Old Royal Palace

Overlooking Syntagma Square, this grand palace has been home to the Hellenic Government since 1934.

TravelCurious Tip

In front of the Old Royal Palace, you can watch soldiers performing the famous “Changing of the Guard” marching ritual.

The sharply imposing Old Royal Palace is hard to miss. Located on the central Athenian square, Syntagma, it has a large, boxlike Neoclassical design suited to its function as the seat of the Greek parliament, and dominates views of the square from every angle.

The palace was designed by architect Friedrich von Gärtner, under commission from King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and completed in 1843. There was some debate as to where it should be placed, and it was even suggested that it should be built on top of the Acropolis. Thankfully, Syntagma Square was the final decision, and it became the official residence of the Greek monarchy until its abolition in 1909, when it was extensively damaged in a large fire. While most of the royal family then moved to the Crown Prince’s Palace, one block east, a few older members remained there until the abolition of the monarchy in 1924.

A Palace of all Trades

The palace then cycled through a variety of uses, including a shelter for Greek refugees and a museum for the personal effects of King George I of Greece. It finally became the house of the Hellenic parliament in 1934, and has held the role ever since. It is not possible for visitors to enter the old palace today, and it is best simply appreciated as part of a visit to Syntagma Square.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Athens
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Commemorating soldiers who have died in service to Greece, this tomb is guarded 24 hours a day by the Evzones or Presidential Guard.
Ariston Bakery
Enjoy a coffee and a traditional pie in one of the oldest bakeries in Athens, operating since 1910.
Syntagma Square
The central square of Athens with the Greek Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is the place where most of the major events of the last two centuries have taken place.
Guard change at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier
The Evzonoi accompanied by a military band, march from their barracks behind the Parliament Building, to the Tomb of the Unknown soldier where the change of guard's ceremony takes place every Sunday.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens
The official church of Athens and the headquarters of the Archbishop of Greece.
Church of Virgin Mary Gorgoepekoos and Saint Eleutherius
Is a Byzantine-style church located at the Mitropoleos square, next to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.

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