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.
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