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Friday, June 20, 2008

Athens - Greece

Athens - Greece - The exuberant and chaotic traffic in the city center hardly touches the people in the crowd. The drone of traffic and car horns has little effect on the people in the countless sidewalk cafes. Even the businessmen who hectically weave through the mass of people seem composed in spite of their haste. The Athenian does not forget to laugh or show their disarming friendliness, or express pride in their city, which continues to grow in this new millennium. Athens. The city with the most glorious history in the world, a city worshipped by gods and people, a magical city. The enchanting capital of Greece has always been a birthplace for civilization. It is the city where democracy was born and most of the wise men of ancient times. The most important civilization of ancient world flourished in Athens and relives through some of the world's most formidable edifices. Little remained of Athens when it became capital of Greece in 1834. Only four thousand people lived in the small row of houses on the northern hillside of the Acropolis when King Otto was imported from Bavaria as ruler of the Greeks. Initially the eighteen-year-old son of Ludwig I had to make do with a modest two-story house while his German architects prepared plans for his palace and a new landscape for Athens. People returned as the city was rebuilt. In 1921 the Greeks and Turks exchanged their minorities and of the half million Greeks who had to leave Asia Minor half of them poured into Athens. Then those working the land increasingly sought work in the capital and with a building boom in the 1950s the city expanded beyond all previous boundaries. By the 1960s Athens had once again become one of the most interesting metropolises of Europe. With new plans this city of one million people is on its way to becoming a modern world metropolis.