Presidential Mansion Gardens open to public
AMNA--The famed Gardens of the Presidential Mansion in downtown Athens will be open to the public on Sundays, beginning this Sunday, June 1.
The Presidential Mansion Gardens will be open on Sundays, except holidays, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, from the Vassileos Georgiou B' Street entrance.
Admission is free, with the display of a police identity card or passport.amna
Previous arrangements are required for group visits (schools, clubs), at telephone numbers: 210-7283289 and 210-7224939.
The 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 former Royal Palace (Crown Prince's Palace, now the Parliament building), designed by Ernst Ziller.amna
After the erection of the mansion in 1897 and the construction of Herodou Attikou Street, 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, apparently was entrusted to a Greek specialist, since most of the trees are native to Greece.amna
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 upper section.amna
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.
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