Athens has quite a reputation to live up to. Named for Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, the city is credited with being the cradle of European civilization and birthplace of democracy. Ruins and relics of its glory days are scattered throughout the modern city, popping up where you least expect them. Its crowning glory is the Acropolis, perched atop a hillside, and covered in carved and columned temples of varying degrees of antiquity. Not quite so old is the Plaka, an appealing neighborhood for a stroll down cobblestone streets, past old mansions and a plethora of outdoor tavernas ideal for watching the world go by, while munching tasty Greek snacks.
This state-of-the-art port is a striking contrast to the wonders of antiquity you will find in Cairo. The city unfolds in layers, beginning with the Great Pyramids of Giza, resting mysterious and silent on the sands of time, and the wealth of antiquities in the Egyptian Museum, where many stories are told. The medieval Islamic city is full of monuments: mosques, elegant old houses, and the Citadel of Saladin, famous 12th century caliph and warrior. Here too is Khan al-Khalili, the giant bazaar enjoyed by today’s shoppers as it was by the 14th century traveling traders who first haggled here. Woven throughout are the modern city, and the lives of its 17 million inhabitants.
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