Opodo is like Orbitz an Internet travel agency. It is a pan-European enterprise, owned by a consortium of European airlines, including British Airways, Air France, Alitalia, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, Austrian Airlines and Finnair. The travel technology provider Amadeus is a majority shareholder. Opodo offers a full worldwide range of travel products including flights (from more than 500 scheduled and low cost airlines), package holidays, dynamic packaging, city-breaks, hotels, car rental, event tickets, excursions, ski holidays, cottages, holiday rentals, and cruises.
Opodo operates out of nine European countries. For United Kingdom customers see http://www.opodo.co.uk, for German customers see http://www.opodo.de, for French customers see http://www.opodo.fr, for Italian customers see http://www.opodo.it Spanish customers should visit: http://www.opodo.es. Opodo also runs other successful online travel businesses such as Travellink in the Nordic region (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finaland) - see http://www.travellink.no, http://www.travellink.se, http://www.travellink.dk, http://www.travellink.fi, and in France Karavel at http://www.karavel.fr and http://www.promovacances.fr and http://www.vivacances.fr as well as a tour operator offering tailor-made deals to Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, South Africa, America, and the Far East from the UK at http://www.questtravel.co.uk
The name "opodo" is an ambigram, with rotational symmetry.
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The name "opodo" is an ambigram, with rotational symmetry. Eventually, however, a total of more than 3.2 million tickets were sold , which was higher than any other Olympics with the exception of Sydney (more than 5 million tickets were sold there in 2000). Opodo also runs other successful online travel businesses such as Travellink in the Nordic region (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finaland) - see http://www.travellink.no, http://www.travellink.se, http://www.travellink.dk, http://www.travellink.fi, and in France Karavel at http://www.karavel.fr and http://www.promovacances.fr and http://www.vivacances.fr as well as a tour operator offering tailor-made deals to Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, South Africa, America, and the Far East from the UK at http://www.questtravel.co.uk. Essentially, the only notable problem was a somewhat sparse attendance of some preliminary events, during the first days of competition. For United Kingdom customers see http://www.opodo.co.uk, for German customers see http://www.opodo.de, for French customers see http://www.opodo.fr, for Italian customers see http://www.opodo.it Spanish customers should visit: http://www.opodo.es. The 2004 Games were adjudged a huge success, as both security and organization were exceptionally good and only a few visitors reported minor problems, mainly concerning transportation or accommodation issues. Opodo operates out of nine European countries. Some of the most modern sporting venues in the world were created, almost all of which were fully ready on schedule.
Opodo offers a full worldwide range of travel products including flights (from more than 500 scheduled and low cost airlines), package holidays, dynamic packaging, city-breaks, hotels, car rental, event tickets, excursions, ski holidays, cottages, holiday rentals, and cruises. Although the heavy cost was criticized, as is not unusual with Olympic preparations, Athens was transformed into a city that uses state-of-the-art technology in transportation and urban development. The travel technology provider Amadeus is a majority shareholder. A new Organizing Committee was formed under President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and preparations began at an accelerated pace. It is a pan-European enterprise, owned by a consortium of European airlines, including British Airways, Air France, Alitalia, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, Austrian Airlines and Finnair. After that, the International Olympic Committee expressed its concern over the status of the progress of construction work of the new Olympic venues. Opodo is like Orbitz an Internet travel agency. Before this, Buenos Aires, Stockholm, and Cape Town, had already been eliminated from consideration after receiving few votes.
In the last round of voting, Athens defeated Rome, 66 votes to 41. In 1997, Athens made a bid based largely on an appeal to Olympic history. It was to be the second time Athens had hosted the Olympic Games, the first being in 1896. Athens was awarded the 2004 Summer Olympics on September 5, 1997 in Lausanne, Switzerland, after surprisingly having lost the bid to organize the 1996 Summer Olympics, the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic Games.
For someone unfamiliar with Athens, getting to know about these neighborhoods can often come very handy for exploring and understanding the city.
Mrs. Each of the municipalities of Athens has an elected district council and a directly elected mayor. Athens can therefore refer either to the entire metropolitan area or to the Municipality of Athens. The city is now divided into 54 municipalities, the largest of which is the Municipality of Athens or Dimos Athinaion, with about 750,000 people (the next largest are Municipality of Piraeus, Municipality of Peristeri and Municipality of Kallithea).
