Athens is the capital and the largest city in Greece, with around 750,000 residents. Although
signs of prosperity do exist (the Constitution Square district where better hotels are located has a
string of fashionable shops and upscale tour operators), the once glorious cultural center is in dire
straits. The high humidity and exhaust fumes create a gritty atmosphere, the lack of maintenance
creates a city in desperate need of repair. Above some general stores and offices downtown,
upstair flats are in such poor condition they are unlivable and vacant.
Perhaps in the new millennium, restoration will take place and dilapidated buildings will be
upgraded and the air cleaned up. Besides lack of funds, however, everybody believes that cities
upon cities are buried beneath Athens and they hesitate beginning any kind of renovations. They
believe if artifacts were discovered, conservationists would halt the projects, and then where
would they be.
Because of its historical significance and as the site of real ancient ruins, Athens remains a major
destination with tour operators all over the world. As a port city, many cruise ships with tours
around the Greek Islands, begin and end their tours in Athens.
Language is modern Greek. English is spoken in most of the tourist facilities.
Currency of Greece is the drachma.