Athens is the capital of Greece and with 750000 inhabitants (greater Athens: 3.3 million inhabitants) its largest city. It is the political, cultural and economic centre of Greece, and with the nearby Piraeus harbour and international airport also its transportation and travel hub.
Athens has been continously inhabited for the past 3000 years. It became the leading city of ancient Greece in the first millennium BC. With its cultural achievements during the classical period in the 5th century BC it laid the foundations of Western civilization. After being annexed to the Roman empire in 146BC Athens lost a lot of its importance. It later became a peripheral city of the Byzantine Empire, then of the Ottoman Empire. Athens became the capital of the newly founded Greek state in the 19th century.
Despite its huge significance for the development of Western civilisation, Athens has relatively few historical sites worth visiting, compared for instance to a city like Rome. Among them are primarily the Acropolis with the Agora and surrounding temples and the museums with the archaeological artifacts. The Plaka is the old town centre with many souvenir shops and restaurants.