Greece has sent shockwaves across Europe by calling a referendum on the latest bailout deal. It means there's a big chance that the deal to save the euro currency - agreed to much fanfare in Brussels last week - could be sunk if the Greek people vote against accepting the terms of the bailout.
The Acropolis monument looming over Athens is a constant reminder of this country’s ancient heritage.
Greece is known as the birthplace of democracy.
And it is the Greek people who will now decide their own economic fate - which will have consequences for the entire eurozone.
Prime Minister George Papendreou shocked politicians in Athens and beyond, by declaring a referendum on a new EU bailout.
Parliament will also hold a confidence vote in the government this Friday.
“This is the highest form of democracy, it is a great moment of patriotism for the citizens to decide, so let us then give the final word to the people and let the citizens decide," said Papendreou.
In recent months, waves of strikes and protests against austerity measures have crippled Greek cities.
The latest EU aid package would see further public sector pay and pension cuts and tax rises, designed to reduce Greek debt.
Opinion polls suggest over half of Greeks disapprove - meaning a ‘no’ vote in the referendum is a real possibility.
Political journalist Kostas Raptis says Greeks are increasingly turning against the European Union.
“It’s a very imbalanced relationship economically. And now politically as well. I mean, this sort of imbalance is now translated into the political field, with big eurozone economies dictating to the periphery countries what to do and how.”
That has rekindled tensions with Germany, which has been driving EU demands for more Greek austerity.
A national holiday in Greece last week to commemorate the World War II saw protesters waving anti-German flags and banners.
Previous demonstrations have seen re-enactments of alleged Nazi war crimes.
“Deep down some World War II animosities still survive, I suspect," said Raptis. "Many Greeks complain about the damages inflicted on our country during the war and about the need for proper German reparations.”
In public European leaders put on a show of unity. But the referendum is likely to strain relations.
"If it goes well he of course has the support of the Greek people," said Joerg Rocholl, President of the European School of Management in Berlin. "If not, it could lead to a situation where Greece can no longer remain a member of the euro zone".
If Greeks vote ‘no’, analysts say there’s no obvious alternative other than for Greece to default or leave the euro.
After a few days of relative calm - Europe has been plunged back into political and economic uncertainty.