Foreign Affairs Office of Beijing Municipal Government
2022-02-23  |  

[Overview] Athens is the capital and largest city in Greece. Located in the Attica Plain in the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula, the city covers an area of about 412 square kilometers and has a population of about 3.77 million.

[Politics] Athens is governed by the municipal board and the municipal government. The municipal board or city council consists of 45 members elected for a term of four years. The mayor is recommended by the largest party in the municipal board. The term of office of the mayor is five years. The mayor has the right to choose members of his or her own party in the municipal board to serve as deputy mayors and heads of important departments of the municipal government. The incumbent Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, took office in September 2019.

[Economy] Athens is the country's economic center as well as railway and air transport hub. The city's pillar industries include tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and service industries.

[Culture and Education] Athens is famous for its long history, unique culture and the abundance of relics and historical sites. It has exerted a profound impact on the development of human civilization. Since ancient times, Athens has been known as the cradle of Western civilization. As the birthplace of modern Olympics, Athens hosted the first and the 28th Summer Olympic Games in 1896 and 2004, respectively. Athens is also Greece's research and cultural center. Famous universities, such as National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Athens Technical College, are located in the city.

[Relations with Beijing] On May 10, 2005, Beijing and Athens officially became sister cities. In recent years, the two cities have seen their relations developing smoothly and engaged in extensive exchanges in health care, culture, and tourism.

Health Care: In October 2019, to promote TCM and explore health cooperation within the sister-city framework, Beijing Municipal Health Commission and Beijing Municipal Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine joined hands with the Athens Municipal Government to hold a series of events, including the First Chinese and Western Medicine Conference and TCM free clinics in Athens. On the sidelines of these events, Beijing Chaoyang Hospital signed a cooperation agreement with Andrology Center in Athens, and Beijing Children's Hospital signed a cooperation agreement with Children's Hospital Agia Sofia in Athens. They would have all-round cooperation in the fields of children's oncology, key clinical specialties and traditional medicine.

Tourism: In December 2012, Athens joined the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) which was established on the initiative of Beijing. In May 2018, then Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development held the “Olympic Games Host City – Silk Road” Beijing tourism promotion event in Athens, and the first batch of Global Strategic Partners of Beijing Tourism were awarded during the event.

Culture: In March 2014, the “Melody from Beijing” concert was held in Athens. In January 2017 and February 2018, Beijing held the Happy Chinese New Year event in Athens. In May 2018, Beijing held a series of cultural exchange activities in Athens, including “My Beijing Story”, “Night of Beijing” concert, and Beijing Film and TV Exhibition, to show Beijing's character, culture and art, as well as its economic, social and cultural development, and Beijingers' lives to local people.