Athens ( ATH-inz; Greek: Αθήνα, romanized: Athína [aˈθina] (listen); Ancient Greek: Ἀθῆναι, romanized: Athênai (pl.) [atʰɛ̂ːnai̯]) is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica area and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its history spanning over 3,400 decades and its earliest human presence started somewhere between the 11th and 7th century BC.Classical Athens was a strong city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to its cultural and political effect on the European continent, and particularly the Romans. These days, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, marine, cultural and political life in Greece. Athens is a Beta worldwide city based on the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and is one of the biggest economic centers in southeastern Europe. It has a large financial industry, and its port Piraeus is both the largest passenger port in Europe, and the second largest in the world.The Municipality of Athens (also City of Athens), which really constitutes a tiny administrative unit of the entire city, had a population of 664,046 (in 2011) within its official limits, and a land area of 38.96 km2 (15.04 sq mi). The Athens Urban Area (Greater Athens and Greater Piraeus) extends beyond its administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,090,508 (in 2011) within an area of 412 km2 (159 sq mi). According to Eurostat in 2011, the functional urban area (FUA) of Athens was the 9th most populous FUA in the European Union (the 6th most populous capital city of the EU), with a population of 3.8 million people. Athens is also the southernmost capital on the European mainland and the warmest major city in Europe. The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of ancient Western civilization. The town also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, in addition to a smaller number of Ottoman monuments, while its historical urban center features elements of continuity through its millennia of history. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery. Landmarks of the modern age, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament and the so-called"architectural trilogy of Athens", comprising the National Library of Greece, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Academy of Athens. Athens is also home to several museums and cultural institutions, like the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, the Acropolis Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 decades after it hosted the 2004 Summer Olympics, which makes it one of the few cities to have hosted the Olympics more than once.Source: Wikipedia
Belgrade ( BEL-grayd; Serbian: Београд, romanized: Beograd, lit. 'White City', pronounced [beǒɡrad] (listen); names in other languages) is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It's located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers as well as the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkan Peninsula. Nearly 1.7 million people live within the administrative limits of the Town of Belgrade, a quarter of the total population of Serbia.Belgrade is among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe and the World. One of the most important prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinča culture, evolved within the Belgrade area in the 6th millennium BC. In antiquity, Thraco-Dacians inhabited the region and, after 279 BC, Celts settled the town, naming it Singidūn. It was conquered by the Romans under the reign of Augustus and given Roman town rights in the mid-2nd century. It had been settled by the Slavs in the 520s, and changed hands several times between the Byzantine Empire, the Frankish Empire, the Bulgarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Hungary before it became the seat of the Serbian king Stefan Dragutin in 1284. Belgrade served as capital of the Serbian Despotate during the reign of Stefan Lazarević, and then his successor Đurađ Branković returned into the Hungarian king in 1427. Noon bells in support of the Hungarian army against the Ottoman Empire during the siege in 1456 have remained a widespread church heritage to this day. In 1521, Belgrade was conquered by the Ottomans and became the chair of the Sanjak of Smederevo. It often passed from Ottoman to Habsburg rule, which saw the destruction of most of the city during the Austro-Ottoman wars. In the period after the Serbian Revolution, Belgrade was named the capital of Serbia in 1841. Northern Belgrade stayed the southernmost Habsburg post until 1918, when it was attached to the city, because of former Austro-Hungarian lands becoming the role of the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes after World War I. Belgrade was the capital of Yugoslavia from its creation in 1918 to its dissolution in 2006. In a fatally strategic position, the city was battled over in 115 wars and razed 44 times, being bombed five times and surrounded many times.Being Serbia's primate city, Belgrade has special administrative status within Serbia. It's the seat of the central authorities, administrative bodies, and government ministries, as well as home of almost all the largest Serbian companies, media, and scientific associations. Belgrade is categorized as a Beta-Global City. The town is home to the Clinical Centre of Serbia, one of the hospital complexes with the biggest capacity in the world, the Church of Saint Sava, one of the biggest Orthodox church buildings, and the Štark Arena, one of those indoor arenas with the biggest capacity in Europe. Belgrade hosted major international events like the Danube River Conference of 1948, the first Non-Aligned Movement Summit (1961), the first major gathering of the OSCE (1977--1978), Eurovision Song Contest (2008), as well as sports events like the first FINA World Aquatics Championships (1973), UEFA Euro (1976), Summer Universiade (2009) and EuroBasket three-times (1961, 1975, 2005).Source: Wikipedia
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