Home to such masters as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Dante Alighieri, Florence earned a lasting reputation as a prestigious cultural center. But questions remain over who actually founded the “City of Lilies” and when. Most people give a nod to Julius Caesar as the founder of Florentia dating back to 59 B.C., claiming it for its strategic position linking Rome to northern Italy. Meanwhile, archaeological evidence suggests the Etruscans of Fiesole likely founded Florence in 200 B.C.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
Skyscrapers spring up like weeds in Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, lending to the sense of constant motion the city exudes. Business types in dark suits mingle with youthful tourists, and everyone seems to be in a hurry. No wonder, since the city, founded by a small group of tin miners in the mid-1800s, morphed into one of Southeast Asia’s most important destinations for business travelers.