It was more then ten years ago when I was in Athens for the first time. Athens was the city of my childhood. No doubt, when you are interested in the classical age, it is a must to see this city. The first meeting was of course an enthusiastic one. After one week I started to see the lines between my imaginations and the reality. Due to the respect for the city’s place in history, I could not draw my conclusions after one week, I thought. I would come back, very soon. Now, after more then ten years I consider again a visit to Athens. Why did it take so long? I can’t give any reasonable explanation. Probably it has to do with Athens itself. Maybe it is the silence which has covered the city. Now, rethinking the last decade, I can’t give any point when my attention to Athens could have been revived. Why don’t we hear anything about Athens? Barcelona, Rome and upcoming Istanbul on the northern Mediterranean are regularly on the news. Not only for reasons of tourism, but because of all other developments a world city should be involved in. But about Athens we don’t get to know anything. The last time when it was in the media it was because of the Olympic games. After that it became silence again.
Does it have to do with the easiness the Greeks treat their past and their heritage? It is interesting that whatever the Greeks do, they still use the ancient symbols to get known. See the names of their restaurants abroad: Socrates, Plato, Olympus, Oedipus, Athens and so on. Without asking what these names have to do with eating, it is like they haven’t created anything except that. You might have trusted the history. But after the introduction of the internet this glorious past also does not resist to the dynamic of it. Like many other things the internet has dramatically diminished the cycle of knowledge. People are eager to forget what has happened a year ago, not to speak about the heroism of classical Athens. Why should we visit Athens or Greece anymore? When it is the heritage of classical time, I would say you could better make a visit to Anatolia. There you will be able to see more of Greek heritage then anywhere else. In most cases this is cheaper and includes the sun and the beach, which is as pretty as in Greece. Might this be the reason why Athens has fallen down? The upcoming Turkey and Istanbul which both offer everything of Greek past. The ‘enemy’ of Greece has more in it then Greece can afford and works also more to promote it. How ironic is that!Whatever the reason might be, it is clear that Athens should do more then only relying on its past. Otherwise this interesting city will be neglected for another decade, which is more terrible then to be forgotten.