23 January 2018
History of the Parliament Building

The history of the impressive building of the Hellenic Parliament is intimately linked to the history of the Modern Greek state. Initially a Palace, it was transformed, a century later, to the Parliament and Senate building. Today it houses the Hellenic Parliament, a symbol and a part of collective memory.

From 1836 to 1862

After the selection of Otto, prince of Bavaria, as King of Greece, and the relocation of the Greek capital to Athens, it was decided to build the palace on Boubounistra Hil -a location in the town center, facing the Acropolis and the outskirts of Athens- proposed by the director of the Munich Academy of Arts and official architect of the Bavarian court, Friedrich von Gaertner (1791-1847) (more information)

From 1862 to 1922

Following the expulsion of Otto in 1862, the Palace housed the new king, George Ι. Several additions and modifications were made mainly of two damaging fires in 1884 and in1909. After the assassination of King George I in 1913, the Crown Prince Constantine I as the new king went on using his own residence, the Mansion on Herodou Atticou Street, which today is the official residence of the President of the Republic (more information)

Transitional Period

1922 marks a watershed for the building. Immediately after 1922, public bodies, private charities and international organizations responsible for administering the aftermath of the Asia Minor Disaster were all housed in the building. The decision in 1928 to erect the Monument to the Unknown Soldier, designed by the architect Emmanuel Lazarides, changed the relation of the building to its surrounding area dramatically (more information)

From Old Palace to Building of the Hellenic Parliament

In November 1929, the government of Eleftherios Venizelos decided to relocate the two chambers of Parliament, the Parliament proper and the Senate to the old Palace Building. The turning of the Old Palace to a Parliament and Senate Building was realized by the architect Andreas Kriezis, and constitutes the most radical transformation after its initial construction (more information)

The first parliamentary session in the brand new Plenum Hall took place on 1 July 1935. The Hellenic Parliament has been housed in the building ever since.

The Hellenic Parliament today

Since 1975 the modernization of the building continues apace. The aim is the best possible function of its departments, with the use of new technological tools and modern and upgraded equipment.

The most important infrastructural change during recent years was the construction of a five storey parking under the perimeter of the building. Among the most important additions to the building’s exterior was the addition of the statues of Charilaos Trikoupes and Eleftherios Venizelos, to the western courtyard, both of them works of Yiannes Pappas, and visible from a great distance. The Mother, by Chrestos Kapralos, was placed in the eastern courtyard in 2003. 

Monument of the Battle of the Pindhos (1940-1941), by Chrestos Kapralos, a 40 meter long bas relief, was placed in the lobby of the Plenum Hall in 2002. It narrates as a seven-fold structure, the Battle of the Pindhos, passing from Peace to War, Occupation, Resistance, and ending in Peace and Reconciliation. It makes for an intriguing contrast with the frieze in the Eleftherios Venizelos Hall. Restoration and conservation work in this Hall as well as in the Plenum Hall, Senate Room and MPs Lounge was completed fairly recently (more information)