Visiting Athens: cradle of occidental culture
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years. A center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC in later centuries on the rest of the then known European continent. Today a cosmopolitan metropolis, modern Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece. In 2008, Athens was ranked the world's 32nd richest city by purchasing power. The history of the world´s culture capital Athens is the historical capital of Europe, with a long history, dating from the first settlement in the Neolithic age. In the 5th Century BC (the “Golden Age of Pericles”) – the culmination of Athens’ long, fascinating history – the city’s values and civilization acquired a universal significance. Over the years, a multitude of conquerors occupied Athens, and erected unique, splendid monuments - a rare
historical palimpsest. In 1834, it became the capital of the Modern Greek state and in two centuries since it has become an attractive modern metropolis with unrivalled charm. A large part of the town’s historic center has been converted into a 3kilometre pedestrian zone (the largest in Europe), leading to the major archaeological sites (“archaeological park”), reconstructing – to a large degree – the ancient landscape. Seasons & Climate Spring and late autumn are the best times to visit Athens. Summer can be extremely hot and dry during heat waves; however, this rarely happens. Winter is definitely the low season, with the occasional rainy or snowy day, but also an ideal time to save money while enjoying the city without countless other travelers and tourists.
What you can´t miss •
The Acropolis, a Unesco World Heritage Site, was the ancient fortified town of Athens, dating back to the Late Bronze Age, and the site of the best buildings of the Greek Classical age: the Parthenon, the Erectheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Acropolis dominates the Athenian sky and symbolizes the foundation of modern culture and civilization. As the most famous landmark of entire Greece, the Acropolis is the eternal symbol of democracy, education and inspiration. If you attend a university in the European Union, bring your ID and you can enter for free. The normal entrance price is 12 euros. This ticket also gives you entry to the Kerameikos, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Roman Agora, Ancient Agora, and the nearby Theatre of Dionysus. If possible, get there early to avoid heavy crowds, and summer heat when relevant.
The Ancient Agora— The site of the Ancient Agora in a very green space and a very beautiful view of the Acropolis. You will see the Temple of Hephaestus, the best preserved ancient Greek temple, the Attalos Stoa, the museum of the agora which is a reconstructed ancient building. From the agora you can walk towards Acropolis. Extension of the agora is the Roman Forum. Syntagma Square— Check out the Parliament building and the newly-restored Grande Bretagne Hotel. Also, catch the changing of the guards in front of the Parliament every hour on the hour. Their uniforms and walking style is fun to see but make sure you don't stand on the wrong side of them if you want to take a picture. If you accidentally do so, they will knock their gun and, as they are not allowed to speak, someone else from the guard will kindly ask you to change position. The Kerameikos— The site of the ancient cemetery of Athens. It also houses the Dipylon Gate, where the Panathenaic procession would begin. It has a museum showcasing many of the grave stele and other archaeological items found on the grounds. The Temple of Olympian Zeus— Only the ruins remain today. The column that has fallen and can still be seen on pieces was brought down during a thunderstorm about a century ago. The 1896 Olympic Stadium and Hadrian's Arch are located nearby, Panathinaiko Stadium— The stadium that housed the first modern day Olympic Games of 1896. Its an enormous, white, marble stadium, with a horseshoe configuration stadium. Lycabettus Hill— A 200m hill bordering the Kolonaki district. You can reach the top by walking or by a funicular railway [small ticket charge]. There is a cafe-restaurant with a great view of Athens towards the sea. From halfway up looking towards the sea there are astonishing views of the Parthenon with the blue of the sea glimpsed between its columns. But, why not get to know more?
Whilst staying in Athens you may be planning to visit other parts of Greece, either on the mainland or visiting the many islands. A good recommendation is to drop in to the offices of the Greek National tourist Organization GNTO infodesk, at 2 Amerikis Street telephone210322-3111 Here you can pick up, free of charge, regional, informative pamphlets and maps that contains nearly all the information you may need about useful phone numbers, services, ferry boat schedules and accommodation. You can get as well programs of all the annual festivals held in
Athens and all over Greece. These are published in all the main European languages.
Written by: Juliana Gazzo
Whitehaven, Australia If you have always wanted to be in the perfect place for every member of the family, and be relaxed to, come to Whitehaven beach, a paradise island where you are going to have the best vacations ever! Whitehaven Beach is a 7 km stretch along Whitsunday Island. The island is accessible by boat from the mainland tourist ports of Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour, as well as Hamilton Island. The crystal clear aqua waters and pristine silica sand of Whitehaven stretch over seven kilometers along Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. It defines nature at its best and provides the greatest sense of relaxation and escape.
