This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
The Hellenic Parliament or “Old Royal Palace” is the first royal palace of modern Greece, completed in 1843. It has housed the Hellenic Parliament since 1934 and is situated in the heart of modern Athens, facing Syntagma Square.
Bavarian architect, Friedrich von Gartner, designed the palace for King Otto of Greece and his wife, Queen Amalia, with funds donated by Otto’s father, King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Because the building served as a palace for the Greek monarchs for about a century, it is sometimes still referred to as the “Old Palace.”
A fire in 1909 severely damaged the palace, and the building entered a long period of renovation. Because of this, the King and his family moved to the Crown Prince’s Palace, from then on known as the “New Palace,” one block to the east.
But in 1924, a referendum abolished the monarchy. The building was then used for many different purposes, housing a variety of government and public services. It became a makeshift hospital during World War II, a refugee shelter for Greeks from Asia Minor in 1922, a museum with the personal effects of King George I (now part of the collection of the National Historical Museum), and many other things.
In November 1929, the government decided that the building would permanently house Parliament. After more extensive renovations, the Senate convened in the “Old Palace” on 2 August 1934. Although the monarchy was restored that same year, the building has housed Parliament ever since.
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