Zappeion Hall & Gardens
ΤΟ ΖΑΠΠΕΙΟΝ ΜΕΓΑΡΟ ΚΑΙ ΟΙ ΚΗΠΟΙ ΤΟΥ ΖΑΠΠΕΙΟΥ
Evangelis Zappas was a visionary, but his will demonstrated the pragmatic side of his character. Drawn up in 1860, just a year after the First Olympiad, his will proved that he not only understood the need for trade and industrial exhibitions, but also expressed a comprehensive view regarding their protection and upgrading.
Clear-sighted and experienced, the financially independent, discerning and patriotic, Zappas may have had a better idea of the scope of the institution he was setting up than those who were actually involved in it. This was why, in his will, he took care to emphasize that not only his relatives, but “every Greek, without exception, has the right to be on the alert regarding execution of the provisions of my present will and to oblige by law those who oppose them to make restitution and restore the said provisions.”
The building may have had a turbulent history, but no less so than the uses to which it was put. Rarely did it fulfill its initial purpose, and indeed it remained closed and deserted for years. During the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, the fencing events were hosted in its circular atrium; during the second International Olympic Games in 1906, the lack of infrastructure and facilities led to its being used as the "Olympic Village". In addition, starting in 1938 and for the next 40 years, it hosted E.I.R. the country's first state radio station. In 1940 it was converted into a hospital; the following year it was commandeered by the German army after which it became a storehouse and later barracks (1944). It was even bombed during the same year. After the war, there were discussions of demolishing it. Fortunately, in 1960, general repairs were carried out and again the most recent renovation was in preparation of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The Zappeion Exhibition Hall has witnessed the history of Athens for the past 120 years. It has been a key site for some of the nation's most significant moments, and has always been integrally linked to the Olympic Movement. Even though its uses were varied, it has become a landmark in the Greek capital, thus fulfilling the donor's initial wishes.
The First Olympia (1859) leaned toward economic development, the Second promoted developing education (1870). The Third Olympia (1875) was directly influenced by the political turmoil in Greece at that period. Through the organization and planning by the Olympia and Bequests Committee, a broad network of municipal Olympic committees was created at the time, which disseminated the institution to all the provinces in the country and abroad. Endless discussions, professional rivalries and delays in completing the Zappeion Exhibition Hall created a gap of 13 years between the Third and Fourth Olympiads.
The coincidence of the celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of George I’s reign with the last Olympia, even though the anniversary celebrations overshadowed the latter’s events, created an unprecedented atmosphere of exhilaration and enthusiasm in the capital. Contributing to this spirit was the most significant art exhibition to date, which was part of the cultural contests.
Zappeion has served as HQs for the Greek EU Presidency and the Press Center for the Ministry of the Press during the 2004 Olympic Games.
Zappeion Exhibition Hall has approximately 4,000 square meters of space suitable for exhibitions and conferences. A central atrium of 984 square meters that can be used for conferences, concerts, cocktail parties and sit-down dinners for up to 350 persons. There are two interior open courtyards of 957 square meters each which are utilized as service areas. Rooms 14 and 5 have two rows of conference tables with microphones and headsets which seat 80 persons. The Rooms also feature translation booths and facilities for showing videos or slide shows. The Zappeion Exhibition Hall is suitable for art exhibitions and antique shows, product and services exhibitions, book fairs and educational exhibitions. To visit the site of the Roman Baths by the Zappeion, visit this page. For Sculpture at Zappeion Gardens, visit this page.
Right across from the Zappeion Hall & Gardens and just a couple of hundred yards away from Syntagma Square, the Athens Key highly recommends Inn (n) Hotel. Book here! A design hotel, reviewed as superb by hundreds of Booking guests, and enjoying a central, yet quiet location, Inn (n) Hotel features 22 high-design exceptional rooms, each individually decorated room with Cocomat mattresses and linens. The marble bathrooms come with Olive amenities, while rooms are also equipped with a satellite, flat-screen TV, free WiFi, AC and safe. Inn (n) Hotel serves traditional Greek breakfast in the morning and a 24-hour front desk and room service are available.
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