Designed by the famous Danish architect Theophil Freiherr von Hansen in 1878, the Zappeion Palace was named after Evangelos Zappa, a businessman from Epirus who played a major role in the launch of the Zappeion Olympic Games, which paved the way for the modern Olympic Games. He offered to finance the revival of the modern Olympic Games and soon the first modern Olympic Games were held at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens in 1896.
The Zappeion building is a tribute to this great man who brought the Olympic Games back to the modern world. Having played the role of the official Olympic Village for the 1896 Olympic Games and hosting the fencing events, the Zappeion building is now used for public exhibitions, wine tasting, trade fairs, business meetings and cultural events. Many international conferences are also hosted at Zappeion. It should be noted that it was here that Greece’s accession to the European Union was signed in 1979 by then Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis.
The classical architecture of this building is absolutely breathtaking. With an open oval-shaped space flanked by a two-storey colonnade, the building is painted in traditional rust colours, a feature common to many ancient Greek buildings. One of the most famous exhibitions held here was that of the Olympic Torches, an extremely interesting collection. The Zappeion Palace is easily accessible by buses that run frequently from Syntagma Square. A walk in the National Garden is definitely a must.
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