Along with Rome, Athens has the best documented history in Europe. Where Rome was home to the emperors, Athens was home to the Gods. Due to the number of ancient sites to visit in the city, and as Athens is the gateway to the Greek Islands, the city is increasingly popular with backpackers every year.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the city was founded, although it is said that people began to settle in Athens (named after the city’s patron Athina, the goddess of wisdom) some time around the Bronze Age. It was during the city’s ancient history that the stories of the ancient Gods originate. It is also in this era that the first Olympic Games were held, in 776BC.
After going into decline over a number of centuries, and at one stage being a minor ally of Rome, modern Athens was founded in 1834 under the city’s first king, Otto I. After rebuilding the city, it began to grow into the city it is today and the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896.
While Athens lacks some of the character of other European capitals, this is made up by the legacy of ancient sites and history that the ancient civilisations have left behind them.