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Athens: City of the Gods

Athens has to be one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring places to visit anywhere in the world. As the capital of the Ancient Greek civilisation, Athens was the birthplace of so many of the main pillars of Western Culture, namely philosophy, democracy, theatre, medicine, astronomy and geometry — to name but a few. While it may no longer occupy the position it once held, modern day Athens is still an exciting, bustling city with plenty to see and do — and with airlines like Monarch making cheap flights more accessible than ever it’s easy to plan holidays in the City of the Gods.

From the minute your flight arrives, one historical site in the city is obvious. The Acropolis stands out over the city, with the iconic pillars of the Parthenon visible from practically anywhere in the metropolis. Acropolis literally means 'High City' and the name certainly fits, as it is situated on a mountainous hill that rises up in the middle of the city.

The Acropolis is home to not one but several highly important historical buildings. Arguably the most important of these is the Parthenon, which is sacred to the Goddess Athena, whom the city is named after. However there are two more sites that have a special significance to the goddess Athena and therefore Athens itself.
The Erechtheion is one of the most spectacularly carved of the monuments and can be found on the north side of the sacred rock of the Acropolis. It is one of the most beautiful of the monuments because instead of pillars it had ten statues of beautiful women called the Caryatids. According to myth this is where Poseidon, the God of the sea, fought with Athena over the patronage of the city. Poseidon is said to have thrust his trident into a rock causing a spring to burst forth, whereas Athena thrust her spear into the ground and an olive tree grew. It was declared that Athena's offering was the greatest and she won the contest and became the city’s namesake.

Another site of interest is the Temple of the Athena Nike. Athena Nike is a form of Athena meaning Athena the Victorious, and this is where she was worshipped in this guise. The Temple of Athena Nike is on the right-hand side when you enter the site, where the Ancient Greeks bowed in worship to the goddess hoping to be victorious in their war against Sparta. This monument was been built from marble and was completed in around 410 BC.