Attica is one of the historical regions of Greece, which has a rich history, which is confirmed by many archaeological finds and historical monuments. And the geographical position of the region makes it one of the most attractive in terms of tourism and recreation.
Attica attracts not only with its history and natural attractions. This is a land where ancient legends and myths still live. The territory where Attica is located is located in the southeastern part of Greece and is washed on three sides by the waters of the bays of the Aegean Sea: Saronicos from the south, Petalia from the east, Notios-Evvoikos from the northeast. In the north, it borders on one of the regions of Central Greece - Boeotia, and in the west - on the Peloponnese. Attica also includes the islands of the Saronic Gulf. The relief of the land is mostly mountainous, especially in the north, gradually decreasing towards the south. Mounts Kitheron and Parnet, which are the natural border with Central Greece, stretch their spurs throughout the region. They are a rocky mountain range, only in the higher part covered with coniferous forest. The largest of the spurs of the Parnetare Pentelikon and Hymett. The lower spurs of Cithaeron, going south, are called Kerata, and the southeastern branch merges with Parnassus, more than 1400 meters high, and forms a mountainous region that goes to the sea. Along the southern edge of this region runs Mount Lavrius, which ends at the southernmost point of the peninsula - Cape Sounion.
Plains and rivers
Between the mountain ranges are valleys with rocky soil. There are three largest plains in Attica:
- The Athenian plain is bounded from the north by Mount Parnet, from the northeast by the Pentelikon chain, and from the southeast by the Hymett mountains;
- The Triassic plain, the most even, extends north to Kitheron and Parnet, and from the east the spurs of Parnet separate it from the Athenian valley;
- the valley between Hymett and the chain of mountains in the east is the most hilly;
- near the coast, due to alluvial lands, wide flat strips were formed, of which the largest is the Marathon Plain, the other is located near the mouth of the Asop.
Attica is one of the driest regions of the country. There are no full-flowing rivers that could be used for irrigation. The most significant of them:
- the largest river of Attica - Kefiss, flowing through the Athenian valley, it originates at the foot of Pentelikon and flows in a south-westerly direction, but most of the water goes to irrigate the arid plain;
- another river Ilissus flows out of the foothills of Hymettus, but is soon lost in the sands.
- another stream of Enoe flows through the Marathon Plain.
The shores of Attica are indented with many picturesque and convenient bays for navigation, which resulted in the development of navigation. These cozy coves and bays are now a favorite destination for surfers and divers due to the warm climate, and the coastline is filled with magnificent sandy beaches.
The mild subtropical climate of Attica is characterized by long dry summers and short wet winters. The average summer air temperature is 26-28 degrees, but in July and August the temperature can reach 38 degrees. Due to the low humidity, heat is tolerated quite easily. The swimming season lasts from April to October. In winter, the air temperature is from five to ten degrees Celsius, but there is little rain. Such a temperate climate can be explained by the influence of air currents coming from the Mediterranean - westerly winds blow in winter, and cool winds from the northeast in summer. There is no intense heat and winter cold of continental Europe.
Soil and natural resources
The natural conditions of Attica did not allow growing grain here. Due to rocky soils and lack of moisture, the valleys were of little use for agriculture, but ancient authors wrote that even though bread does not grow on this land, it will feed more people than if it grew here. This will be due to the abundance of magnificent stone for the construction of temples and altars, as well as the presence of silver, which is available here by the will of the gods. And for ships, Attica is a land that has reliable marinas where they can hide frombad weather.
The mountains of Attica consist of limestone and slate, as well as magnificent marble, the extraction of which began at the turn of the 3rd-2nd millennium BC. Ancient Greek temples, which were originally built from limestone, began to be built from marble, which was mined at Pentelikon. The Parthenon was built from it. Pentelic marble is distinguished by its purest white color and fine grain. It also shines wonderfully in the sun, but turns yellow over time. Piraeus marble of dark tones was also used in the construction of the Acropolis. In Attica, Eleusinian marble of almost black color, fine-grained Hymettian marble, was also mined. This material was highly valued and exported from Greece to Ancient Rome, where it was used in architecture and sculpture. Silver-rich mines were found in the reddish rocks of the Lavrion Mountains, and the Hymett range was a source of excellent honey.
Pottery and agriculture
The reddish clay of Attica was especially appreciated, it was of good quality and easy to work with, so pottery was well developed. Amphoras were made from clay - large jugs with a narrow neck and handles, in which wine and olive oil were stored and transported. Clay was also used to make tiles, pipes, barrels and many other household items.
Thanks to mild winters, dry summers and plenty of sun, olive and fig trees have always grown well on the plains of Attica, vineyards have been grown on the mountain slopes,therefore, wine, olives, olive oil, figs have always been the main products of agriculture and were exported. Attic wool was very popular in ancient times, and it is famous now. Sheep, goats and cattle are bred in the mountains.
