What Is the Capital of Greece?

The Acropolis of Athens.
The Acropolis of Athens.

The capital of Greece is Athens. Athens is located in the Attica region, on a peninsula that extends into the Aegean Sea. Athen sits within the Attica basin, where it was built around a number of hills and other raised land formations. Additionally, it is surrounded by four mountains: Mount Pentelicus, Mount Aigaleo, Mount Hymettus, and Mount Parnitha. Athens covers a total land area of 15.04 square miles and has a population size of approximately 664,046. The entire metropolitan area, which includes Greater Athens and Greater Piraeus, covers an area of 159 square miles and has a population of just over 3 million.

Athens is considered a global city and serves as the most important industrial, political, cultural, and economic center in the country. In fact, Athens is one of the major economic cities in that region of Europe. As of 2012, Athens was categorized as the 39th richest city in the world in terms of purchasing power.

History of Athens

Athens is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Researchers report that its recorded history can be traced back to more than 3,400 years ago. Archaeological evidence suggests that the area has been inhabited since between 11000 BC and 7000 BC. The area has been an important economic and cultural center since at least 1400 BC, when it was home to a Mycenaean military fortress. After a stagnant economic period that lasted for nearly 1.5 centuries, the city once again came into economic and political power around 900 BC. Just 400 years later, the Greek military had one of the most important naval bodies and the government began practicing democracy.

Some of the developments that occurred here over the next few hundred years allowed Athens to become the cradle of western civilization. This city has been home to a number of historical figures, including Hippocrates, Plato, and Socrates. Athens came under Roman rule until the 15th century AD, when it was taken over by the Ottoman Empire. As part of the Ottoman Empire, the city failed to prosper until the independence of Greece in 1834.

Athens spent the next few decades rebuilding and organizing the city, building new cemeteries and palaces, while preserving the ancient architecture. By 1896, the city had progressed so significantly that it was chosen to host the first modern-day Olympics games. The city's population remained relatively small until the early part of the 20th century, when Greek refugees fled from Turkey during the Greco-Turkish War. More intense population growth occurred after World War II.

Demographics of Athens

The demographics of Athens are similar to the rest of the country. Overall, Greece has an aging population, which means that the percentage of individuals over the age of 65 is increasing significantly. By 2011, this age group made up around 19% of the population, compared to 10.9% in 1961. Minority groups in the city include Muslims, Romanis, Jews, Turks, Armenians, and Pomaks. On average, the population size of Athens is decreasing due to both the aging population and the lack of economic opportunity, which forces people to leave in search of employment.


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