Facts and Intrigue

The bustling capital of Greece, Athens, astonishes every visitor with its diversity, vivacity, glowing history and culture, amazing atmosphere and beauty.

My Destination Athens has prepared a brief list of 20+ interesting and fascinating Athens facts and intrigue for you to enjoy and share!

  • Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world, with one of the longest histories - 3,400 years.

  • Athens is a western capital but geographically it is in the east and is the most southern capital on the European mainland.

  • The oldest part of Athens is the Cave of Schist which dates from 11th - 7th millennium BC.

  • Athens is situated on the Attica plain and is surrounded by four mountains - Parnitha to the north, Penteli to the northeast, Hymettus to the east and Aegaleo to the west.

  • Athens is built on a series of hills.

  • The city of Athens has a population of 656,000 people and has been continually inhabited for 7,000 years.

  • Amongst the most famous Greeks born in Athens are the philosophers Plato, Socrates and Aristotle.

  • Athens is the birthplace of philosophy and all the major mathematical principles.

  • Athens was home to the gods and is named after Athena, goddess of wisdom.

  • Athens has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the Acropolis and the monastery of Daphni.

  • The Acropolis was nominated to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

  • The first Olympic Games were held in Athens in 776BC attracting competitors from all over Greece. Winners were presented with wreaths of olive leaves.

  • The first modern day Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896.

  • The Athens Metro revealed countless archaeological treasures when it was originally dug!

  • There are three metro lines in Athens plus trams and trolley buses.

  • Eleftheros Venizelos Airport - the city's international airport which is situated 35 km east of Athens- won the prestigious European Airport of the Year award in 2004.

  • Greece has the world's lowest crime rates.

  • 85% of students in Athens go to college.

  • 85% of Greeks own their own home - the highest figure in Europe.

  • Santa Claus is Greek - St Nicholas used to donate all his money to the poor.

  • Saint John the Apostle wrote the Book of Revelations on the island of Patmos.

  • The New Testament was written in Greek.

  • 14% of the words in the English dictionary are Greek.

  • Athens was where theatre was born with the Ancient Greek dramas.

  • Athens has 148 theatrical stages - more than any other capital in the world.

  • The most popular meal in Athens is the gyro - meat cooked on a vertical spit and served in pitta bread with salad and onions.