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With a history of more than 3,000 years old and a rich culture, there are many characteristic sites and buildings in Athens. Some of them may date from ancient times, while others are more recent. Here are some Athens famous buildings and a few words about their history.
# The Acropolis
The Acropolis is definitely the most famous building in Athens. Constructed on top of a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens, this place of pilgrimage was dedicated to goddess Athena, the protector of the ancient city. Although excavations have shown that the Acropolis had been inhabited since prehistoric times, it eventually got its present form in Classical times, in the 5th century BC. On the rock of the Acropolis are many monuments, including the Parthenon Temple, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike.
# The Greek Parliament
After the Acropolis, the second most famous building in Athens is the Greek Parliament. Located on the northern side of Syntagma Square, the Greek Parliament distinguishes for its austere Neoclassical architecture. This three-floor building was originally constructed in 1842 to become the palace and official residence of the Greek royal family of that time. In November 1929, this building was eventually turned into the Greek Parliament. In front of the building is the Monument of the Unknown Soldier where the famous changing of guards takes place.
# The Neoclassical trilogy
These three Neoclassical buildings on Panepistimiou Avenue, in the center of the city, are surely included among Athens’ famous buildings. These three buildings actually house the University, the Library and the Academy of Athens. They were constructed in the middle of the 19th century by two great Bavarian architects, Theophil Hansen, and his student Ernst Ziller. The Neoclassical style was largely used at that time in Greek architecture in an effort to connect the classical past of Greece with its modern present.
# The Temple of Zeus
This half-ruined ancient Greek temple was dedicated to Olympian Zeus, the chief of all gods on Mount Olympus. Found about 10 min walk from Syntagma Square and close to the Acropolis, the construction of this temple of Zeus started in the 6th century BC but was not completed until 125 BC when the Roman emperor Hadrian included this temple in his program for the reconstruction of the entire Athens. The temple survived intact for about two centuries before it gets damaged by wars and earthquakes.
# Temple of Poseidon at Sounion
Although this temple is located about 60 km from the city center, it is included among Athens famous buildings due to its interesting history and the large popularity. It is actually found at the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula, at Cape Sounion, offering a fantastic view to the Aegean Sea. The myth says that this is the spot from where King Aegeus fell into the sea when he thought that his son Theseus was killed by the Minotaur in Crete. The present temple of Poseidon, of which only a few columns survive, was constructed around 440 BC over the ruins of an older temple.