Today’s capital city of Athens in Attica bears little resemblance in architecture to its small-town predecessor in the 18th-century. The centre of modern Athens wasn’t even within the boundaries of the former city.
Through the years architecture has changed. Dirt roads evolved to avenues and the capital underwent Ovidian metamorphoses. It was bombed and rebuilt numerous times. Its streets saw the Ottoman cavalry, Nazi jackboots, the tanks of the military junta; it witnessed occupation and freedom, blood and fire, destruction and rebirth. And it managed to emerge with its head held high.
It’s a city that was never enslaved for long, always remembering that it has been, is and will always be the cradle of democracy. It sees itself rightly as the birthplace of philosophy – the values that underlie western civilisation.
As you wander its alleys, parks, squares and avenues, observe the eclectic mix of architecture; remember that this was a city that has reinvented itself many times over. Scratch the surface and you’ll understand the Athenian miracle – that it is constantly evolving and, ultimately, surviving, thanks to the city’s spirit, its people and its fated role in history.