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Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world, have been occupied for at least 3,000 years, and is sometimes known as the "cradle of western civilization" or the "birthplace of democracy". The most visible, and famous, sign of this classical heritage is the Parthenon (a temple to the ancient goddess Athena) which stands on the Acropolis (a flat-topped rock which rises 512 feet (150 meters) above sea level). There are of course many other historic sites and monuments, including buildings from Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods, as well more modern landmarks constructed since Greece achieved independence in 1830.
In more recent years, Athens successfully hosted the 2004 Summer Olympic Games (the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad), having previously hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
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