garden of the Presidential Mansion occupies an area of about 25,000
square metres (just over 6 acres) and constitutes a green haven in
the centre of Athens. In the middle of the nineteenth century, this
area, because of its especially fertile soil, was in fact the vegetable
garden of the Royal Palace (now Parliament building).
After the erection of the mansion in 1897 and the construction
of Herod Atticus Road, the area which surrounded the Crown Prince's
Palace was fashioned into a large ornamental garden. The planning
of this appears to have been assigned to Ziller's technical office.
The selection of suitable plants, though, must have been entrusted
to a Greek specialist, since most of the trees are native to Greece.
From the very beginning the garden was divided into two large sections
because of the slope of the land. The building is situated in the
The design of the garden in front of the building was similar to
that of other neo-classical structures of the period (the Academy,
the University and the National Library). The garden follows a relatively
rigid geometric plan of the French type, with symmetrical beds of
grass and seasonal flowering plants. The formalism of the composition
approaching Herod Atticus Road is alleviated by the perennial plane
trees, lindens, palms and cypress trees.
wide marble staircase leads to the larger part to the garden, which
is on the lower level. The symmetry has been preserved here also
with the main point of reference being a long path with high cypress
trees which leads to a swimming pool and a pavillion. To the right
and the left of the path are lawns, stepped terraces, flower beds
and areas with trees and bushes. Around the entire garden high trees
are planted next to the railings, to ensure the necessary privacy
from the surrounding roads.
In general the botanic composition of the garden is quite rich,
since it includes about one hundred and forty species and varieties
of ornamental trees, bushes, climbing plants etc. Some of these
plants are rare. Many of the trees in the garden, such as the cypress
trees are more than a hundred years old.
From its initial design at the end of the nineteenth century up
until the early 1970's the palace garden was preserved without significant
change. Since 1974 the garden has undergone several changes. The
most important of these is the addition of a wide marble staircase
which facilitates access to the lower part of the garden.
President holds a reception on the 24th of July every year. This
is to commemorate the restoration of democracy in 1974 and the political,
military and academic leadership of the country, as well as representatives
of the Press, of all sectors of the economy and many Bodies and
Organizations are invited.