What can you do? There are several ways to experience the beauty of Hill Inlet. Many companies offer day trips to Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet by ferry, power boat or luxury yacht. Boats and campers can even anchor overnight off the beach, or book a national park campsite and camp on the southern end of the iconic Whitehaven Beach itself. Scenic helicopter and seaplane flights over Hill Inlet promise amazing aerial views as the magical waters and sand dance below. However if you choose to explore Whitehaven Beach, it will be an experience that you will remember for a lifetime!
Written by: Camila Belaunde
Visiting Cozumel Island 1.
Where is Cozumel? It is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, opposite to Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatán Channel.
Cozumel is one of the ten quarters of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The main town on the island is San Miguel de Cozumel.
The first Spanish expedition to visit Cozumel was led by Juan de Grijalva in 1518; in the following year Hernán Cortés stopped by the island on his way to Veracruz. The Grijalva and Cortés expeditions were both received peacefully by the Maya of Cozumel, unlike the expeditions’ experiences on other parts of
destroyed some of the Maya idols on Cozumel and replaced them with an image of the Virgin Mary, the native inhabitants of the island continued helping the Spanish resupply their ships with food and water so they could continue their voyages. As many as 10,000 Maya lived on the island then, but in 1520, infected crew members of the Pánfilo Narváez expedition brought the smallpox contagion to the island and by 1570 only 186 men and 172 women were left alive on Cozumel. In the following years Cozumel was often the target of pirate attacks and in 1650 many of the islanders were forcibly relocated to the mainland town of Xcan Boloná to avoid the buccaneers’ predation. Later, in 1688, most of the rest of the island’s population, as well as many of the
settlements along the Quintana Roo coast, were evacuated inland to towns such as Chemax. In 1848, refugees escaping the tumult of the Caste War of Yucatán settled on the island and in 1849 the town of San Miguel de Cozumel
What can you do there?
If you want to spend some days of relaxation and fun,
Chankanaab, but that isn’t all… If you want to learn more about history, you can visit the Museum
archaeological site of Saint Gregorio.
But also if you want some adventure, scuba diving is very popular in Cozumel, one of the best places for this activity are: Palancar, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Baja Paradise, Paradise North Paradise South Balls Chankanaab Natural Park Chankanaab, and Punta Sur Park Reserve ecological.
Typical activities of the zone: Tour the island by bicycle or motorcycle, shopping on Melgar Avenue or visit the craft market in search of a souvenir. There is also a carnival called “La Tierra de las Golondrinas”.
Why Cozumel Island? I chose Cozumel because of its biodiversity and all the awesome activities you can do there, like scuba diving, snorkeling. Also because it architectural Tourism. You will have really great holidays, far away from your daily routine. You wonâ€™t be disappointed; it will be a funny experience you canâ€™t turn down. Written by: Valeria Ichazo
Fernando de Noronha Fernando de Noronha is a tourist place in the Atlantic Ocean offshore from the Brazilian coast. ItÂ´s an archipelago of 21 islands and islets. The area is a special municipality of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco and is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The local population and travelers can get to Noronha by plane or cruise from Recife or by plane from Natal. Fernando de Noronha Island was discovered on August 10, 1503, by a Portuguese expedition. Organized and financed by a private commercial consortium headed by the Lisbon merchant FernĂŁo de Loronha. The island was covered in forest until the 19th century, when it was cleared to prevent prisoners on the island from building rafts. The islands are now predominantly covered by shrubs, with some areas of recently planted secondary forest. Many of the plants on the island today were introduced by people. The islands have endemic birds like the Noronha Elaenia and the Vireo. The life above and below sea are the main attraction of the island. Sea tortoises, dolphins, albatrosses and many other species are frequently observed. The climate is tropical, with two seasons for rainfall. The rainy season lasts from March to August; the rest of the year sees little rain. The temperature ranges, both diurnal and monthly, are unusually light. All this characteristics become interesting for the people thatÂ´s because the beaches of Fernando de Noronha are promoted for tourism and recreational diving. Due to the South Equatorial Current that pushes warm
water from Africa to the island, diving to depths of 30 to 40 meters doesnâ€™t require a wetsuit. The visibility underwater can reach up to 50 meters. Written by: Alejandra Echevarria