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Attica (Greek: Αττική, Attikí; IPA: [atiˈkʲi]) is a periphery (subdivision) in Greece, containing Athens, the capital of Greece. Attica is subdivided into the prefectures of Athens, Piraeus, East Attica and West Attica.

Overview of Atica

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 Peiraeus, Eleusis, Megara, Laurium, and Marathon, as well as a small part of the Peloponnese peninsula and the islands of Salamis, Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Spetses, Kythira, and Antikythera. 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 of Atica

Attica is a peninsula jutting into the Aegean Sea. It is naturally divided to the north from Boeotia by the 10 mi (16 km) long Kithairon mountain range. Mountains separate the peninsula into the plains of Pedia, Mesogeia, and Thriasia. The mountains include Hymettus, the eastern portion of Geraneia, Parnitha, Aigaleo and the Penteli mountains. To the north it is bordered by the Boeotian plain and to the west it is bordered by Corinth. The Saronic Gulf lies to the south and the island of Euboea lies off the north coast. Athens' first and only large reservoir, Lake Marathon, is about 42 km (26 mi) 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 Isthmus, and in the direction of the continent they extended as far as the heights of Cithaeron and Parnes. The boundary line came down in the direction of the sea, having the district of Oropus on the right, and with the river Asopus as the limit on the left.

Attica History


The ancient Athenians used to boast of being "autochtones", 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.[1][unreliable source?] The Ionians were divided into four tribes and lived in autonomous agricultural societies. The main places where prehistoric remains were found are Marathon, Rafina, Nea Makri, Brauron, Thorikos, Agios Kosmas, Eleusis, Menidi, Markopoulo, Spata, Aphidnae and Athens. All of these settlements flourished mainly during the Mycenaean period[2]. 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[3].[unreliable source?] 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 Athens. 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, Ymittos, Aegaleo and the foot of Mount Parnes, the coast (παράλια), that included the areas from Eleusis to Cape Sounion and the area around the city (εσωτερικό-μεσογαία), inhabited by people living on the north of Mount Parnitha, Pentelicum and the area surrounding the mountain of Ymittos. 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.

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