OF THE MANSION
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 Royal Palace (now Parliament building).
After the erection of the mansion in 1897 and the construction of Herodon Attikou Street, the area surrounding the Crown Prince’s Palace was fashioned into a large ornamental garden. The planning appears to have been assigned to Ziller’s technical office. The selection of suitable plants, though, must have been entrusted to a Greek specialist, since most of the trees are native to Greece.
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.
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 towards Herodon Attikou Street is alleviated by the perennial plane trees, lindens, palms and cypress trees.
A wide marble staircase leads to the larger part of the garden, which is on the lower level. The symmetry has been preserved here also with the main point of reference being a long path with high cypress trees that leads to a swimming pool and a pavillion. To the right and the left of the path there are lawns, stepped terraces, flower beds and areas with trees and bushes. Around the entire garden high trees have been planted next to the railings, to ensure the necessary privacy from the surrounding roads.
In general, the botanic composition of the garden is quite rich, since it includes about one hundred and forty species and varieties of ornamental trees, bushes, climbing plants etc. Some of these plants are rare. Many of the trees in the garden, such as the cypress trees, are more than a hundred years old.