Sterea-Attica

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General Information for Attica

Attica a. History: One of the oldest cities in the world - the capital of Greece, Athens, offers a variety of images, impressions and experiences. According to myth Athens' legendary history begins with a contest between Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and Poseidon, the god of the sea. Both eyed the city and claimed it as their own. In order to determine who would be her protector they agreed that whoever could come up with the most useful gift to the mortals would win. Poseidon started the contest by striking the rock of the Acropolis with his mighty trident and brought forth water. Athena on the other hand offered the citizenry the olive tree, symbol of peace and prosperity which proved to be invaluable and thus, Athena became the benefactor and the city was named after her (Athena). The Cyclopean Wall built on the Acropolis (the High City) during the Bronze Age, clearly indicates the worship of an earth goddess, the prototype of Athena. Through trials and tribulations, social conflicts and numerous political systems democracy was established in the sixth century B.C. and Athens became one of the leading city-states in Greece. The successive victories against the Persians enable her to become a maritime power and a major building project - a temple to Athena, the Parthenon; the Erectheion and the Propylaia - was undertaken on the Acropolis to replace the building which was destroyed during the Persian attack. The Parthenon, the ''Monument of Monuments'' as it has been called, is the dominant feature of the Acropolis and epitomizes the glory of Ancient Greece. It is the largest Doric Temple, entirely (except the wooden roof) built of Pentelic marble. The great names connected with this marvel of creations are: Pericles, who inspired it and the entire program on the Acropolis, Pheidias, the great sculptor, who supervised the project and Iktinos and Callicrates, the architects. The dual purpose of the Parthenon was to house the huge statue of (the patron deity of the city) Athena, and to be the treasury for the tribute money (which was brought from Delos, the great sanctuary of Apollo). The Erechteion was built on the most sacred spot on the rock where according to myth, the contest between Athena and Poseidon took place. The porch with the six larger than life Caryatides (maidens), is the most impressive section of the temple. Architecturally, the Erechtheion is the most unusual temple, consisting of three basic parts: the main temple, the northern porch and the southern porch - all dimensions being different, a supreme achievement of Ionic style. The Propylaea: The architect Mnesicles conceived and executed the towering entrance to the Acropolis. It was supposed to be more than a gateway, its function was to generate awe and respect and prepare the mortals who were about to meet the goddess. Architecturally it is compared to the Parthenon and it was the first building ever to incorporate brilliantly the Doric and Ionic styles. Due to the Peloponnesian War, the project was never completed. The three architects Callicrates, Ictinos and Mnesicles - in conjunction with Pericles' superb ideas and foresight, and the superior sculpture of Pheidias and Myron - made Athens the marvel of architecture, a wonder of antiquity and of the Golden Age (5th Century B.C.). At the end of the destructive Peloponnesian War in 404 B.C. defeated by Sparta and her allies, Athens, still emained an important cultural and educational center, never again, however, regained her former power and magnificence. During the Byzantine Period, Athens decayed and dwindled and was virtually excluded from the affairs of the Empire. After the fall of Constantinople a Duchy was established in Athens but the Westerners did little to improve the situation there. Athens was annexed to the Ottoman Empire, the Turks seized the Acropolis in 1456. Throughout the Middle Ages, Athens was an insignificant village. The Parthenon, however, remained an important monument which was severely damaged in 1687, during the Turk-Venetian War. Athens changed hands numerous times during the War of Independence and in 1839 became the capital. Many changes occurred in the 19th Century, the city, however, remained very small until recent years and specifically after the 2nd World War and the Civil War. More than 40% of the population has been drawn to the capital and Athens is the largest city of Greece. The mythical and historical past of the city creates an aura of superior beauty and prestige. The history, culture and quaint traditions give the glorious metropolis a special luster, an incomparable splendour. Enjoy her marvellous offerings. Be fascinated with the many and varied facets of this cosmopolitan city. Be dazzled by her unparalleled past. Be charmed by the whimsical customs and traditions and for the sake of the extraordinary quality of art, culture and historical significance of this glorious city, excuse and tolerate the curse of the industrial age - pollution - and the congestion of Modern Athens. The frustration of the terrible traffic jams; oppressive summer heat or any discomfort that big cities present, will soon disappear if you head directly to a shady cafe or to the oldest neighbourhood of Athens - Plaka - or one of the gorgeous sea shores.

b. Ancient Athens: Most important sights and attractions
1.The Acropolis The most important ancient monument of the Western World is the crown Jewel of Athens and with the commanding temple the Parthenon - which has become the symbol of perfection that characterizes the classical spirit of Pericles' era and that of the Golden Age - dominates the center of the city. Along with the Parthenon, the other most significant monuments, the Erechtheion, the Propylaea and the temple of the Wingless Nike (Victory), were built towards the 2nd half of the 5th Century B.C. and even today, despite the destruction and plunder during the course of many centuries, they stand proudly, survivors of the ravages that man and time have imposed on them, retaining their splendour, declaring to the world the Glory that was Greece.

