1. The first history of Athens was recorded around 3,400 years ago making it Europe's oldest capital and one of the oldest cities of the world.
2. The city center of Athens is only 15 sq miles or 39 sq kilometers.
3. Athens is statistically one of the lowest ranking capital cities when it comes to violent crime.
4. Fun Fact: Every full moon in August, the Acropolis stays open until 2am with live music and theatrical performances; it is free to all.
5. Before hosting the 2004 Olympic Games, all of the street signs of Athens had to be changed to include a Latin spelling under the Greek.
6. Athens was part of the Ottoman Empire (1458-1832) while the rest of Western Europe was experiencing the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution.
7. Weird Fact: The first modern king of Greece was a Bavarian prince and only 17 years old.
8. Athens is the second capital city of Greece. King Otto (see fact 7) changed it from the Port of Nafplio in 1834 for sentimental reasons related to the city's glorious past.
9. The oldest hotel in Athens, The Grand Bretagne, was first the royal guesthouse. During German occupation (1941-1944) it was used as Nazi HQ. Hitler and Rommel were there on the eve of the Soviet Invasion.
10. The sporting event known as the "Marathon" was created for the first Modern Olympic games set in Athens in 1896. It was a recreation of the route used by the legendary runner, Pheidippides, in 490 BC to announce the Athenian victory against the Persians at the battle of Marathon 25 miles away.
11. The Athens metro currently has twenty-eight stations, all of which exhibit artwork by contemporary Greek artists. Six display archaeological treasures uncovered during the metro's construction.
12. Actress, activist, and Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, is credited with the establishment of the institution, the "European Capital of Culture." Athens became the first in 1985.