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Walk 2
Aristocracy and history



Walk twoTime: 1 hour 30 minutes.

Itinerary: Setting out from the Presidential Palace and crossing the National Gardens and the Zappeion, you come to the columns of the Temple of Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch, the boundary between the old and the new city in the period of Roman rule.

Character: A green oasis in the heart of the city. Perennial trees and unique classical buildings combine ancient Greece and the modern world.

Highlights: Irodou Attikou Street, rare perennial threes in the National Gardens, the classic charm of the Zappeion, Hadrian’s Arch.

Aristocracy and history

Start your walk along Irodou Attikou Street, one of the most aristocratic thoroughfares in Athens. The street is home to the Presidential Palace designed by the architect Ernst Ziller (housed in what once was the home of the heir to the throne), the Maximos Palace (now the official residence of the Prime Minister) and apartment buildings looking out over the National Gardens and occupied by some of the oldest and wealthiest families in Athens.

The National Gardens in AthensOriginally known as the Royal Gardens, the National Gardens Locaton map were laid out in 1839 by Amalia, the first queen of Greece, to provide a garden for what was then the royal palace but now serves as the parliament building. Some five hundred species of plants were ordered from all around the globe which was a bold enterprise given that the dry climate of Athens often proved fatal to plants unused to it. Yet the gamble paid off and visitors are now confronted with a veritable jungle with lofty perennial trees rising from thick shrubs and climbing plants.

You can learn more about the gardens at the small Botanical Museum housed in a neoclassical building standing within the gardens and dating from the reign of Otto. It is open daily except on Mondays from 09:00 to 14:00 - tel. 210 721 5019. Close to the museum you will find the foundations of a Roman villa as well as several other buildings dating from the reign of Otto. Among them there is one that has been converted into a modern children’s library.

An excellent spot for a cup of coffee is the tranquil little café you will find as you enter the gardens by the second entrance coming up from the Zappeio off Irodou Attikou Street. In recent years, the National Gardens have had an extensive facelift. Landscaping work involved the creation of a new children’s recreation area, one of the most appealing and best equipped in the centre of Athens

From de interior of the National Gardens, follow the wooden signs and you will come out in the grove of the Zappeion, on the broad path which goes round the rear op the building. If you carry on down you will come face to face with the Kallimarmaro Stadium also known as the Panathenaic Stadium Locaton map. The venue for the 1896 Olympic Games, the first games of the modern era. It was constructed on the remains of an ancient stadium and it is entirely faced in marble.

The ZappeionThe Zappeion Locaton map, with its carefully tended avenues, statues and imposing stairways, is one of the most characteristic expressions of the neoclassical spirit in the creation of public open spaces. The building itself often is used to house exhibitions and in spring 2003 it hosted the summit of the EU leaders. If you are allowed to, you really should go through the impressive gateway to admire the superb circular atrium with its marble colonnades.

Opposite the Zappeion are the columns of the Temple of Zeus Locaton map and beyond them Hadrian’s Arch Locaton map. Our walk takes you elsewhere however. Go down Vasilissis Olgas Street. Four hundred meters (1.312ft) down on your left side you will come to Anapafseos Street which leads to the entrance to the First Cemetery of Athens Locaton map, the most historic burial ground in modern Greece. Here you can see the impressive funerary monuments of some of the greatest families in Greece (Averof, Benakis etc.), famous politicians and of individuals who played an important role in the history of Greece. The best known are the graves of Melina Mercouri and of Sofia Afentaki.


                 ZAPPEION, TEMPLE
                 OF ZEUS

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