The modern city of Athens consists of what were formerly distinct towns and villages which gradually expanded to form a single large city; this expansion occurred in the 20th century. See Athens Mass Transit System for more on this topic. There are about 21 exits and 4 junctions, up from 8. Its total length is now about 70 km in 2004 up from 18 km in March 2001 when it first opened.
There are two motorways that go to the west towards Patra: (GR-8A, E94) and to the north towards Thessaloniki (GR-1, E75), and a ring motorway (Attiki Odos) which goes from Elefsina on the west to the airport after circling the city from the north, and another from Kaisariani to Glyke Nera where it meets the main road for Eleusis and the airport. Athens is also the hub of the Greek National Railway System, and ferries from Piraeus Port travel to all Greek islands. There is also an express line connecting the airport to the metro system and 2 express lines connecting the airport to Pireus port and the city centre. Athens is served by the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport at Spata, east of the city, about a 45-minute taxi ride from the city centre.
They are quite cheap and during rush hours it is considered normal to halt a taxi even when it is in service (although, strictly speaking, this is forbidden); in that case, if the one halting it happens to go to the same direction as the customer and the customer does not mind (although this is never brought up or an issue), he is also allowed in, and each one pays normally as if they were the only customer. There are many taxis in Athens, which can be recognised by the yellow color of the vehicles. Further extensions are considered. Both Syntagma - Palaio Faliro - Neo Faliro and the Glyfada branch opened on 19 July 2004.
The tram runs from Syntagma Square to Palaio Faliro and there the line splits in two branches, going to Glyfada and Neo Faliro. There are plenty of bus lines serving Athens and the suburbs, and they link the centre of the city with most of the suburbs and neighborhoods. The bus service consists of a network of lines on which normal buses, electric buses, and natural gas buses run (the largest fleet of natural gas run buses in Europe). It's expected that for the 2008 it will reach 110 km, after the extensions of the first phase of expansion get concluded.
Considering this issue shows how the mass transport system in Athens has improved in the last years, since until 1999 the length of the system was of just 25 km and comprised by one line. The whole Metro system of Athens has currently 91 km. It is managed by three different companies (ISAP line 1), Attiko Metro (lines 2 & 3), Proastiakos (line 4). The fourth line is the Proastiakos (suburban) which runs from the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport to Athens Central train station.
Extensions to both lines are under construction, most notably to Marousi and Old Hellinikon Airport East Terminal (future Metropolitan Park). The blue line goes from Monastiraki to Doukissis Plakentias and the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, and the red line from Aghios Antonios to Aghios Dimitrios. They run entirely underground. The other two lines were constructed mainly during the 1990s and the first sections were put to service in 2000.
The green line, which is the oldest and for the most part runs on the ground, connects Piraeus to Kifissia. It has four lines, three of which are distinguished by the colours used in maps and signs (green, blue and red). The Athens Metro is one of the most modern systems in the world. The public transport system in Athens consists of bus, metro, tram and suburban railway  services.
The Athens municipality maintains a site of tourist interest: http://www.cityofathens.gr/. Work is underway to transform the grounds of the old Athens Airport - named Hellinikon - in the southern suburbs into a massive landscaped park (considered to be the largest in Europe when ready). The nearby islands of Salamina, Aigina, Poros, Hydra and Spetses are also sites of spectacular natural beauty and historical architecture. George's church which is definitely a must-see.
On top of it, stands the picturesque St. Located in the city center, near Alexandras' and Vassilisis Sofia's Avenues, it offers magnificent, literally breathtaking views of sprawling Athens that lies underneath. What is more, Lykavittos is the tallest hill of the city that, according to an ancient legend, was actually a boulder thrown down by Goddess Athena. Hiking and mountain biking in all four mountains have been and still remain popular outdoor activities for many Athenians.
It has tens of well-marked paths, gorges, springs, torrents and caves and you may even meet deers or bears while exploring its dense forests. Mount Parnitha, in particular, is the tallest of all (1,453 m) and it has been declared a protected National Park. The city is also surrounded by four easily accessible mountains (Parnitha and Penteli to the north, Hemmettus to the southeast and Egaleo to the west). These beaches are extremely popular in the summer by both Athenians and foreign tourists.
