National Garden
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In close proximity to the main square of the capital and to the building of the Greek Parliament a splendid oasis is located — it is the National garden of Athens. Together with the park that surrounds the Zappeion Hall building, this magnificent garden occupies 24 hectares filled with lush vegetation, rare species of plants, ponds and even some animal species. The shady paths of the Athens National garden seem to invite you to walk along it during a hot summer day and to enjoy the beauty of nature, silence and even archaeological sites.

In former times, the garden was called "Royal" or the "Queen Amalia's garden". It was under the authority of Queen Amalia, who was the wife of Otto of Bavaria, that this romantic park was laid out in 1838. It is said that the Queen was spending at least three hours every day in the garden and was personally taking care of the plants. It was Amalia who planted those 25-metre-high Washingtonia palms that now attract the attention of garden visitors long before they enter its territory.

The project was designed and completed by the German architect and agronomist Friedrich Schmidt. The arrangement of the garden was completed in 1840. Exotic species of flowers, plants and animals were imported to realize the project. However, for many of them, the Athenian climate appeared to be not suitable. But turtles, peacocks, ducks and some other species of birds feel great on the territory of the National garden of Athens.

What you can see in the National garden

The park occupies the territory of as many as 155 thousand square metres. It is an ideal place for growing 7000 trees, 40000 shrubs and other plants — there are more than 500 species of them here. About 100 of the plants are Greek ones, such as oleander, European Judas tree and carob. But the rest are real overseas guests: Australian pines, ailanthus, century-old oaks, cypresses and date palms from the Canary Islands, which have been growing in the garden since it was founded.

Six lakes in the park are not only the sources of water, but also a permanent residence for numerous ducks, goldfish and koi carp of an impressive size. All animals will gladly accept a treat from your hands!

In the XIX century, during the excavations in the garden at a metre depth, the fragments of the Roman floor that had belonged to the courtyard of a Roman villa were found (near the entrance from the Vasilissis Sofias street). Next to the main entrance there is another object that attracts the attention of not only guests of the capital, but also of the residents of Athens — the famous sundial. The shadow of its hands indicates the time depending on the position of the sun. Will you manage to guess the exact time without peeking at your wristwatch or phone?  

You can find a children's library and a playground in the territory of the National garden of Athens. There is even a greenhouse where the plants are grown and adapted before being planted in the garden — it is believed to be the first working greenhouse in the country. The library was opened in the National garden in 1984, offering its readers about 1500 books. Now the building has two reference rooms, a room of fairy tales, a room of music and cinema, and the number of books in its fund has increased to 6000. 

In the territory of the garden, there is a traditional cafe, a botanical museum and several archaeological sites. In addition to the wonderful mosaic floor, the National garden hides the remains of Roman walls that were built by the Emperor Hadrian, ancient columns, as well as the busts of the first Greek governor Ioannis Kapodistrias, of the author of the Greek hymn Dionysios Solomos and of the Greek poet Aristotle Valaoriti. Next to the garden there is the Zappeion — a building that was built for the Zappas Olympic games, which preceded the modern Olympic games. Around the Zappeion you will also find a park zone where you can see monuments to prominent Greeks. But the main attraction of this part of the garden, in addition to the Zappeion Hall itself, is the statue of Lord Byron, who made a significant contribution to the liberation of the country from Ottoman rule. Lord Byron died in Greece of a serious illness.   

How to navigate

The main entrance to the National garden of Athens is located at Leoforos Amalias street — it is decorated with twelve huge Washingtonia palms, which Queen Amalia planted herself. There is a sundial at the entrance, and a beautiful pergola leads to the right — towards the Zappeion. Numerous paths run up to the different parts of the garden like the passages of a maze, surrounded by unique species of trees, flower beds, small ponds and streams.  

In the southern part of the park, in the Zappeion area, there are a children's library and a playground, ancient ruins, and you will find a Spanish fountain near the lower entrance from the Herodotou Attikou street. In the centre of the park, in the midst of the lush vegetation, there is the largest lake with a small wooden bridge — photos are particularly beautiful in this part of the National garden of Athens. Not far from the pond, there is a small zoo with several species of animals and birds. On the way to the northern part of the garden, you will find a botanical museum that is situated in a beautiful neoclassical building, and a traditional cafe. Next to the entrance to the National garden on the side of Leoforos Vasilissis Sofias street, you will see the mosaic of the Roman era. For the convenience of visitors, there are equipped toilets in the park.

In the northern part of the National garden, near the cafe and the exit from the park to Herodotou Attikou street, an evzones’ camp is located. Now this title is held by the soldiers of the elite unit of the Greek army, who serve in the presidential guard. The main duties of the evzones include standing guard at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier, which is located in front of the Greek Parliament building, as well as in front of the president's residence. On Sundays, these soldiers raise and haul down the Greek flag on the Acropolis hill, they also accompany the Holy Flame to Athens during the Easter celebrations, and take a place in the presidential ceremonial guard.

The word "evzone" ("Εύζωνες") means "well-belted" — the references to such warriors with impressive bodies build and excellent fighting abilities were found even in Homer’s works. The evzone division was founded in the XIX century during the struggle for Greek independence and was referred to a light infantry. It consisted mainly of ordinary soldiers and volunteer fighters who were distinguished by valor. Quite soon, the evzones have become strongly associated with national heroes. Now the evzone unit includes about 200 soldiers, who are selected according to numerous criteria: the height not less than 187 cm, stable psyche, endurance and strong physique. The evzones wear a unique uniform that consists of a fustanella skirt with 400 tucks, a white shirt with wide sleeves, a bright red phareon cap with a cocarde, a vest, leather shoes nailed with 60 nails, woolen white stockings and silk binders with tassels.

The southern part of the National garden of Athens faces the Zappeion hall, which is officially separated from the garden, but in fact, it is an extension of it. The Zappeion park is decorated with busts of prominent Greek figures, as well as sculptures of satyrs and statues of Eros.

The National garden of Athens is located between the districts of Kolonaki and Pangrati, right behind the Greek Parliament building and opposite the Syntagma square. You can enter the garden through one of the six entrances — the central one from Leoforos Vasilissis Amalias street, two and two entrances from the side of Zappion and from Herodotou Attikou street, another entrance is situated at Vasilissis Sofias street.

Syntagma metro station is located in the close vicinity, you can also get to Syntagma square and to the National garden by any type of public transport — bus, tram, trolleybus, and, of course, by taxi and by private car.


  • The National garden of Athens in Greece is open from dawn to evening and is closed half an hour before the sunset.
  • The children's library in the park is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9.00 to 15.00. The weekends are on Sundays, Mondays and on public holidays.
  • The evzone camp holds weekly excursions, which include a visit to the camp, a video presentation about its history and purpose, the introduction of the symbols, uniform and movements of the evzones, and, of course, the ritual of the guard mounting.