2. The Theatre of Dionysus Located in the southern slope of the Acropolis, its enormous dimensions demonstrate the importance of cultural activity in Ancient Greece. The great plays of the tragedians: Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles and the works of Aristophanes were first staged in this re-structured but still crumbing theatre. It is the oldest of the Greek theatres and its function apart of the artistic was also to serve public meetings.

3. Odeon of Herod Atticus Just below the Acropolis hill the reconstructed amphitheatre is welcoming visitors from everywhere who experience great joy during the summer Athens Festival Performances, it is an unforgettable adventure being in one of those happenings in one of the most impressive ancient monuments. It was built by Herod Atticus in the second century A.D. in memory of his wife. It was completely renovated in the 1950's and the 32 rows of seats can accommodate about 5,000 spectators.

4. The Ancient Agora (Market) Beneath the northern walls of the spiritual center of Ancient Athens, the Acropolis, sprawled the Agora - the commercial and public center, the heart of daily life philosophers and great writers taught here and St Paul spread Christianity and converted many. Although it is difficult to believe looking at the ruins today, this place brought forth politics; philosophy; artistic development, rational discussion and communication. That's where Socrates held his famous dialogues with his students and where he searched for truth, which brought his downfall with the authorities and condemned him to death in 403 B.C. The prison cell in which he drank the hemlock was uncovered in recent excavations.

5. The Acropolis Museum Located at the southeast corner of the Acropolis all the exhibits on the site can be admired in the comfortable galleries. Beautifully organized rooms in chronological order offer the visitor much information on temples pre-dating the Parthenon and which were destroyed by the Persians. The work of sculptors is admired in the three front galleries containing pre-classical works of the 6th Century B.C. The Archaic period is characterized with the exhibits in rooms IV and V (the Ìan on Horseback-whose head is a copy the original is at Louvers-many statues depict kores (maidens) the most famous being the Almond-Åyed kore (500B.C.) #674). Two statues: the Kritios Boy and the Blond Õouth depict the transitional stage from the Archaic to the Classical period. Sections of the Parthenon frieze along with other remnants of sculpture that escaped the theft of Lord Elgin are housed in rooms VII and VIII. Finally the five surviving Karyatides from the Erechtheion (the sixth is found in the British Museum, spoil of Lord Elgin) are safely housed in room IX behind glass and special lighting. You have completed the tour of the Acropolis now indulge in enjoying the beautiful view. Far beyond you see the Strait of Salamis (the Temple of Athena Nike faces it), and further the Peloponnesian mountains. The Saronic Gulf Islands are to the left. Behind Mt Hymettos to the east is Cape Sounion and of course surrounding the sacred hill is the city of Athens.

6. The Hill of Pnyx The rostrum which was cut into the rock served mankind greatly, since great orators like Solon, Pericles, Demosthenes and Themistocles (but also a large number of demagogues) used it as a platform in order to probe, explore and advance democracy. Located in the west side of the Acropolis the Pnyx today serves as a theater presenting the Sound and Light show and offers a fantastic view of the Acropolis. Besides the Pnyx in the west and southwest of the Acropolis, there are the Philopappou Hill and the Hill of Areapagos. The three sacred hills guarded the ancient city.

7. The Philopappou Hill The sacred rock (Acropolis) and the city of Athens are best viewed from the hill of Philopappou or the hill of the Muses. A marble monument has been erected in memory of Antiochos Philopappos - a Syrian prince who had served as Roman consul and became Athen's benefactor in the second century A.D.

8. Hill of Areopagos The ancient supreme court (Arios Paghos) is located just below the entrance of the Acropolis. According to Aeschylus, this hill was where Orestes was judged and found innocent for murdering his mother Clytemnestra. St Paul, centuries later, also preached there. The court had a reputation for integrity and fairness, it retained jurisdiction over murder and religious offences for centuries. This hill, as it was mentioned earlier- along with the other two sacred hills- guarded the city.

