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The annual precipitation of Athens is typically lower than in other parts of Greece, mainly in western Greece.

In January 2007, Athens faced a waste management problem when its landfill near Ano Liosia, an Athenian suburb, reached capacity.

The geomorphology of Athens is deemed to be one of the most complex in the world because its mountains cause a temperature inversion phenomenon which, along with the Greek Government's difficulties controlling industrial pollution, was responsible for the air pollution problems the city has faced.

By the late 1970s, the pollution of Athens had become so destructive that according to the then Greek Minister of Culture, Constantine Trypanis, "..carved details on the five the caryatids of the Erechtheum had seriously degenerated, while the face of the horseman on the Parthenon's west side was all but obliterated." A series of measures taken by the authorities of the city throughout the 1990s resulted in the improvement of air quality; the appearance of smog (or nefos as the Athenians used to call it) has become less common.

The basin is bounded by four large mountains: Mount Aigaleo to the west, Mount Parnitha to the north, Mount Pentelicus to the northeast and Mount Hymettus to the east.

Beyond Mount Aegaleo lies the Thriasian plain, which forms an extension of the central plain to the west. Mount Parnitha is the tallest of the four mountains (1,413 m (4,636 ft)), and has been declared a national park. Lycabettus is one of the tallest hills of the city proper and provides a view of the entire Attica Basin.

became again the official name of the city and remained so until the abandonment of Katharevousa in the 1970s, when Ἀθήνα, Athína, became the official name.

According to the ancient Athenian founding myth, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, competed against Poseidon, the god of the seas, for patronage of the yet-unnamed city; Athens sprawls across the central plain of Attica that is often referred to as the Athens or Attica Basin (Greek: Λεκανοπέδιο Αττικής).Athens is also home to several museums and cultural institutions, such as the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, the Acropolis Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum.Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics.A team of archaeologists have discovered a 2,500-year-old lost city in Greece, once dismissed as insignificant ruins.An international team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg (in Sweden) and the University of Bournemouth (in the UK) have begun exploring the ruins at a village called Vlochos, around 300km (190 miles) north of Athens, but they won’t be using traditional digging techniques, using ground-penetrating radar instead.Daily average highs for July (1988–2017) have been measured at 34.4 °C (94 °F), but some parts of the city may be even warmer, in particular its western areas partly because of industrialization and partly because of a number of natural factors, knowledge of which has been available from the mid-19th century.