Athens, the city of intellect, is part of the Attica basin situated at the south-eastern tip of the Greek mainland. The city of Athens is the capital of Greece and it is the country’s heart and its economic and industrial, as well as political and cultural centre.

With thousands of years of history and mythology under its belt, Athens, named after the loving goddess Athena, is more than a concrete big city. Athens, known as the birthplace of democracy and western civilization, is also the birthplace of the ancient and modern Olympic Games.

The City had the honor of hosting the 2004 Olympic Games which led to major changes in the area: a new international airport, new metro lines and a new ring road around the city were constructed, while new landscaping added millions of indigenous trees and shrubs to the region. The Athens 2004 Olympic Games added a significant chapter to the history of the city, leaving behind important legacy as far as infrastructure and technology is concerned, and putting Athens among the most hospitable metropolis of the world.

Population
According to a census held in 2001, the population of Athens is 3.2 millions.

Language
The national language is Greek, while English and French are widely spoken. The usage of the Greek language spans three and a half millennia. The Greek language and alphabet were the basis on which many European languages developed.

Currency
Up to December 2001, drachma was the official currency of Greece while it changed into Euro starting from January 1st, 2002.

Telephone
Athens area code 210, country code +30.

Weather
The average temperature in Athens during November is 9oC-17oC, while the average humidity is 74.3. General weather updates are available at the website of the Hellenic Meteorological Service: http://www.hnms.gr

System of Government
Greece is a Parliamentary Republic, established in 1974. The President of the Hellenic Republic, elected by the Parliament's members, is the Head of State.

USEFUL INFORMATION

Visas
Visas may be required in order to enter Greece as a visitor. In such cases, you need to contact the Greek Embassy or Consulate in your country, your airline company or your travel agent well before your departure. In order to see from which countries you need a visa to enter Greece, please click here.

Electrical current
The standard in Greece is 220 V AC (50HZ). Appliances from North America require a transformer and British ones an adaptor. We recommend that you bring one along, so that you do not spend valuable time looking for adaptors and transformers during your stay.

Time
Greek time is two hours ahead of Greenwich mean time, one hour ahead of Central European time and seven ahead of Eastern standard time. Along with the rest of continental Europe, the clock is advanced one hour during summer - from the end of March to the end of September - almost a month earlier than in the UK, USA and Canada. Therefore, keep in mind that you need to add one more hour in the time difference with these countries for some weeks in April and October.

Credit cards
All major credit cards as well as euro-cheques are recognized and accepted in most hotels, shops, travel agencies and restaurants. Stickers on front windows will advise you as to which credit cards are acceptable.

Postal services
Signs denoting post offices are usually bright yellow, so are post-boxes. If you wish to send a letter there are stamp vending machines and post-boxes outside all central post offices. Many hotels provide postal service.

Health care
You should feel perfectly safe to eat and drink anything during your stay. The tap water is drinkable. The heath services are of high level and you will be able to find an English-speaking doctor easily. Residents of EU countries are eligible to emergency medical care free of charge. Nevertheless, we recommend that you take out insurance policies to cover unexpected travel and medical expenses.

Emergency services
First Aid Services: 166
Duty hospitals and clinics / Pharmacies: 1434
Police: 100

Other useful phone numbers
Greek National Tourism Organization: +30 210 8707000
Tourist Police: 171 (24-hour information service line)

Athens is considered the intellectual and artistic centre of Greece, a jewel of the ancient world. It is the city where mankind's most precious and most significant moral values were founded. Philosophy, science, literature, art and drama are just some of the concepts born in ancient Athens. Democracy, freedom, justice and forward thinking are ideals conceived in this great city, which are the core principles of western civilization and our society today. So much of Ancient Greek History took place in the city of Athens.
 
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