None the less, this fee is not expensive in most cases and it includes a number of related, convenient services like parking facilities, coctail drinks and umbrellas. This means that one has to pay a fee in order to get in. Many of Athens' southern suburbs (such as Alimos, Palaio Faliro, Elliniko, Voula, Vouliagmeni and Vari) host a number of beautiful, sandy beaches, most of which are organized by the Hellenic Tourism Organization. A second olympic area, next to the sea at the beach of Kallithea (Faliron), also boasts futuristic stadiums, shops and an elevated esplanade.
The whole area has been remodelled by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava with monuments, gardens, futuristic passages and a characteristic new blue glass roof which was added to the main Stadium. An entirely new attraction is the massively upgraded Olympic Stadium Complex (known by its Greek initials OAKA). Casinos operate on both Mount Parnitha, some 30 km from downtown Athens (accessible by car or cable car) and the nearby town of Loutraki (accessible by car via the Athens - Corinth National Highway or the suburban railway). Some central areas (mostly just south of Omonoia Square) are mainly peopled by immigrants and are therefore full of colorful ethnic restaurants and shops.
Huge malls such as the "Attica" mall in Panepistimiou Avenue and "The Mall Athens"  located in the classy northern suburb of Maroussi also offer an enormous variety of international selections that can totally satisfy even the most demanding customer. Full of fashion shops and shopping centers featuring most international brands, it has become one of the most expensive roads in Europe. Ermou Street, an approximately 1 km pedestrian road connecting Syntagma Square to Monastiraki, has traditionally been considered a consumer paradise for both the Athenians and foreign tourists. The chic Kolonaki area, near Syntagma Square, is full of boutiques catering to well-heeled customers by day and bars and restaurants by night.
The Gazi area, one of the latest in full redevelopment, is located around a historic gas factory in downtown Athens, that has been converted into the Technopolis (Athens's new cultural multiplex) and has a number of small clubs, bars and restaurants as well as Athens' nascent gay village. Theseum, or Thission is home to the remarkable ancient Temple of Hephaestus, standing on top of a small hill. Yet another district notably famous for its student-crammed, stylish cafes is Theseum, lying just west of Monastiraki. Monastiraki, on the other hand, is famous for its loads of small tourist shops as well as its crowded flea market and the legendary tavernas that specialize in what many consider to be the best souvlaki in town.
Plaka, lying just beneath the Acropolis, is famous for its numerous neoclassic buildings, making it one of the most scenic districts in central Athens. Plaka remains the traditional top tourist destination, with many tavernas featuring 'traditional' music, but the food, though very good, is often more expensive compared to other parts of the city. Rebetiko is still admired by many, therefore virtually every night rebetadika get crammed by people of all ages that will sing, dance and drink wine until the dawn of the following morning. It also features a number of live music restaurants called "rebetadika", after rebetiko, a unique kind of music that blossomed in Athens from the 1920's till the 1950's.
Turning now to the city centre, the Psiri neighborhood - aka Athens' 'meat packing district'- has acquired many new mainstream bars, thus becoming a hotspot for many youngsters. Especially during the summer time, the southern elegant suburbs of Glyfada, Voula and Vouliagmeni become home to countless such places, situated all along Poseidonos and Alkyonidon Avenues. In addition, Athens is packed with trendy and fashionable bars and nightclubs that are literally crowded by the city's youth on a daily basis. It is justifiably named as the "Attican Riviera" by many.
The Athens coastline, extending from the major commercial port of Piraeus to the southernmost suburb of Vouliagmeni for more than 25 km, is also connected to the city centre with a gleaming tram and it boasts a series of high class restaurants, cafes, exciting music venues and sports facilities. To begin with, it has a great number of multiplex as well as romantic open air garden cinemas, more theatres than any other European city (including ancient marble ones that are home to the Athens Festival from June to July) and many music venues including a state of the art music hall known as the "Megaron Moussikis"  that attracts world-famous artists all year round. As far as entertainment and night life are concerned, Athens offers an endless amount of possibilities, reflecting all tastes and all cultures. More than 20 students were killed inside the School in November 17, 1973 during the Athens Polytechnic Uprising against the military junta that ruled the nation from April 21, 1967 till July 23, 1974.