9. The Temple of Olympian Zeus A fitting monument to the mighty ruler of the gods, Zeus, was this huge temple (the largest in Ancient Greece). It was the tyrant Peisistratos who started it in the 6th century B.C. and it was completed, centuries later, by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 132 A.D. Of the 104 Corinthian style columns, each 56ft. high and 7ft. wide, only 15 remain. There is no trace of the huge gold and ivory statue of Zeus and the one of Hadrian.

10. Hadrian's Arch To separate his city which he called ''Handrianopolis'' from the ancient city of Theseus (Athens), he erected the Arch which was facing the temple of Zeus. It is located towards the end of Amalias Ave.

11. National Archaeological Museum Located on 28th Octovriou (Patesion) St. It exhibits the largest and most dazzling collection of Greek Antiquities. The most prominent being the Mycenaean gold pieces (including Agamemnon's gold mask); the Cycladic figurines which resemble techniques of modern sculpture; the bronze statue of Poseidon and many more.

12. Plaka The oldest and most picturesque quarter of the city is located on the north slope of the Acropolis. The narrow winding streets, the cobblestone walkways (cars have been banned for the most part) and the elegant old homes, are all that is left of old Athens. A cluster of Byzantine churches, ancient ruins, souvenir shops, tavernas, night clubs and bars are jam-packed into a half a sq. kilometer. A most delightful place to be, where many paths climb up to the Acropolis. Many tourists enjoy the uniqueness of the Plaka area and the two main streets Kydathineon and Adrianou are being strolled till the wee hours, where restaurants, tourist shops and bars stay open. The Tower of the Winds, with its water clock, sun dial and weather vane, a stunning monument, built in the first century B.C. octagonally shaped, is worth visiting. Another site, worth seeing in the Plaka area, is the Roman Agora and the well preserved 4th century B.C. monument of Lysicratous.

c. Modern Athens:
1.Monastiraki Square Actually Monastiraki is an extention of Plaka. It is the heart of the city's market district. The central meat and the produce markets are located there. Many other shops and vendors are packed on Athinas and Aeolou Sts. The popular flea market is southwest on Ifestou St which leads off to the metro station. To this day, Monastiraki, attracts and it is the centre of Athenian artists who create beautiful articles using copper, bronze, iron and other metals. In addition, a great number of antique dealers and variety souvenir shops flock the area. Towards Avissinias Sq. you will observe wood-crafters refinishing old chairs, bureaus and other interesting items to be sold on the spot and in antique stores. It is a very animated place, especially on Sundays - when all other shops are closed - and people congest the area to browse and shop at the weekly sidewalk bazaar. It is indeed the most colorful and the noisiest area in Athens. Towards Syntagma, on Ermou and Mitropoleos Sts. more up-scale shopping can be done. Good fashion and textile shops on Ermou and on Mitropoleos the best buys in carpets and flokati (hand woven rugs). Pandrosou st. leads to Mitropoleos Sq. where the Mitropolis (Athens Cathedral) is located.

 

2.Omonia Square All major streets of Athens lead to Omonia which is linked with Syntagma Sq. via Panepistimiou (El. Venizelou) and Stadiou, the two most important streets. It is a very busy transport center with a station of the Metro system and streets heading in all directions. Athinas going south from Omonia towards Monastiraki; Pireos heading south-west towards Piraeus; Aghiou Konstantinou runs west to the railway station and 3rd Septemvriou goes north. Besides the metro station, Omonia is also on most of the trolley-bus routes. On Stadiou, a shopping street, in the old Parliament building, there is the National Historical Museum where items from the War of Independence are displayed, among them, things worn by the Philhellene Lord Byron. On Panepistimiou St. along with several neoclassical buildings of the 19th century, one can see the home of Heinrich Schliemann, the German archaeologist who found the tombs at Mycenae and excavated ancient Troy. On the same broad street the Academy of Arts, Athens University and the National Library - reminiscent of the classical style - are located. The Library contains a great number (over a million) of books and manuscripts and priceless hand-illuminated Gospels, dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries.

