When Constantinople fell to the Crusaders (Franks) in 1204, Athens was seized by Otto de la Roche of Burgundy, passing during the fourteenth century through the successive hands of the Catalana, the Florentine family of the Acciajuoli, the Venetians and the Byzantines. In 1458, the city was taken by the Turks, and the Acropolis became a Turkish settlement. In 1687, during the Turkish-Venetian wars, the Acropolis was bombarded and captured by the Venetian admiral Francesco Morosini. In 1690, Athens was back in Turkish hands, where it stayed until final liberation in 1833 and its recognition as capital of the modern Greek state. Important relics of the Greek struggle for freedom and of the history of modern Greece are to be seen in the Historical and Ethnological Museum of Athens, housed in the Old Parliament building (1858-1871). The modern history of Athens can also be traced in the Vouros-Eftaxias Museum.
After the proclamation of Athens as capital of Greece, the city was redesigned to plans by the architects Kleanthis and Schaubert. Most of the buildings constructed at this time were in the neo-Classical style, and many of them have survived to give a hint of a different atmosphere to the modern city. Among the most notable nineteenth-century buildings are Parliament, originally the palace of Othon, first King of Greece, the Zappeio Conference Centre (1874-1888) in the National Gardens, the Academy (1859-1887), Athens University (1839-1864) and the National Library (1877-1902). There are numerous old mansion houses in the Plaka district of town, a charming area where we can gain a taste of what Athens must once have been like. Also in Plaka is the Museum of Greek Folk Art, which provides an overview of the Greek vernacular tradition and folklore. Among other interesting sights in the city are Mt Lycabettus, with its little chapel to St George and the modern open-air theatre, Omonia Square in the heart of Athens, the National Technical University (1862-1876), Syntagma Square with its shops, the Panathenaic Stadium, a reconstruction of the ancient Stadium built to house the first Olympics of modern times in 1896, the National Gallery, with fine collections of the art of Greece and other countries, and the Music Megatron, a new concert-hall with outstanding acoustics. Athens today, with a population of more than 4 million, is very much the centre of Greece, not only geographically but also as the focus of almost all the country’s important activities.