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Attica ( , Attikí; ) is a periphery (subdivision) in Greecemarker, containing Athensmarker, the capital of Greece. Attica is subdivided into the prefectures of Athens, Piraeus, East Attica and West Attica.

Overview

Located in the south of the country, Attica covers about 3,808 square kilometers. In addition to Athens, it contains within its area the cities of Peiraeusmarker, Eleusismarker, Megaramarker, Lauriummarker, and Marathonmarker, as well as a small part of the Peloponnesemarker peninsula and the islands of Salamismarker, Aeginamarker, Porosmarker, Hydramarker, Spetsesmarker, Kythiramarker, and Antikytheramarker. About 3,750,000 people live in the periphery, of which more than 95% are inhabitants of the Athens metropolitan area.

Athens was originally the capital of Central Greece.

Geography

Map of ancient Attica


Attica is a peninsula jutting into the Aegean Seamarker. It is naturally divided to the north from Boeotia by the long Kithaironmarker mountain range. Mountains separate the peninsula into the plains of Pedia, Mesogeia, and Thriasia. The mountains include Hymettusmarker, the eastern portion of Geraneiamarker, Parnithamarker, Aigaleomarker and the Pentelimarker mountains. To the north it is bordered by the Boeotian plain and to the west it is bordered by Corinthmarker. The Saronic Gulfmarker lies to the south and the island of Euboeamarker lies off the north coast. Athens' first and only large reservoir, Lake Marathonmarker, is about northeast and is called the Marathon Dam, which first opened in the 1920s. Since that time, it has been Attica's largest lake. Forests cover the area around Parnitha, around Hymettus and into the northeast and the north in the hills and the mountains, except for the mountaintops, but the mountains to the west and the south are grassy, barren or forested.

The Cephisus River is the longest river, and Parnetha or Parnitha is the tallest mountain in Attica. The prefecture also has parklands in the Hymettus, Penteli and the Parnitha mountains and the southern part of the peninsula.

According to Plato, Attica's ancient boundaries were fixed by the Isthmusmarker, and in the direction of the continent they extended as far as the heights of Cithaeronmarker and Parnesmarker. The boundary line came down in the direction of the sea, having the district of Oropusmarker on the right, and with the river Asopus as the limit on the left.

History

Antiquity

The ancient Athenians used to boast of being "autochthones", i.e. that they did not move to Attica from another place. The truth is that Attica was inhabited from the Neolithic period by the Ionians, one of the first Indo-European tribes. The Ionians were divided into four tribes and lived in autonomous agricultural societies. The main places where prehistoric remains were found are Marathon, Rafinamarker, Nea Makrimarker, Brauronmarker, Thorikos, Agios Kosmas, Eleusismarker, Menidi, Markopoulo, Spatamarker, Aphidnaemarker and Athensmarker. All of these settlements flourished mainly during the Mycenaean period. According to tradition, Attica was composed of twelve small communities during the reign of king Cecrops, and these were later incorporated into a single Athenian state during the reign of the mythical king of Athens, Theseus. The truth is that, in all likelihood, the communities were progressively incorporated into a single Athenian state probably during the 8th and 7th century BC.Athens soon became the capital in spite of the independence of the communities. Until the 6th century BC, aristocratic families lived an independent life in the suburbs. Only after Peisistratus' tyranny and the reforms implemented by Cleisthenes did the local communities lose their independence and succumb to the central government in Athensmarker. As a result of these reforms, Attica was divided into approximately a hundred municipalities "dēmoi" (δήμοι) and into three big large sectors: the city (άστυ), which comprised the areas of central Athens, Ymittosmarker, Aegaleomarker and the foot of Mount Parnesmarker, the coast (παράλια), that included the areas from Eleusismarker to Cape Sounionmarker and the area around the city (εσωτερικό-μεσογαία), inhabited by people living on the north of Mount Parnithamarker, Pentelicum and the area surrounding the mountain of Ymittosmarker. The "dēmoi" were in their turn divided into "trittyes" (τριττύες). A “trittya” from each of the above mentioned sectors constituted a tribe. Consequently, Attica consisted of ten tribes.