3.Syntagma Square/Constitution Square Syntagma now has become synonymous with a convenient spot to meet. It is the central reference and rendezvous point not only for visitors but Athenians as well. It is as always has been an Athens centre of activity since Aristotle's time, when his Lyceum was located to the south of the square. In the little over one acre-large plaza you'll find a fountain surrounded with orange, cypress and palm trees. Expensive outdoor cafes, first class hotels, restaurants, fast food establishments, including McDonald's, all types of tourist shops, offices and banks. All that, along with constant traffic coming in from every direction (eight major thruways), give you the impression of very spirited, brisk setting. In front of the Parliament Building (Vouli) - in the east side of the Square - is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where every Sunday around 10:30a.m. (if you arrive early enough) you can view the formal changing of the guard (the Evzones) sentries dressed in the traditional uniform. It is a ceremony worth-seeing. On the marble retaining walls besides the bronze shields commemorating contemporary military victories, there's an engraved segment of Pericles' funeral oration (the Epitaph) in which Athenians killed in the Peloponnesian War are acclaimed and honoured. It is widely believed that underneath the site lie the tombs of many of those soldiers. Adjacent to the Parliament Building, the National Garden/(Ethnikos Kipos) is a welcoming heaven to thousands who find relief during the summer heat. A lovely park of subtropical trees, dozens of walkways, two small ponds with swans and ducks, a small zoo, children's playground and plenty of benches, it is indeed a very pleasant diversion. The Zappeion Hall, inside the National Garden, was built in 1896 in order to be used during the first Modern Olympic Games. Its function is to host numerous cultural and commercial exhibits. It was here also where the induction of Greece to the European Community was signed, Zappeion was built by the generosity and bequest of the national benefactor Evangelos Zappas. Just across the street from the National Garden, on Vassileos Konstantinou Ave, there is the all marble stadium which was built prior to the first (1896) Modern Olympic Games. The stadium can accommodate appr. 70,000 and it is now mostly used for various ceremonies, concerts and very important sporting events. It is also called the Panathenaikon Stadium and has the identical ancient U-shape of the Olympia and Delphi stadiums. It was built on the exact spot where the ancient (330B.C.) stadium stood.

4.Kolonaki and Mount Lycavittos

Kolonaki, one of Athen's most elegant quarters. It attracts many visitors for its trendy shops, the out-door cafes, the gourmet restaurants and shops, the intense night life for every taste and to take the cable car (from Ploutarhou St) to the peak (910ft) of Lycavittos Hill. Lycavittos is the place where you can - at its summit - have a panoramic view of Athens in all her splendour, the Attica basin, the Saronic Islands and the surrounding mountains. It is best viewed in the morning when pollution and haze have not as yet set it. The picturesque chapel of St George (Aghiou Gheorghiou) is very imposing - especially at night when it's lit. For the visitors' convenience there is a pavilion with a restaurant and snack bar, there is also an amphitheatre where jazz and rock concerts are performed during the summer festival. Besides the cable car there are also the countless steps that take the brave climbers from the center of Kolonaki to the top of the hill.

d.Piraeus Piraeus - the port of Athens - is the third largest port in the Mediterranean (Marseilles and Genoa being first and second respectively). It is located 6 miles south-west of Athens and the Great Harbor accommodates shipping vessels, cruise liners, the major inter-islands, ferries and Greece's maritime export-import trade. Piraeus and Athen's histories have been intertwined due to the fact that Piraeus has been Athen's port since the classical period. During the Persian Wars, Themistocles transferred the Athenian fleet from the unsheltered port of Phaleron to the protection of Piraeus, which he, after his victory at Salamis in 480B.C., fortified and extended the walls to all three harbors. Pericles expensed those ''Long Walls'' to Phaleron and Athens. At the end of the Peloponnesian War, though, as one of the stipulations interposed by the vistorious Spartans, the Walls were demolished. Piraeus is today as restless, traffic-congested and fun-loving as Athens, the world of Piraeus of Melina Merkouri's ''Never on Sunday'' has disappeared and has been replaced by modern buildings, marble banks, shipping offices, stores and attractive tavernas. It is a very busy place, a working port with up-market marinas and a lively nightlife. Although there are some attractive spots worth-visiting, many tourists choose not to linger and they come only to get a ferry for the islands. Piraeus has three harbors, the largest being the Great Harbor (Meghas Limenas), on the western side of the Piraeus peninsula. All ferries leave from here. Zea Harbor, peaceful and picturesque, is across the peninsula on the eastern shore. This serves as a port for hydrofoils to the Saronic Gulf islands - except Aegina - and as a place where tycoons moor their luxurious yachts. The other picturesque port Mikrolimano/Tourkolimano (small harbour) is on the north-east and it's bursting with private boats. There is the third and most popular harbor, everyday walks have become customary and the impressions and view along the harbour and on the hill of Castella as well, remind you of insular surroundings. The best and fastest way to get to Piraeus from Athens is by metro, which terminates on Akti Kalimassioti, at the north-eastern corner of Meghas Limenas (Great Harbour).

