Athens and the Attica Basin, Greece
Athens, the capital and largest city of Greece, sprawls across the central plain of Attica that is often referred to as the Attica Basin. The Saronic Gulf lies in the southwest.
The basin is bound by four large mountains; Mount Aegaleo to the west, Mount Parnitha to the north, Mount Penteli to the northeast and Mount Hymettus to the east of the Athens Metropolitan Area.
Mount Parnitha is the tallest of the four mountains (1,453 m (4,767 ft)) and it has been declared a national park. Well-marked paths, gorges, springs, torrents and caves dot the protected area.
Over the years, the capital has expanded to cover almost the entire plain, making future growth in size difficult. The geomorphology of Athens causes the so-called temperature inversion phenomenon which, along with the failure of the Greek government to control industrial pollution, is responsible for the air pollution problems the city has recently faced.
By the late 1970’s, the pollution of Athens had become so destructive it caused harm to the city’s ancient monuments. A series of strict measures that were taken by the authorities of the city throughout the 1990s finally resulted in a dramatic improvement of air quality.