While much of the American news is centered on presidential primaries, itís worth taking a moment to remember where the process began. So weíre off to Athens, capital of the cradle of democracy.
 

The massive outcropping of the Acropolis is without a doubt Greeceís most famous landmark. Visitors climbing to the ancient entrance are greeted with a panoramic view of the city below. High atop the Acropolis is the most famous of its buildings, the Parthenon, built to honor the goddess Athena. Other ruins cover the hill, including the Odeon of Herod Atticus, an outdoor theater still used for performances today.

Central to ancient Athenian society was their civic center. The Ancient Agora can be explored by knowledge seekers just as it once was by Socrates. Among the Ancient Agoraís most complete buildings are the Temple of Hephaestus and the Tower of Winds, an ancient monument immortalizing the eight winds. Just north is the site where famed Roman emperor Hadrian built his library.

A walk through the ruins of ancient Athens is like a real-world trip through your Western Civilization textbook. Many heroes of those long ago times are buried in Kerameikos Cemetery, where Pericles orated and Plato founded his Academy.

 
Athens easily blends the modern, the old and the ancient. Not far from second-century Hadrianís Arch is the more contemporary National Garden, commissioned by the queen in 1838 and still enjoyed by Athenians today. Nearby, Zappeion Hall was built as a venue for the modern Olympics and served as the main fencing hall for the 1896 Games.

Not far away is the Plaka, the oldest of Athensí neighborhoods and home to antiquities like the Lysicrates Monument and everyday delights like café dining and boutique shopping. If youíre looking for a truly local treasure, be sure to visit the Monastiraki Flea Market on a Sunday, when it is alive with buyers and sellers from all over the city.

Even if itís been awhile since youíve turned the pages of Platoís Republic or Homerís Odyssey, you might find that Athens provides a millennia-old perspective on more modern political systems. Until you can explore the relics of this great civilization in person, let your computer transport you on this desktop getaway.