Hellenic Parliament
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The edifice of the Hellenic Parliament situated in the square Syntagma, meaning «Constitution square», is a memento of the origin of the contemporary greek nation. All major political and ceremonial gatherings were held on the square in front of the parliament since its construction in 1843. Notably, the well-known public revolt against the absolute monarchy of king Otto in September of the same year. Moreover, athenians are still gathering in the square Syntagma to apply their right of free speech.

History of building

The edifice was erected in accordance with the plans of the german architect Friedrich von Gartner, and the construction period took from 1836 to 1842. Initially it was a royal residence for king Otto and queen Amalia, followed by king George i and his family. A fire in 1909 caused considerable destruction, following which a restoration was initiated. Upon the abolishment of the monarchy in Greece in 1924, the building took on a new role as a museum and hospital.

In November 1929, the state elected to shift the parliament to this location. Up until then, it had been located in a former building on Stadiou street, which is now the National History Museum. Even though the kingdom was re-instated that same year, the royal family moved to the Presidential Palace, and the parliament has remained there since.

The primary chamber of the Hellenic Parliament is located on the ground floor, having been the former ballroom. It is amphitheatric in design, and a room with stained glass windows allows in natural light. The chairs of the members of Parliament are found in five circular sectors. The balcony above the chamber is utilized as a gallery for visitors. A similar but smaller chamber was constructed on the second floor for the senate; however, since the senate was dissolved, the room is now employed for party meetings.

Before the parliament structure stands a statue protected by the foot soldiers of the greek armed forces, the Evzonov. This is the Memorial to the Unknown Warrior, erected to honour those who lost their lives in the wars for the nation. On march 25th 1932, the day of the national holiday, when the greeks recall their freedom from the turkish reign, the statue was revealed.

The uniform of the evzones includes the iconic greek wrap skirt. Each hour, the guard duty in front of the Hellenic Parliament is switched. When on duty, evzones are not permitted to utter a word or move.

Purpose and function

Parliament is a collective political body that speaks for the people. Together with the republic’s President, it is the legislative arm of the government. The government needs the trust of the Parliament; should it lose this, it must step down.

The present incarnation of the Hellenic Parliament dates to 1844, when the constitutional monarchy was established. The parliamentary principle was established in 1875.

Presently, the Hellenic Parliament possesses 300 members of parliament. The constitution sets a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 300 deputies. The exact figure is established by law. The parliament examines the constitution, passes laws, proclaims a state of emergency («state of siege»), decides on the holding of a referendum, selects the President of the republic and other authorities, and expresses confidence in the government. The parliament oversees the activities of the government, approves the state budget and carries out certain quasi-judicial duties.

The library of the Hellenic Parliament

At the commencement of the first parliament, the library of the Hellenic Parliament was established in line with the 1844 constitution. It was set up with the purpose of aiding the activities of parliament. In 1846, Georgios Tercetis, a scientist and lawyer from Zante (Ionian islands), assumed the role of director. Under his guidance, the library grew to become the leading literary centre of that era.

The library of the Hellenic Parliament now occupies multiple buildings, with its main library open to the public on weekdays from 9am — 2pm and 5:30pm − 8:30pm, and saturdays from 9am — 2pm.

Eleftherios Venizelos Hall

The royal palace building houses the Eleftherios Venizelos Hall, named after the prime minister credited with forming modern-day Greece. Adorned with golden candelabra in the shape of crowns, this grand chamber was nearly destroyed in the Christmas eve fire of 1909. Exhibits here recall the nation’s political history, with the events of the seven-year junta (1967 — 1974) leading to the reestablishment of democracy in Greece only 40 years ago.

Greek revolution’s frieze

The Venizelos Hall displays an immense 78-meter long frieze, constructed in the 1840s by german sculptor Ludwig Michael von Schwantaler and painted by Philip and Georgios Margarites. Unfortunately, a fire in 1909 partially destroyed it, but it was then restored with great care.

The Hellenic Parliament building stands proudly in the city center, north of Syntagma square. This three-storey neoclassical edifice has two entrances — one for the parliamentarians on the western side and the other, facing the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, on the facade. Close to the Parliament House lie the National Botanical garden and the Megaron Zapepeon.

In Athens, if you want to get to the Hellenic Parliament, there are multiple ways to do so. Walking is a great option since the Parliament is in the middle of the city, just a few minutes away from Syntagma metro station.

You can take the metro (red and blue lines) from Syntagma which is located right opposite the Parliament.

Since Syntagma is so central, there are many bus stops nearby. Take bus routes 054, 203, 204, 224, 227, 230, 732, 790, 856, a2, b2b e14, or ×14 (before the Syntagma stop).

Travelling by trolleybus. Take routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 11 to reach Syntagma stop.

You could also opt for the tram and take t4 or t5.


  • Guided tours in english are available for school, student and visitor groups from mon-fri (9:00–20:00) except August.
  • The 1.30 hour sessions are free and include a visit to the assembly hall and some background on modern Greece, its governmental structure, parliamentary processes and the history of the Hellenic Parliament building.
  • Make your reservation for the parliament via email to visits@parliament.gr at least 15 days before. Await the response. You will be notified by email maximum 2 days before your visit. On the day of the visit, come to the main entryway of the Parliament located on Vasilissis Sofia avenue, 2 at least 10 minutes earlier. Do not forget to bring your passport or other valid id.
  • No set dress code exists, yet be certain to dress modestly.