Hellenic Parliament - History and Facts | History Hit

Hellenic Parliament

Attica, Attica, Greece

The neoclassical Parliament building on Syntagma Square the centre of Athens has been the seat of Government since 1935 and was previously the Old Royal Palace built for King Otto.

Peta Stamper

13 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Hellenic Parliament

A beautiful columned building styled in the neo-classical Greek fashion, the Hellenic Parliament is an imposing building located in Syntagma Square in the centre of Athens. Completed in 1843, the Parliament building was originally the Royal Palace of Greece and was designed by German architect Friedrich von Gärtner for King Otto.

Hellenic Parliament history

Greece’s first national parliament followed shortly after the 1843 independent state was signed into the constitution by King Otto. The Old Royal Palace was completed in the same year – the first royal palace of modern Greece.

After being damaged in a fire in 1884 and again in 1909, extensive renovation work was necessary to restore the palace but political events and the onset of World War One served to continually delay this work. Upon the transition of Greece from a monarchy to a republic in 1924, the palace served a variety of purposes including: public services, a makeshift hospital during World War Two and a museum for King George I.

The new Government decided in 1929 that the palace would henceforth be used to house the Greek Parliament and it was therefore remodelled to suit this new purpose.

Hellenic Parliament today

Today the Hellenic Parliament is still in use as the centre of government as well as being open for visitors through pre-booked group tours. It remains a fine example of early neoclassicism and in front of the building is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which is guarded by Evzones, the Presidential Guard who wear the ‘fustanella’, or traditional full dress uniform.

On the hour you can see the Changing of the Guards which appears like a very slow dance and on Sundays at 11am the ceremony is much more elaborate and includes a marching band.

Getting to the Hellenic Parliament

Located in Athens’ central Syntagma Square, the Hellenic Parliament is easily found on foot or via public transport. In fact, an archaeological treasure trove was found when constructing the metro stop at Syntagma, which is along lines 2 and 3.

Otherwise you can get the T4 or T5 trams or the 025, 026, 027, 209, 227, 790, E14 and X14 buses to the square.

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