The second most significant academic institution of the city is the Athens Polytechnic School (Ethniko Metsovio Politechnio), located in Patission Street. However, most of the university's functions have been moved to a much larger, modern campus located in the eastern suburb of Zográfou. This combined with the adjacent National Library and the Athens Academy form the imposing "Athens Trilogy", built in the late 19th century. The old campus of the University of Athens, located in the middle section of Panepistimiou Avenue, is one of the finest buildings in the city.
Not to be missed is also the very impressive Athens Planetarium , considered to be among the world's best. A new Acropolis Museum is being built  in the central Makriyanni district according to a design by acclaimed architect Bernard Tschumi . The city's classic museums like the National Archaeological Museum in Patission Street (which holds the world's greatest collection of Greek art), the Benaki Museum in the northern suburb of Kifissia (including its new Islamic Art branch) , the Byzantine Museum, or the Museum of Cycladic Art in the Kolonaki district (strongly recommended for its collection of elegant white metamodern figures, more than 3,000 years old) , were all renovated ahead of the 2004 Olympics. It holds a special interest, not only for romantic reasons but also because it is the only major stadium (60,000 spectators) made entirely of white marble from Penteli, the same as the one used for the construction of the Parthenon.
It is a replica of the ancient Athens Stadium. Near Syntagma Square (described above) stands the highly impressive Kallimarmaro Stadium, the place where the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896. This remarkable route provides the visitors breathtaking views of the Parthenon and the Agora (the meeting point of ancient Athenians), away from the bustle and hustle of the city centre. The route starts from the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Vasilissis Olgas Avenue, continues under the southern slopes of the Acropolis near Plaka and finishes just outside the Temple of Hephaestus in Theseum.
Notably, the famous Dionysiou Aeropagitou street has been pedestrianized thus forming a fascinating scenic route. Entire parts of the downtown area have also been remodelled. Athens is home to a vast number of 5 and 4 star hotels, some of which were refurbished ahead of the 2004 Olympics. Currently, Athens is the 6th most visited capital in Europe.
As a result, the numbers of international visitors are only expected to rise even further in the coming years. The Greek state, aided by the E.U., has poured money into infrastructure projects such as the new, state of the art "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport, the massive expansion of the Metro system, and the new Attiki Odos ring-road. Over the past decade, the infrastructure and social amenities of Athens have been radically improved as a result of the city's successful bid to stage the 2004 Olympic Games. Visitors from all over the globe have always been eager to visit its famous ancient monuments.
Athens has been a popular tourist destination even since antiquity. Athens was also the host of the 1896 Summer Olympics and of the 1906 Intercalated Games. Athens was the host of the 2004 Summer Olympics. This is essentially the core of the city, the place where most of the famous ancient monuments are located, all within a radius of 2 km.
The centre of the city is Syntagma Square (Constitution Square), site of the former Royal Palace, now the Greek Parliament and other 19th century public buildings. In ancient times the port of Piraeus (modern name Pireas) was a separate city, but it has now been absorbed into greater Athens. The ancient site of the city is centered on the rocky hill of the Acropolis. (Los Angeles has similar geomorphology and similar problems).
The geomorphology of the city frequently causes the so called temperature inversion phenomenon that was partly responsible for the air pollution problems Athens faced in the recent past. Athens has expanded to cover the entire plain making it difficult to significantly grow further in size in the future due to the forementioned existing natural boundaries. Athens sprawls across the central plain of Attica, which is bound by Mount Aegaleo in the west, Mount Parnitha in the north, Mount Penteli in the northeast, Mount Hymettus in the east, and the Saronic Gulf in the southwest. Today Athens is a vibrant, sparkling metropolis with an up to date infrastracture, awe-inspiring ancient monuments and museums that go hand in hand with skyscrapers and futuristic buildings, a legendary nightlife and world class shopping malls.
Part of this improvement is attributed to the transformation of the once highly problematic Kiffissos Avenue into a modern, 8 lane Expressway that stretches for more than 11 km along the Kifissos River, linking many of Athens' western suburbs, from Peristeri to the port of Piraeus. As far as the situation with the traffic congestion is concerned, the latter has been considerably improved, even though it is not completely resolved as yet. Those measures proved to be succesful and nowadays smog or nefos in Greek is no longer an issue for Athens, even when temperatures soar above 40 C. Throughout the 1990s the city's authorities undertook a series of decisive measures in order to combat the smog which used to form over the city, particularly during the hottest days of the year.
