Greece Estate Group

ATHENS

October 14, 2008

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Athens , the capital and largest city of Greece, dominates the Attica periphery; as one of the world’s oldest cities, its recorded history spans around 3,400 years.

The oldest known human presence in Athens is the Cave of Schist which has been dated to between the 11th and 7th millennium BC. Athens has been continuously inhabited for at least 7000 years.

Athens sprawls across the central plain of Attica that is often referred to as the Attica or Athens Basin. The basin is bound by four large mountains; Mount Aegaleo to the west, Mount Parnitha to the north, Mount Penteli to the northeast and Mount Hymettus to the east of the Athens Metropolitan Area and also the extension of the Athens basin is the Thriasian plain west of the capital. The Saronic Gulf lies in the southwest. Mount Parnitha is the tallest of the four mountains (1,413 m (4,636 ft)) and it has been declared a national park.

Athens is built around a number of hills. Lycabettus is one of the tallest hills of the city proper and provides a view of the entire Attica Basin. The geomorphology of Athens is deemed to be one of the most complex in the world due to its mountains and causes a temperature inversion phenomenon which, along with the failure of the Greek Government to control industrial pollution, is responsible for the air pollution problems the city has recently faced. (Los Angeles and Mexico City also suffer with similar geomorphology inversion problems).

Athens has a Subtropical Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa) while the southern Athens area experiences a hot Semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh), with extremely long periods of sunshine throughout the year (2884 hours of sunshine per year at Thision meteorological station 1961-1990)and with the greatest amounts of precipitation mainly occurring from mid-October to mid-April; any precipitation is sparse during summer and it generally takes the form of showers and/or thunderstorms. Due to its location in a rain shadow because of Mount Parnitha the Athenian climate is much drier compared to most of the rest of Mediterranean Europe. The mountainous northern suburbs, for their part, experience a somewhat differentiated climatic pattern, with generally lower temperatures. Fog is highly unusual in the city centre but it is more frequent to the east, behind the Hymettus mountain range.

Winter is mild, with a January average of 8.9 °C (48.0 °F); in Nea Filadeflia and 10.3 °C (50.5 °F) in Hellenikon; Snowfalls are not common and these do not normally lead to significant, if any, disruption. Nonetheless, the city has experienced heavy snowfalls in the past decade. During the blizzards of March 1987; February 1992; 4–6 January 2002; 12–13 February 2004; January 2006; and 16–18 February 2008, snow blanketed large parts of the metropolitan area, causing havoc across much of the city.

Spring and fall (autumn) are considered ideal seasons for sightseeing and all kinds of outdoor activities.

Greece Estate Group