Zappeion and The National Gardens
The National Gardens
The National Gardens is just behind the Vouli building, and is cherished by Athenians as one of the few quiet green areas of Athens. People can come and relax by one of the two duck ponds, children can play in the playground, there is even a small zoo.
Throughout the National Gardens are busts of famous Greeks and greco-philes such as Kapodistrias the first Prime Minister of Greece; the poets Dionysios Solomos, Aristotelis Valaoritis and Jean Moreas. There is also remains of a Roman aqueduct and some ancient mosaics.
The park was created on the orders of Queen Amalia in the 1840's, she even sent the new Greek Navy to bring 15,000 seedling back from Italy to use in the Garden.
The garden was landscaped by the Prussian Friedrich Schmidt who had travelled the world collecting plants. The garden was originally called the Royal Gardens and renamed The National Gardens by decree in 1923.
The Zappeion is a huge crescent shaped neoclassical building inside the National Gardens. It is used as an exhibition and conference hall, and is frequently used for meetings between the Greek heads of state and foreign dignitaries.
The building was financed by Evangelos and Konstantinos Zappas, and built by Danish architect Theophil Hansen between January 1874 and October 1888. The Zappeion was built as part of the revival of the Olympic games in 1896. Although the Zappeion is in the National Gardens it has some very impressive gardens of its own
Information on the National Gardens and Zappeion
The National Gardens is one of the best places to get away from the crowds and concrete in Athens.
Location: Just behind the Vouli building (Syntagma), opposite the Temple of Zeus and near the Kalimarmaro Stadium just off Leoforos Vasilissis Amalias.
Nearest Metro Station: Syntagma and Acropolis.