|Sightseeing > Parliament house|
From the Constitution (Syntagma) Square, we climb by large stairs on a vast esplanade where the Royal Palace, said the Palaion Anaktoron (old palace) stands. Built in 1835, mostly at the expenses of king Ludwig I of Bavaria, over the plans of the Bavarian architect Gaertner. This enormous cube of pentelic marble is an imposing edifice of three stories, which dominates the town. Only the two doric porticoes (W. and S.) animate with the contrast to the light and shade, the vast monotonous surfaces of the two facades.
This historical Palace that saw so many brilliant days under the first kings of Greece was destroyed internally in 1910 by a great fire. Since then, notwithstanding some repairs, it remained in a ruinous state especially when they had the absurd idea to install there refuges! Lately the hellenic Government decided to install there the House of Parliament. On account of this unlucky decision, this historic palace has undergone radical changes, which altered its original plan. By these repairs the Museum of king George I, which was on the first story, has been removed from there, out of its natural place.
But even the place in front of this grand structure was not spared, for they constructed there the Tomb of the Unknown soldier (Agnostos Stratiotis). A less convenient and more inappropriate and discordant place for the noble idea of such a mausoleum could not have been chosen! Near the Palace, on the S., stretches the vast and magnificent Royal Garden, now called National, real green oasis in this deprived of trees Athens. This beautiful Garden is a creation of Queen Amelia and her German gardener Schmidt. This garden has become public and it is open all day long. It is one of the rare places in Athens, where one can find an agreable retreat with shade, flowers and the song of the nightingales. The garden encloses aslo some ancient ruins, tambours and Corinthian capitals of columns, mosaics. etc. On the S.E. the busts of Capodistria, first governor of Greece and of the great philhellene Eynard. From the S. side the bust of the celebrated greek poets D. Solomos, and Aristotelis Valaoritis.
Behind the Park, the Royal Residence, built over the plans of Ern.