves in metro, bus and in the crowded places. Be sure to take care of your properties when taking the buses, metros, or walking in the crowd. Don’t take photo with your mobile phone or open your wallet. In Athens, it is very hot in summer. It is required to do well with the sunscreen and carry the drinking water utensil. The tap water in Athens is directly drinkable. The Greek processions and strikes brought many troubles to the people. The people may inquire the business time of the departments and institutions on www.apergia.gr. Be sure to check the strike schedule before the planning of the journey. In case of meeting the procession, it is required to avoid the procession, so as to avoid the danger. There are many motorcycles in Athens, and particular attention shall be paid when driving or crossing the street.





Festivals (Important/ Historical/ Folk Ones)

Date of Epiphany Day: January 6 In this festival, to celebrate the appearance of the God, the Greeks hold the activity of grasping the holy cross near the wharf. The priest dressed in black gown throws a cross into water, then many young persons jump into the water to get the cross. Ash Wednesday: 41 days before the Easter On Ash Wednesday, the people scatter ash on the head top or clothes, to express repentance or regret. The day of Etiquette of Ashes is the start of Lent. Scatter ash on the body or on the head, and observe the discipline of the Bible and the churches, thus symbolizing the penance and sorrow of the confessor. Easter: March 21 Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon of Spring Equinox every year. In every evening, there will be the grand procession activities, when the people hold candles, sing hymns with high voice, and fill the streets and alleys. Date of Independence Day: March 25 Greece has two National Days. March 25 is Independence Day. During the festival, the Greek cities and towns hold the military parade with the participation of the students of all schools, who will be dressed with white upper garments and blue trousers, and some persons will be dressed with traditional Greek national costumes. Ochi Day: October 28 To celebrate the Greek refusal to the Italian ultimatum with long-lasting significance in 1940, with military parade.


I want to comment

Login Create an account
Comments posted above represent reader's views only.
404 Not Found

404 Not Found