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Visit the National Gardens in Athens

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Athens is one of those cities that has a long history and there are plenty of historical sites that reflect that. Besides seeing the main sites, like the Parthenon, it is also a gorgeous city. The National Gardens is a great place to enjoy the beautiful side of the city. Here’s more information:

About the National Gardens

Queen Amalia, the first Queen of Greece ordered the National Gardens to be built. In 1840, the construction of the garden was completed. It was originally named Royal Garden as it was fenced and only members of the royal family had access to it. It wasn’t until 1975 that the garden was opened to the public and renamed National Gardens. These days, it is open from sunrise to sunset.

The National Gardens of Athens consists of narrow labyrinth paths and wooden benches. There are small lakes and two duck ponds. Along with the Zappeion Hall Garden, the National Gardens cover 24 acres that are filled with vegetation, rare plants, and saplings. The garden has 7,000 trees and 40,000 bushes and other plants. 102 species and varieties are Greek including carob trees, oleander, and Judas trees. An interesting fact about the National Garden: one of the finds during the 19th century excavations was a Roman floor the was uncovered, which belonged to the courtyard of a Roman villa nearby.

What to Do at the National Gardens

Enjoying the peace and beauty of the National Gardens of Athens is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, but there’s more to do and see when you visit the garden. There is a small zoo that has wild goats, peacocks, chickens, and other animals. There is a children’s library on site that consists of over 6,000 books. The library has a two reading rooms and a fairy tale room. There is also a conservatory, which is thought to be the first working greenhouse in Greece. Today it is where plants are cultivated before being planted in the garden. When you are ready for a bite to eat, you can head to the garden’s café.

Visit Zappeion Hall Garden

Zappeion Hall Garden is a small park next to the National Garden of Athens. In the past, when only royals could enter the National Gardens, regular citizens could spend time at Zappeion Hall Garden. Today, while it’s not officially part of the National Gardens, it is considered an extension of it. The courtyard of Zappeion Hall Garden hosts statues of politicians, historians, and kings.

Possibly the notable statue is the one of English poet Lord Byron with Greece placing a wreath on his head as a token of gratitude for his help against the Ottomans. There is a building called Zappeion Hall, which is used for meetings and ceremonies. The building was constructed in 1878 and remodeled in 1959 – 1960. When there are no events happening, you can explore inside. The greenery around Zappeion garden is called Parilissia and was plantedin 1886.

When you’re in Athens, you will want to stop by the National Gardens. There is more than enough to keep you occupied from opening to closing.

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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