e.Apollo Coast:
1.Cape Sounion It is regretful that one of the most attractive coastlines and seashores has been overdeveloped. This is the road that borders Attica's Apollo coast, where many of the beaches now are properties of EOT (Dept of Greek Tourism) or hotels, in either case you are charged to use them. Sounion is located appr. 43 miles south-east of Athens and along the way you will come across beautiful environs and alternative options for swimming and water sports. Sounion is indeed a naturally magnificent seascape. Just looking at it becomes evident why the ancient Greeks - who so carefully picked the temple sites - chose Cape Sounion for the Temple of Poseidon which was built the 5th century B.C. and immerses 55ft into the sea. The majestic Doric columns, which look like they're sprouting from the rocks, with the immenseness of the blue-sea and sky- colour in the background, present a sight of an incredibly elusive beauty. The temple has been rebuilt in the place of the ancient monument which had been destroyed during the Persian invasion. It still retains 15 columns of Doric style while the facade has elements of the Ionic as well. Lord Byron was fascinated with Sounion's and the temple's beauty and not only expressed his sentiments in Don Juan but also carved his name on one of the columns. The islands Kea, Kythnos and Serifos in the south-east and Aegina and the Peloponnese in the west, could be seen beautifully on a clear day. Besides the coastal road you may take the route Athens-Glyfada-Vouliagmeni-Sounion.

2.Glyfada Attica's largest resort, is approx. 10 miles south of Athens. It is regarded as one of the most affluent suburbs and the main characteristics are the intense nightlife, the greenery and the outstanding villas. It is overrun with tourists in the summer and the excellent shopping centers and nightlife attract a great number of Athenians throughout the year. Additionally, Glyfada has enticed many wealthy expatriates who have settled permanently here. The beach - Asteria - offers all types of athletic installations, restaurants and a Marina that can accommodate more than 50 vessels. There is also the Golf Club in Glyfada, which attracts many visiting and local golf enthusiasts . Another southern coastal suburb with earnest nightlife is Palaeo Phalero (Old Faliro) a little closer to Athens (5 miles). The beautiful seashore with the palm trees offers very pleasant stralls all year round. If you find yourselves wanting to own a piece of those wonderful places contact Attica/Real Estate, Glyfada (Tel.89-83-377), the well trained, multi-lingual personnel will be happy to assist you.

3.Vouliagmeni A small cape separates the coast - of this lovely southern suburb, 15 miles from Athens - into two bays with gorgeous sandy beaches. The nape of the cape - narrower than its tip - is the neck (lemos) A beautiful ornament of the area is the Vouliagmeni lake, whose bright green water is surrounded by towering cragged rocks. Swimming is allowed and there are good restaurants around. The Astir Vouliagmenis beach, is well equipped for 5,000 bathers, with excellent installations, fields for various sports activities, cafeterias and additional seashore accommodating 30,000 overall people. The Vouliagmeni Marina is one of the best in the Mediterranean and it can accommodate 100 to 150 yachts.

4.Lagonisi The drive to Lagonisi, about 25 miles from Athens, is enchanting. Very picturesque bays, clear azure-colored protracted sea, vacation resorts, coastal tavernas and beautiful scenery inundate the region. The group ''Lagonisi'' disposes a well-structured facility, fully equipped for the bathers' convenience, while along the seashore there are many free sandy beaches with intriguing little bays. An enjoyable vacation spot indeed.

f. Kifissia; Marathon; Mt. Parnese:
1. Kifissia This northern suburb (8 1/2 miles from Athens) has, in recent years, known great development and expansion. Contemporary fashionable shopping and entertainment centers, trendy boutiques, gourmet, international and all types of restaurants/cafes, urban neo-classical buildings inside picturesque gardens and lovely homes, compose the attractive picture of the territory. For the afore-mentioned reasons and other enjoyable aspects, one of them being Kifissia's park, where every May a beautiful floricultural exhibit takes place. This lovely suburb attracts numerous tourists and out-towners. In addition, as is the case of Glyfada, many affluent expatriates and foreign dignitaries choose Kifissia for their home. The various galleries also contribute greatly to Kifissia's character and appearance.