Fortresses

During the Classical period, Athens was fortified to the north by the fortress of Eleutheraemarker, which is preserved in an almost perfect condition. Other fortresses are those of Oenoemarker, Decelea and Aphidnaemarker. On the coast, Athens was fortified by the walls at Rhamnusmarker, Thoricus, Sounionmarker, Anavyssosmarker, Piraeusmarker and Eleusismarker, in order to protect the mines at Lauriummarker.

Places of worship

Even though archaeological remains are found in nearly the whole area of Attica, the most important of them all are the remains found in Eleusismarker. The worship of the goddess Demeter and Cora, deriving from the Mycenaean period, continued until the late years of antiquity.Many other types of worship can be traced back to the Prehistoric years. For example, the worship of Pan and the Nymphs was common in many areas of Attica such as Marathon, Parnesmarker and Ymittosmarker.The god of wine, Dionysus, was worshipped mainly in the area of Icariamarker, nowadays the suburb of Dionysus. Iphigeneia and Artemis were worshipped in Brauronmarker, Artemis in Rafinamarker, Athena on Sounionmarker, Aphrodite on Iera Odos and Apollo in Daphnemarker.

Byzantine period

After the period of antiquity, Attica came under Roman, Byzantine, Venetianmarker and Ottoman rule.During the Byzantine period, Athens was invaded by the Goths under the commands of Alaric in 396 AD. Attica's population diminished in comparison to the neighboring area of Boeotia.The sites of historical interest date back to the 11th and 12th century, when Attica was under the rule of the Franks.The great monastery of Dafni that was built under Justinian's rule is an isolated case that does not signify a widespread development of Attica during the Byzantine period. On the other hand, the buildings built during the 11th and 12th century show a greater flourishment, that continues during the rule of the Franks, that did not impose a strict rule.During the Ottoman rule, Athens enjoys some rights. On the contrary, that is not the case for the villages of Attica. Great areas were possessed by the Turks, who terrorized the population with the help of spachides (σπαχήδες, cavalry). The monasteries of Attica play a crucial role in preserving the Greek element of the villages.In spite of its conquerors, Attica managed to maintain its traditions. This fact is proven by the preservation of the ancient toponyms such as Oroposmarker, Dionysus, Eleusismarker and Marathon.During the Greek War of Independence, the peasants of Attica were the first to revolt (April 1821) and they occupied Athensmarker and seized the Acropolis, that is handed over to the Greeks in June, 1822.

Attica after 1829

Attica has, since 1829, belonged to the independent Greek state. Its inhabitants were, among others, mostly Arvanites, an Albanian-speaking people.

From 1834, Athensmarker was refounded and made the new Greek capital (moved from Naupliamarker in Argolismarker), and Greek-speaking people gradually began to repopulate Attica. The most dramatic surge came with Greek refugees from Anatoliamarker following the population exchanges between Greece and Turkeymarker under the Treaty of Lausanne. Today, much of Attica is occupied by the Athens metropolitan area.

The modern Greek periphery of Attica includes classic Attica as well as the Saronic Islands, a small part of the Peloponnesemarker around Troezenmarker, and the Ionian Islandmarker of Cythera.

Climate



The climate is typically Mediterranean, with hot dry summers and generally low rainfall totals. Annual precipitation varies from 370 mm to over 1000 mm. Winters are cool and generally mild in the low-lying areas adjacent to the sea, but are harsher in the mountains. It is often the case that snowfalls cause disruption in areas of Attica, although these disruptions are rarely widespread for the whole of the region of Athens, with the latest cases being in January 2002, February 2004 and January 2006. The absolute minimum temperature of the region is -10.4°C and was recorded at Votanikos, Athens, while the highest temperature was recorded at Tatoi (airport) and was +48.7°C. Forest fires and flash floods are common.

Major communities





Transportation

Roads and Highways

The area is connected by roads and highways:

Ferry lines

Numerous ferry lines, both normal ferries and the "flying dolphins" (fast sea vessels), connect the port of Piraeus with the islands of the periphery.

Other



Sports

Football clubs

Premier and second divisions A & B' Ethniki (2006-07)



Third division



Junior division/unassorted



All sports



Mini Football



Hospitals



Municipalities and communities



Provinces



The former provinces in italics no longer exist.

See also



References

External links




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