Topics: The Guardian
Athens ( / ˈ æ θ ɪ n z / ;  Modern Greek : Αθήνα , Athína [aˈθina] , Ancient Greek : Ἀθῆναι , Athênai modern pronunciation Athínai ) is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities , with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years  and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC. 
The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon , considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments.
Different etymologies, now commonly rejected, were proposed during the 19th century. Christian Lobeck proposed as the root of the name the word ἄθος ( áthos ) or ἄνθος ( ánthos ) meaning "flower", to denote Athens as the "flowering city". Ludwig von Döderlein proposed the stem of the verb θάω , stem θη- ( tháō , thē- , "to suck") to denote Athens as having fertile soil.