2.Marathon The small town of Marathon is located 26 miles north-east of Athens. Nothing remarkable about the place, besides the fact that one of the most famous battles in world history took place here and Miltiades' strategy in altering the formation of conventional battle proved to be ingenious and was extensively studied everywhere. Today's Marathon race is the outcome of the celebrated Marathon battle (490B.C.) when upon its completion a soldier ran to announce their victory to the Athenians. Arriving exhausted, shouted ''Nenikikame'' (we won!), collapsed and died. Four miles before you reach the town and a little over 380 yards from the Athens-Marathon road, stands the Marathon Tomb, honouring the 192 men who died in that battle. The mound is 328ft high and 590ft in circumference. There is also a museum which is closer to the town and both, the Tomb and Museum, are open every day except Monday, from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. The admission fee of appr. $2.50 covers both sites (tomb and museum).

3. Mount Parnese Nineteen miles away from Athens you find yourself at the foot of the highest mountain of Attica, Parnitha (altitude:4636 ft.). The drive from there to the hotel Mon Parnes offers a breath-taking view. The majestic site gathers many visitors and it is best known for the very popular casino and the Alpinists' Society's shelter, which has become the winter hangout for the devotees of the sport. Another well-known spot is the Mola Spring with plentiful cold water and near the spring stands the picturesque Saint Petros chapel, where climbers, hunters and woodcutters are rendered a service in a cell offered by the church. There are also winter sports installations and a little over a mile west of those there is the Parnitha National Forest where wild animals roam.

Summer Festivals: Every summer the festival scene is superb. World-class entertainers participate in the Athens Festival and many regional performances are exceptional as well. Thessaloniki as Europe's designated Cultural Capital in 1997 presented a plethora of excellent events from ancient tragedies and Shakespeare to rock concerts by Van Morrison and U2. If you have the chance, do not miss a performance at the ancient theater at Epidavros and especially at the Odeon of Herod Atticus in Athens. It is an experience that will stay with you forever. Imagine this: you're listening to a classical symphony or watching an ancient tragedy, performed - in a 2.500 year old amphitheater - by first-class actors, while you're looking-up towards the monument of monuments the Parthenon, and the marvel of the Acropolis. That is indeed one of the most up-lifting and sensational adventures of a lifetime. Ancient tragedies not to be missed: Euripides' masterpiece the Trojan Women; Medea; Iphighenia en Tavrois. Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and Antigone. Aeschylus' (the father's of tragedy) the Persians, the Oresteia Trilogy and Aristophanes' the Birds and Lysistrati. Modern performances and concerts by: George Dallaras (one of the country's best interpreters of song); Haris Aleksiou; Dimitris Mitropanos; Maria Farandouri; Alkystis Protopsalti;the group Pyx Lax; Elefteria Arvanitaki; Stephanos Korkolis, and the teen idols Sakis Rouvas, Manto,Yiannis Varthis, among others who are still appearing during the summer months.

Telephones for Festival program and ticket information: - Odeon of Herod Atticus 210 3221459 - Epidavros 27530 22006 - Lycavittos Theater 210 7227209 - 210 7227233 - Thessaloniki (Festival Box Office) 2310 3221459 2310 257130 Greek Folk Dancing: -Dora Stratou Dance Company at their own theatre, on Philopappou Hill 210 3244395 (Night performances from May to October) Disco scene: Discos operate in Athens only from fall to spring. In the summer the action moves to the southern suburbs, especially Glyfada. Rock Music: -The Rodon Club 24, Marni St. (the place to be for rock music) 210 5247424.

Concerts, Opera, Symphonies, Ballet: International and Greek artists along with famed orchestras, frequently perform at the Megaron Mousikis (the Athens Music Hall) which is located on Vassilissis Sophias next to the U.S. Embassy. Tel.: 210 7282333. Theatre-Cinema: Athenians are known for their love for the theatre, thus, the variety of theater companies. Excellent plays are performed every year - especially from October through May - by superb casts of actors. If you're a theatre fan and you're familiar with the play, you may have a pleasant evening (especially in an outdoor summer theater) watching your favorite play in Greek. Movie theaters are showing recently, released movies from the States, Britain and other countries with subtitles in Greek. Most of the Movie houses are on the two streets between Syntagma and Omonoia and Patission St.(28th October) and Plateia Amerikis. There are also many outdoor movie theaters, in the summer, playing re-runs. If you have not seen the movie (since they get here three to four months later), you will enjoy the open-air atmosphere. Some major theaters in Athens: -Apollon 19 Stadiou St. 3236811 -Astor 28 Stadiou St. 3224038 -Asty 4 Korae St. 3221925 -Ideal 46 Panepistimiou St. 3826720 There are many more including the Multi-Movie theater complex the Village Centre (10 cinemas) in Maroussi 6805950. The Athenscope and the weekly Greek News - purchased at any kiosk selling foreign publications - offer comprehensive listings of the entertainment scene.