The origin of the people of Attica
The inhabitants of Attica mostly belonged to the Ionian tribe - one of the four main Greek tribes, named after the legendary hero. The Ionians, along with the Dorians, are considered the main carriers of the national culture of Greece. The entire population of Attica was divided into four classes on a generic basis, which were called phyla:
- geleons - noble, they were called "brilliant";
- hoplites were warriors;
- Yergadey - farmers;
- Egikoreans were goatherds or just shepherds.
In social terms, the phyla consisted of large clans, each of which was divided into several dozen tribal families. Families in a certain order united in phratries, that is, religious groups with their own traditions and rituals. Such an organization did not concern the conquered tribes and their descendants, although they, too, could freely engage in crafts, trade or agriculture and had their own associations, they were called meteks.
Athens: geographic location
Geographically, Attica is divided into two main parts - the capital of the region and the whole country - Athens with its suburbs and the rest of the territory. The capital is named after the goddess of wisdom, Athena, who, according to legend, gave the inhabitants an olive tree. According to another version, the name of the citycomes from the word "Athos" - a flower. Athens is located on the central plain of Attica and is surrounded by mountains from the west, north and east, and from the southwest it has access to the Saronic Gulf. At present, the city has already occupied the entire plain, but its suburbs continue to expand.
Athens is not only the administrative center of the country, even in ancient times the city played an important role in cultural and economic terms. It was here that, as a result of a long and fierce struggle between the tribal aristocracy and the demos, such a form of government as ancient democracy was born, which became a model of popular government. This unique form of government developed in Athens in the 5th century BC. e. And although in subsequent times Athens went through a difficult path of destructive wars, experienced the power of many conquerors, in their history there was this period of high citizenship and freedom - democracy.
Golden Age of Athens
Ancient Athens emerged as a fortified settlement on a hilltop, and then turned into a city-state as a result of Sinoikism, which meant the unification of the tribal communities of Attica around the Athenian Acropolis. This process took several centuries. According to ancient myths, the unification happened thanks to the legendary son of King Aegeus - Theseus, who also introduced the division of the population of Athens into social strata:
- eupatrides - tribal nobility;
- geomors - farmers;
- demiurges are artisans.
The highest flourishing Athenian statereached during the reign of Pericles - in the 5th century BC. e. This time is called the Golden Age of Athens. During this period, the main temple of Athena, the Parthenon, was built, a unique monument of ancient architecture. The temple was built by the ancient Greek masters Kallikrat and Iktin, and the beautiful sculptural compositions were made by the famous architect Phidias. The peculiarity of the temple is that from one point its facade is visible from three sides, due to the fact that the columns are placed at an angle to each other. Phidias also created the famous statue of Athena from marble and gold. This sculpture is a masterpiece of ancient architecture.
The political power of Athens ended with the start of destructive wars with Sparta, and then with Macedonia. Then Athens fell under the rule of the Romans, after which the Turks came. For many centuries, the glory of the city faded. Many monuments of history and architecture were destroyed. Only after a long struggle for independence in the 19th century did Athens again become the capital of Greece. Now it is a huge metropolis with a population of more than five million people, once again won the status of the cultural and political center of the country and has many historical monuments.
On the southern outskirts of Athens is Piraeus - the largest port in Greece, as well as a major industrial center of the country and an important transport hub. Back in the 5th century BC. e annual turnover of the port amounted to significant amounts. Thanks to the convenient geographical position of Athens, the presence of safe harbors, Piraeus became a transit point through whichvarious types of goods. The port had shipyards, workshops, warehouses. Athens with its port was considered the most profitable city, since merchants here could get Athenian silver for goods, which was valued everywhere.
Sights of Attica
Currently, Attica is the most popular tourist area with many historical and architectural sights, as well as wonderful nature and magnificent beaches. The main symbols of Attica are located in Athens. An invaluable historical monument is the architectural complex Acropolis, on which the main temple of ancient Athens, the Parthenon, is located, a place of pilgrimage for a huge number of people. Of the historical sites in the vicinity of Athens, the monastery of Daphni is very popular. On the high rock of Cape Sounion, the Temple of Poseidon was built, from which majestic ruins now remain. Fishermen, going to sea, brought donations here - the god Poseidon was the second most important for the Greeks, since their life was inextricably linked with the sea. In Eleusis, one of the most important sanctuaries of ancient Attica is located - the temple of the goddess Demeter, who gave grain to the Greeks. In honor of her, holidays were held every year in spring and autumn. On the island of Aegina is the ghost town of Palaiochora, deserted a hundred years ago.
The nature of Attica is also amazing and beautiful. On Mount Imittos there is a wonderful healing spring, bestowed, according to legend, by the god Hephaestus to people. The thermal lake has unique healing propertiesVuliagmeni, which is replenished from sources located at its depth, and an extraordinary doctor fish is able to rejuvenate the skin, cleansing it of dead cells. The endless coastline is lined with stunning beaches, recreation and water sports.
Attica is a wonderful place for a comfortable summer holiday - photos show amazing landscapes of nature, and rave reviews from travelers are evidence of the popularity of this region of Greece.