August 16, 2004
Athens, Greece, enjoys both historical and current significance on the world stage. The ancient city of Athens, considered to be the birthplace of many Western traditions in philosophy, the arts, and the scientific method, is located in the Central Plains region of Attica in eastern Greece. This astronaut photograph captures the western extent of the modern urban area. The large basin in which Athens is located was formed by faulting and has accumulated thick deposits of clays and alluvium. These clay deposits were the source of Athen's historical (and current) pottery trade. However, the same tectonic processes that lead to the formation of the basinâ€”ongoing collision of the Eurasian and African platesâ€”are also responsible for frequent strong and damaging earthquakes in the region. There are many remnants of ancient Athens preserved in the modern city, including the Acropolis (labeled above; also see the earlier ISS photograph, The Acropolis, Greece).