The sports scene: a. Swimming: Pools/Beaches: Many fine hotels with pools allow non-guests to use them. The following listing with phone numbers will help you. -Astir Vouliagmeni 210 8960211-0311 -Divani Caravel 2107253725 -Holiday Inn 210 7248322 -Park Hotel 210 8832712 -President 210 6924600

Public Beaches: With a small fee the Greek National Tourist Organization (EOT) beaches can accommodate you with changing cabins, showers, canoes, windsurfing, basket, volley and tennis courts and playgrounds for the children. They are, however, terribly crowded, especially on week-ends, public beaches of Greater Athens: -Alipedou Voulas A 210 8953248 -Alipedou Voulas B 210 8959590 -Varkiza 210 8972102 -Vouliagmeni 210 8960906 b. Windsurfing: If you're a windsurfing enthusiast, Greece is the ideal place for you. For information regarding equipment and schools call the Hellenic Windsurfing Federation: 210 3230068. c. Waterskiing: Contact the following clubs: -Astir Ski Club Vouliagmeni 210 8960211 -Vouliagmeni Naval Club 210 8960741/ 210 8962142 d. Rowing: -The Greek Rowing Federation (22, Koumoundourou, Piraeus) can keep you abreast on the rowing races of the various naval clubs. e. Scuba Diving: -Union of Greek Diving Centers 210 9229532 f. Tennis: -Athens Tennis Club 210 9232872 -Athletic Club 54, Tatoiou St., Kifissia -Panellinios Gymnastic Club 210 883-4408 -Pefki Tennis Club 210 806-6162 g. Golf: For the golf devotee the Glyfada Golf Course 210 8946820 offers an 18-hole course, a pavilion for golfers and various facilities. It is open to the public from 7:30 a.m. (Mondays from 1 p.m.) until sunset (prices are approximately $ 50 for week days and $ 65 for week-ends - per round - call to verify). h. Riding Clubs: For the equestrian who cannot do without his/her favorite sport, the equestrians an clubs, listed below, can help. Athletic Riding Club of Ekali 210 8135576 Hellenic Riding Club Maroussi 210 6826128 Riding Club of Parnitha 210 2402413 The Greek Equestrian Federation 210 6528139 can answer any questions you might have and assist you to locate a riding club near you. i. Mount climbing: For the alpinist the Greek Federation of the AlpinistsÕ Clubs 210 3645904 or 210 3212355 can be of assistance. g. Skiing: The nearest resort (appr. 120 miles) north-west of Athens is Mount Parnassos. For information on other locations call the Hellenic Skiing Federation (210 -5240057) or visit any EOT office and obtain a copy of Greece: Mountain Refuges and Ski Centers.

Spectator Sports: Soccer (football) - the favorite sport of Greeks for the longest time - is constantly losing ground to a more prestigious game: Basketball. The most important soccer and basketball teams in Greece are: Panathenaikos, Olympiakos, AEK and PAOK!

