Athens

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Athens (plural) ( /ˈæθɪnz/;[2] Modern Greek: Αθήνα, Athina, IPA: [aˈθina], Katharevousa: Ἀθῆναι, Athine, Ancient Greek: Ἀθῆναι, Athēnai (plural)), the capital and largest city of Greece, dominates the Attica periphery; as one of the world's oldest cities, its recorded history spans around 3,400 years.

The Greek capital has a population of 745,514 (in 2001) within its administrative limits[1] and a land area of 39 km2 (15 sq mi).[3] The urban area of Athens extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3,130,841 (in 2001)[1] and a land area of 412 km2 (159 sq mi).[3] According to Eurostat, the Athens Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) is the 7th most populous LUZ in the European Union (the 4th most populous capital city of the EU) with a population of 4,013,368 (in 2004).

A cosmopolitan metropolis, modern Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece and it is rated as an alpha- world city.[4] In 2008, Athens was ranked the world's 32nd richest city by purchasing power [5] and the 25th most expensive[6] in a UBS study.

Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum,[7][8] it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy,[9][10] largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent.[11]

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