THE NATIONAL GARDEN
What we probably do not know about the formerly "Royal" Garden of Athens is that it has existed since the ancient times as part of the greenery near the river bed of Ilissos. Of course, it took thousands of years and the initiative taken by King Otto to remodel the city of Athens in 1834 to enable the garden to reach its present shape.
The National Garden is today the largest green area in Athens (excluding the outskirts of the mountains around it) with a total of 158 acres. It is surrounded by the avenues of Vasilissis Olgas, Vasilissis Amalias and Vasilissis Sofias and the street Irodou tou Attikou. Zappeion Mansion is located on its grounds and, on its northwest corner are the Parliament and the Monument of the Unknown Soldier.
The garden was planned by the German architect Gärtner who was invited to build the KingĘs palace (the current Parliament), in 1836. Its 120 tree-planted acres were developed gradually under the supervision of the German and the French agriculturalists from 1839 until 1886. During this same period, the Royal Guards were installed in the Garden. In 1923, the Garden was declared public. In 1927, by legislative decree, was named "National Garden", as it is known now. Until 1997, it used to belong administratively to the Commission of Public Gardens and Tree-lines, since then it belongs to the District of Attica.
Many people blame the Ministry of Agriculture - that was previously responsible for the GardenĘs maintenance - for the deserted picture that it presents today: dirty and distinctively uncared for. The National Garden surely deserves better treatment, if for no other reason but its rich flora and fauna - which has decreased considerably but definitely has worked on refining itself. One will find there, lakes, a sundial, the Botanical Museum, the first hothouse in Greece, the ChildrenĘs Library and a quaint café.
The garden remains open daily from sunrise to sunset. It is estimated that 2 to 3 thousand people cross it every day, a number that increases during the summer months.
HOW TO GET THERE
BY BUS: 103, 108, 111, 206, 208, 209, 237, A4, B4
TROLLEY: 1, 5, 15
HOT SPOTS - What we propose
CAFE IN THE NATIONAL GARDEN
Following your stroll in the National Garden, a Greek coffee in the garden café will relax and refresh you. Enjoy the birds singing! (Garden Café at the entrance of Herod of Attica)
Churches and Monasteries
Walking in Athens
NEAR BY THE NATIONAL GARDEN
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