Posted May 31, 2011
The Greek capital of Athens is one of the most important cradles of civilization, with its ancient culture wielding significant influence on lifestyles of people living in the present. You can explore this destination's wealth of archaeological sites as part of a European cruise.
Without question, the biggest attraction in Athens is the Acropolis. Perched on a rocky outcropping that towers above the city, this ancient site is home to many of ancient Greece's most important structures. When you visit the Acropolis, you will see historic monuments like the Parthenon and the Erechtheum - or simply choose to take in amazing views of the surrounding city. At the foot of the Acropolis, you will find the Plaka, an old district filled with charming boutiques and cafes serving delicious food.
Another top place to visit in Athens is the Temple of Zeus. This structure took 700 years to complete, and 15 of its majestic columns are still standing. The Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion is another historic attraction, dating back to the 5th century B.C. Perched atop a scenic cliff, this temple honored the powerful god of the sea.
To experience a slice of everyday life from ancient Greece, pay a visit to the Agora, or "place of gathering." This square served as the heart of the city for thousands of years, hosting a vast market, a civic center and more. A similar attraction can be found in the city of Corinth, which has a forum larger than the one in Rome.
One structure that has been used in both ancient and modern times is the Olympic Stadium. The original arena at this site was built in the 4th century B.C., but restorations allowed it to be used in the modern Olympics in 1896 and 2004.