Byzantine Period

Byzantine Athens was very different from the one of the classical, Hellenistic or Roman periods. Having been repeatedly sacked and rampaged and occupied, it became a small village on the borders of the vast Byzantine Empire.

Byzantine Church in the Ancient Market (Agora)
When Athens was under the rule of the Byzantines, many of her monuments were converted into churches. The emperors of Constntinople took many works of art, while from about 600 AD the city shrank considerably, due to the barbarian raids by the Avars and Slavs. As the 7th century progressed, Athens entered a period of uncertainty and insecurity, as Greece was overrun by Slavics from the north. The 9th century found Athens on an attempt to recover and expand, although it was fully reconquered by the Byzantine Empire.

Invasion of the empire by the Turks after the battle of Manzikert in 1071, and the ensuing civil wars, largely passed the region by and Athens continued its provincial existence unharmed. When the Byzantine Empire was rescued by the resolute leadership of the three Komnenos emperors Alexios, John, Manuel, Attica and the rest of Greece prospered. The Ancient Market (Agora) that had been deserted since late antiquity, began to be built over. The progress of Athens attracted the Venetians and other traders, who increased the economic prosperity of the city by working on production and trading of products like soap and dyes.
Kapnikarea (at Ermou commercial street) is a typical Byzantine Church


During the 11th and 12th centuries, a large number of churces were built in Athens. Thanks to their building skills, Byzantine architects became masters of the domes and vaults of religious architecture, while the painters, often religious men could create breathtaking frescos, completely covering the available surface. Many of the small Byzantine churches of the times represent sublime evidence of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture, and can be found scattered throughout the historical centre.

This medieval prosperity came to an end though in 1204, when the 4th Crusade conquered Athens and the city was not recovered from the Latins before it was taken by the Ottoman Turks.



Useful Info

You've planned your trip to Athens city and you're excited about it. Here are some useful things you'd probably like to know:

  • Currency: Euro
  • Time: +2 GMT
  • The water in Athens is chlorinated and fluoridated, so it's safe to drink. 
  • Power supply is 220 Volts. Appliances of lower voltage would require an adaptor. Hotels in Athens provide adapters upon request.
  • International credit cards are accepted in most of the stores, hotels, businesses. Relative stickers are usually placed on the doors, so that you can see them easily.
  • Greece uses the metric system of weights and measures.
  • There is a 18-hole professional Golf court in Glyfada.

Athens is a safe city. You don't need to think of it as a dangerous modern town, but as it happens everywhere around the world, during your travel, you are advised to be careful and concentrated so that you enjoy the most of it! 
The streets of Athens capital city are full of policemen and private security staff. Don't hesitate to ask for their help in case you need it. They do speak english and will help you at anytime.

Electric Railway (ISAP)

The Athens Piraeus Electric Railways cover the distance from the central port of the country to Kifissia, in almost an hour.
Here are some useful information about the journey:

Stations:
Piraeus - Faliro - Moschato - Kallithea - Tavros - Petralona - Thissio - Monastiraki - Omonia - Victoria - Attiki - Aghios Nikolaos - Kato Patissia - Aghios Eleftherios - Ano Patissia - Perissos - Pefkakia - Nea Ionia - Iraklio - Irini - Neratziotissa - Maroussi - KAT - Kiffissia

Intercharge Stations:
Line 1 (electric railway - "green" line) and Line 2 (metro railway - "red" line) at Attiki and Omonia.
Line 1 (electric railway - "green" line) and Line 3 (metro railway - "blue" line) at Monastiraki.
Line 1 (electric railway - "green" line) and Tram at Faliro
Line 1 (electric railway - "green" line) and Proastiakos at Neratziotissa.

Tickets:
The ticket rate is 1,40 euro. It's valid for multiple trips on all public transport options in any direction (except for the airport) for up to 90 minutes. The reduced ticket costs 0,70 euro. Non validation brings a penalty of 60 times the price of the ticket. You can buy tickets at all stations from selling offices or automatic vending machines. There are also daily tickets that cost 4 euros and are valid for 24 hours unlimited travel for all public transport.
As far as Airport's ticket is concerned, you need to know that it costs 8 euros for one way transportation, 14 euros return ticket (valid for 48 hours), 14 for a team of two persons and 20 euros for a team of 3 persons.

People with special needs:
All stations are accessible.

Luggage:
There are luggage safe boxes in the Piraeus, Monastiraki and Omonia stations.

ISAP Museum:
The museum of the Athens Piraeus Electric Railways was inaugurated in November 2005. Started by an idea of Mr Manolis Fotopoulos, former employee of ISAP, is now housing more than 2000 objects and 3000 books, photos and documents from the beginning of the company till today. The museum is situated inside the Piraeus station.

Note: At the moment, the line is being renovated. In certain parts, you may have to use the bus which will take you to the next station in use, with the same ticket.

 
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