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Politics

Presidential Mansion Gardens Open for the General Public on Sunday

ATHENS – The first day of the reopening of the presidential mansion gardens to the general public was on Sunday, from 10:00 until 16:00. The warm weather and glorious sunshine made it a special Sunday outing for both young and old, with long queues forming at the entrance to get in.

President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou was present in the garden on Irodou Attikou Street, talking and taking photographs with many of the visitors, especially the children, who came to admire the many trees, shrubs and dozens of birds who find sanctuary within the 2.5 hectares of grounds surrounding the official residence of the Greek president.

President Sakellaropoulou was praised for once again allowing the public to visit the gardens, which are a “green oasis” in central Athens and also feature many sculptures by well-known artists that are strewn about the grounds, including works by Natalia Mella, Costas Varotsos, Giorgos Zoggolopoulos and others.

The afternoon also featured music by students at the Athens Conservatory, while snacks, soft drinks and ice cream were offered to the visitors.

From October 9 and on every following Sunday, the presidential mansion gardens will be open to the visiting public from 10:00 until 16:00, from the 2 Vassileos Georgiou II street entrance. Any changes regarding the visiting hours will be announced on the presidency website www.presidency.gr.

The presidential mansion gardens

Historically, from the mid-19th century, the land now occupied by the presidential mansion grounds served as the vegetable garden of the royal palace, which now houses the Greek parliament, as it was particularly fertile. Once the presidential mansion was completed in 1897 – initially to house the crown prince – and Irodou Attikou road was created, the land surrounding the mansion was transformed into a large ornamental garden designed by the office of Ernst Ziller, with plants selected by a Greek expert in the local flora.

Designed along the lines of the neoclassical buildings of 19th-century Athens (Academy, University, National Library), the garden follows a French style of relatively austere and symmetrical geometric patterns, while it is split into two sections joined by a wide marble staircase. The effect is somewhat moderated by the ancient plane trees, linden trees, palms and cypresses. Among others, it also features a pool and a gazebo.

It features a large variety of some 140 species of ornamental plants, trees and shrubs, some of which are quite rare, while some are over 100 years old.

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