Greek entry into the European Union in 1981 brought new, unprecedented investments into the city along with problems of increasingly worsening industrial congestion and air pollution. 1980 and suffered from overcrowding and traffic congestion. Athens grew rapidly in the years following World War II until ca. Along with its numerous suburbs, Athens has a population of about 3.5 million representing approximately 35% of the total population of Greece.
After the war the city started to grow again. During World War II the city was occupied by Germany and fared badly in the war's later years. In 1896 Athens was the host city of the 1896 Summer Olympics.The next large expansion occurred in the 1920s when suburbs were created to house Greek refugees from Asia Minor. During the next few decades the city was rebuilt into a modern city adhering mainly to the Neoclassic style.
The city was inhabited by just 5,000 people at the time it was made the capital of the newly established kingdom of Greece in 1833. The Ottoman Empire relinquished control of Athens after the Greek War of Independence. As time went by, the Turks slackened their care for Athens' old buildings; the great Parthenon itself was used as a warehouse for ammunition during the Venetian siege of Athens in 1687, and consequently the temple was severely damaged when a Venetian shell targeted the site and set off several casks of gunpowder stored in the main hall. Despite the Sultan's good intentions to preserve Athens as a model Ottoman provincial capital, the city's population went into decline and conditions worsened as the Ottoman Empire declined as well starting in the late 18th Century.
The Parthenon was in fact converted into a splendid mosque. As the Emperor entered the city, he was greatly struck by the beauty of its ancient monuments and issued a firman (imperial decree) that Athens' ruins not be disturbed, on pain of death. In 1458 the city fell to the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Mehmet II the Conqueror. It faced a crushing blow between the 13th and 15th centuries, when the city was fought over by the Greek Byzantines and the French and Italian Crusaders.
During the Byzantine era, Athens gradually lost a great deal of status and, by the time of the Crusades, it was already reduced to a provincial town. The schools of philosophy were closed in AD 529 by the Christian Byzantine Empire, which disapproved of the schools' pagan thinking. Athens had an estimated peak population of 310,000 in the year 430 BC. After its days of greatness, Athens continued to be a prosperous city and a center of learning until the late Roman period.
During the "Golden Age" of Greece (roughly 500 BC to 300 BC) it was the Western world's leading cultural, commercial and intellectual center, and indeed it is in the ideas and practices of ancient Athens that what we now call "Western civilization" has its origins. Athens was the leading city in Greece during the greatest period of Greek civilization during the 1st millennium BC. Main article: History of Athens. See also a list of alternative names for Athens.
Since the official abandonment of Katharevousa Greek in the 1970s, however, the popular form Athínai has become the city's official name. In the 19th century, this name was formally re-adopted as the city's name. The city's name was used in the plural like those of Tῆßa?-Thebai (Thebes) and ???ῆ?a?-Mykenai (Mycenae) because it consisted of several parts. In ancient Greek, the name of Athens was Ἀ?ῆ?a?-Athenai, plural of Ἀ????-Athene, the Greek name of the Goddess Athena.
. Many of these cultural attractions were renovated for the 2004 Olympic Games. Athens has often been called the cradle of Western civilization due to its cultural achievements during the 4th and 5th centuries BC, which has left it with many ancient buildings, monuments and artworks, the most famous being the Acropolis, which is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Classical Greek art and architecture. Athens is the centre of economic, cultural, and political life in Greece today.
Currently the city (metropolitan area) is growing eastwards across Attica (Greater Athens). The metropolitan area of Athens is home to some 3.5 million people. Athens is located at 38°00′N 23°43′E (38.00°, 23.72°). It was named after its goddess from ancient Greek mythology, Athena.
Modern Athens is a large and cosmopolitan city; Ancient Athens was a powerful city-state and renowned center of learning. Athens (Greek: Αθήνα Athína IPA /a'θina/) is the capital of Greece and one of the most famous cities in the world. Bridge at Metro-station Katehaki by Santiago Calatrava. Athens Olympic Sports Complex, by Santiago Calatrava (1998-2004) (sketches and models).
American embassy by Walter Gropius, at Vassilis Sophias Avenue, 1961. East terminal by Eero Saarinen, at former Hellenikon airport, 1960-63.