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President opened the doors of his residence for visitors

29 March 2010 / 10:03:54  GRReporter
2538 reads

Marina Nikolova

For the first time President Karolos Papoulyas open the doors of his residence. 1000 visitors were able to visit the gardens of the presidency on Sunday from 10:00AM to 02:00PM. Long queues formed in front of the gates and people waited patiently to pass through security so they can walk in the park alleys in front of the residency. 

Yesterday people were saying “the President made a grand gesture" or "oh, we did not even imagine that the park is so big”. The Residence will be open during the upcoming weeks, every Sunday morning between 10:00AM and 02:00PM and people will be able to enter if they have an ID or passport. 

Coming to visit the gardens of the presidency were older retirees, who just wanted to take a Sunday walk, families with young children, young people, who came to take photos and a few tourists. The Presidential guards vigilantly watch everybody so the grass is not stepped on. Despite the willingness of people to be photographed in front of the statues that are scattered among the meadows, the security comes right away to remind them that they should not step on the grass. The visit of the gardens of the Presidential residence has a symbolic importance for the visitors, especially now when the country is in crisis. For them, the visit has also historical value - this is the first time the residence opens its doors to visitors. 

So far the only ones who could see the gardens in front of the presidential residence were the ones invited each year to the July 24 celebration of the anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1974 Even though last year President Karolos Papoulyas changed protocol and the feast was marked with a simple ceremony inside  the residence. Of course visitors were looking at the windows of the building with the thought that they will see the president, but this week that was impossible since Mr. Papoulyas went on a visit in Mesolongi. 

The gardens and the residence building itself were designed by the famous architect Ernesto Chiller. Most trees and plants spread at an area of 25 acres in the gardens are representative of the Greek flora, selected from a botanist. Interestingly, the park in front of the residence was originally a vegetable garden of the royal palaces (the present Parliament building). But in 1897, it sheltered the palace of the heir, which is the presidential residence made to resemble a large town house. 

The plants in the garden are about 140 different species of trees, shrubs, climbing plants. Some are rare, and most of the trees and cypresses, in particular, which rise majestically along the alleys, were planted more than one hundred years ago. The garden has a strict geometric shape, with symmetrical large pots of seasonal flowers islets. 



The entrance to the residence for visitors is from 2 St. Vasileos Georgiou II Street 

Telephone for group visits: 210-7283289 and 210-7224939

Tags: Greece Presidential residence Presidential gardens Karolos Papoulyas
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