The historical background
The Palace of the Old Parliament is a historic building in the heart of Athens, Greece. Located on Stadiou Street, the building is a prime example of neoclassical architecture and currently houses the National Historical Museum. In the square outside of the palace stands the statue of Theodoros Kolokotronis, the commander-in-chief of the Greek Revolution of 1821.
The building has a long and storied history. It was originally the home of the Athenian banker and politician Alexandros Kontostavlos. After the capital of Greece was moved from Nafplio to Athens in 1833, King Otto chose the building as his temporary residence while his palace was being constructed. In 1835, a large ballroom and banqueting hall were added, and after the Revolution of 1843, the National Delegation met in the building. Tragically, in October 1854, the building was destroyed by fire.
Construction of the current building began in 1858, with plans by the French architect François Boulanger. However, the project was halted due to financial constraints and was only completed in 1871, with modifications by Greek architect Panagiotis Kalkos. The Greek Parliament met in the building from 1875 until it was moved to its current location in 1935. During this time, the building was witness to significant events in modern Greek history, such as the assassination of Prime Minister Theodoros Diligiannis in 1905 and the proclamation of the Second Hellenic Republic in 1924.
After the Hellenic Parliament was relocated, it was decided to grant the building to the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece to operate the National Historical Museum. However, during the German Occupation, the Ministry of Justice was temporarily housed in the building. After the war, the building was renovated and officially became the National Historical Museum in 1962.
Today, visitors to the Old Parliament can see the impressive neoclassical architecture of the building and learn about Greek history at the National Historical Museum. The statue of Theodoros Kolokotronis outside of the building is also a popular attraction.
What is National Historical Museum of Athens about
The museum is home to a vast collection of artifacts, documents, and artworks that tell the story of modern Greece. From the days of the Ottoman Empire to the present day, the museum covers a wide range of historical periods and events, providing a fascinating insight into the country’s rich and complex history.
One of the highlights of the museum is the gallery dedicated to the Greek War of Independence, which began in 1821. Here, visitors can see a range of artifacts and artworks that tell the story of the uprising against Ottoman rule and the establishment of the modern Greek state.
Another highlight is the gallery dedicated to the life and work of Eleftherios Venizelos, one of Greece’s most influential political figures. Venizelos was a key player in the country’s history, serving as prime minister on several occasions and playing a key role in the national struggle for independence.
The museum also has a number of galleries dedicated to specific historical periods and events, including the Greek Revolution of 1843, the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, and the Second World War. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions, so there is always something new to see and discover.
Want to know more about Greek politics?
Overall, the National Historical Museum of Athens is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in the history and culture of modern Greece. Located in the beautiful Old Parliament House, the museum offers a unique and fascinating insight into the country’s rich and complex past. So make sure to add it to your itinerary when visiting Athens!
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