Prince Charles, who has enraged some quarters with his outspoken views on architecture, praised the city's mayor for his effort to regenerate and conserve the sites of ancient Greece in the capital.
His comments came as he was being presented with the medal of the City of Athens on the second day of a three-day cultural visit to Greece and Crete.
In praising the mayor, Dimitris Arramopoulos, the Prince said: "We both know all too well that after the last war many cities, not only in your country but also in mine, have been redeveloped so that sometimes it is impossible to know which country you are in - such is the internationalisation of our cities. I know already that the city has carried out various programmes which I am sure make an enormous difference."
The Prince spent yesterday afternoon touring the site of the ancient city dedicated to the goddess Athena which overlooks the city. He also saw the restoration work at the Parthenon, the 2,500-year-old temple which remains as a monument to ancient Greece.
His short visit was organised to coincide with the Britain and Greece Festival - a series of commercial and cultural events celebrating the successful relationship between the two countries.
Mr Arramopoulos took the opportunity of the Prince's visit - his first since 1964 - to ask him to consider the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece when he becomes king.
The British government has refused to return the Marbles to Greece despite repeated requests by the Greek government.Reuse content