Where to shop: Most of your shopping can be done downtown, around Syntagma, Omonoia and Kolonaki Sqs. Most bargains, however, (if you're careful) could be found at Monastiraki. Also, keep and eye open - for good buys - in the local flee markets (woven rugs, blankets and needlework items). Always shop around before buying, since price and quality vary widely from one shop to the next. The best and naturally the most expensive shops are located in Kolonaki and Syntagma Square and the best shopping centers of the northern suburb is Kifissia and of the southern suburb Glyfada. Omonoia Sq. offers a variety of less expensive stores and Ermou St. is great for women's shops. Pandrossou and Adrianou Sts. in Plaka offer a variety of stores for buying jewelry, statues and all kinds of souvenirs. Monastiraki - an extension of Plaka - is ideal for handmade costumes instruments, worry beads (kompologhia), leather goods, copper, brass, onyx and don't leave without a salad-bowl, made of olive tree wood, they're terrific. The greatest number of antique dealers are crammed there and if you are an antique addict and you have a good eye for authenticity you might leave with some great finds. Don't hesitate to bargain. Bargaining there is expected - especially if it's done within reason. Monastiraki is the only place open Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For lovely ceramic pieces visit the showroom/workshop of Contempory Ceramics/Synchroni Keramiki on Pentelis, 1 Ave. Melissia or 26 Haritos St. Kolonaki, where the outstanding work of Katy Anastasaki is exhibited. For traditional handcrafts you should visit the National Organization of Hellenic Handcrafts, 9 Mitropoleos St. where the exhibited (not for sale) items will educate you on quality and suggested prices, and a good place to shop is the National Welfare Organization's Hellenic Folk Art Gallery, Apollonos and Ipatias (corner), Plaka. The largest selection of flokati-rugs (the best coming from Thessaly and Epiros) can be found at Mazarakis Flokati, 31-33 Voulis st. (your prized rug can be shipped to your home). The best jewelry shops on Voukourestiou and Valaoritou Sts. offer high quality - works of art - pieces.

Public Transportation: The Greek National Tourist Organization provides a map and information for all connections - inside Athens and its outskirts - of bus and trolley lines. Bus and trolley tickets cost less than 50 cents (100 drachmas) and must be purchased at special booths or many kiosks. They cannot be purchased on the bus or trolley, the only thing you must do once you're on is to validate the ticket by inserting it into the purposely placed orange colored meters. It has to be validated/punched; if an inspector comes on board, and it is not, you will be fined.

Metro: During expansion of Athens' metro system, inconvenience is the order of the day. Hopefully, the project will soon be completed and things will be normal once again. Presently, the metro does manage to connect the northern suburbs (starting in Kifissia), with Piraeus and includes many stops along the way. Trains run every 4-5 min. during rush hours and every 10 min. till midnight, when the metro shuts-down until 5:30 a.m. Tickets are purchased at the station and must be punched again before you board. (The map from EOT will assist you, check section on GNTO).

Mini Buses: They travel throughout central Athens with stops at the red bus stops. You may use the same ticket as the other buses/trolleys.The red shopping mini buses offer free rides around Athens' historical triangle, starting on Ermou St.

Trains: For information about train service for the entire country you may contact the Greek Railway Organization (OSE) at 1 Karolou St.near Omonoia Sq. Tel. 522-2491 or the branch office near Syntagma Sq. at 6 Sina St. Tel. 3624402.

Taxis: Taxicabs are still inexpensive in Greece. Fares start at less than one dollar (around 2 euro) and all cabs have meters (the minimum for short distances, however, was recently approved to be 500 drs. (about $1.75). Baggage charges (for bags over 10 kg) are extra and they're posted on the dash board in Greek and English. Rates between midnight and 5 a.m. almost double, holidays also carry a surcharge. You can negotiate rates for out of town trips, within all major cities, however, rates are non-negotiable. To get a cab in an Athens street you must flag it down (standing on the side of the direction you're heading. e.g. going towards Omonoia, wait on the sidewalk of the traffic heading that way, and so forth), call out your destination and if it's going that way you'll be signaled to get in. Rarely you'll have a taxi to yourself, be ready to share it with others (if you're headed at the same direction), you are still going to be charged the regular rate. Naturally, you always have the right to refuse another passenger. It is nearly impossible to track down a taxi during rush hour. Occasionally you see signs for taxi stands but seldom cabs waiting there.

Radio Taxi: It's advisable, when you have to be somewhere on time, to call a taxicab ahead of time, state your destination and ask when to expect them (they usually can estimate the traffic at specific hours and they'll advise you). It costs a little more (an additional $1.75 about) but it is worth it. You should request from someone at your hotel (or somebody else) to call because most of the following Radio-taxi companies require you speak a little Greek:

-Athina 1 9217942
-Hermes 4115200
-Express 9951136; 9934812
-Hellas; Downtown Athens 6457000
-Northern suburbs 8014000
-Southern suburbs 9961420
-Ikaros 5132316
-Kosmos 1300
-Parthenon 5811809
(In most cases you have to keep calling if a cab is not available at that moment. They do not reserve/book taxis).

Limousine Service:
Most of the hotels could arrange for a chauffeured car to drive you anywhere, it is advisable, however, to make your own arrangements (it will definitely be cheaper) and negotiate over the phone, ahead of time, for single or multiple trips. -Limousine Service 3233957
-Astra Limousine Service 9220333.