Attica is the Greek area upon which ancient Athens nurtured philosophy and democracy. In this little corner of the earth, the vitality of the Greeks found expression in all creative fields, and their thoughts helped to transform the whole outlook of Western man by the immortal and splendid Attic Civilization.
First inhabited in the 4th millennium B.C. by Pelasgians and later by Ionians, possesses strong links with the historical past and there is hardly a part of the region where evidence of human activity centuries old cannot be found. Place names and historical remains at Marathon, Eleusis, Brauron, Amphiareion, Ramnous, Sounion, and Athens itself commemorate an older Greece, which in those long-gone eras exerted an influence out of all proportion to its size.
However, this deservedly popular part of Greece does not live in the past. Along with the scenery, the history, and the clear blue sea, there are modern tourist facilities to be enjoyed in first-class hotels, beach bungalow resorts, and sports grounds. Excellent roads bring most of the beauty spots and historical sites of Attica within easy reach from Athens.
Attica’s few small plains are intensely cultivated with grapevines, vegetables, and fruit trees. And dark olive groves everywhere.
Attica is also the most highly industrialized part of Greece and accounts for the bulk of the country’s industry. The rivers Ilissos and Kifissos flow across this beautiful part of Greece. They are not very big but they are historically associated with Attica’s distant past.
The Attica coastline has been famous for its beauty from ancient times. Geographically the region forms a triangular peninsula terminating south at the temple-crowned Cape Sounion.
Greece begins in and revolves around this city, one of the most ancient capitals of the Western world. Cupped in a bowl on the west coast of Attica, with the mountains Aigaleo, Parnitha ( Parnes ), Pendeli, and Hymettus on three sides and the Saronic Gulf on the other, it forms one continuous city with its seaport Piraeus and the suburbs. Together they have a population of about three million.
New and ever-expanding, the modern par of Athens has largely been built in the past forty years or so. The urban sprawl of high-rise buildings reaches green suburbs as far as the surrounding mountains and the western coast of Attica. In almost every direction there is something to see: sparkling sea, lofty and delicately shaped mountains, the indelible imprints of an ancient past, and all the sophistication of twentieth-century living.
Athens was first inhabited some 6,000 years ago by Pelasgians and later by Ionians, who found the great rock of the Acropolis, or Upper City as the name implies in Greek, a natural stronghold. As the city grew, it was dedicated and named after the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena.
It enjoyed its first flourishing period in the Mycenaean era ( 1600-1100 B.C. ). At the end of the 6th century B.C. tyranny ( rule by a king ) was overthrown and the democratic form of government that followed led to unprecedented achievements in the history of mankind. In the 5th century B.C. – the “golden age” of Athens -, under the enlightened leadership of Pericles, Athens had its full development in the fields of culture, commerce, and military strength.
During the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods, Athens was a secondary city. After the Greek liberation from the Turks in 1834, it was proclaimed the capital of Greece.