The Zappeion Gardens are surrounded by the streets Irodou Attikou, Vasileos Konstantinou, Vasilissis Olgas, and Vasilissis Amalias and the National Gardens. The Zappeion Gardens are comprised of:
- 83.000 square meters of planted area (soft surfaces)
- 41.000 square meters of paved surfaces
- 2400 square meters of atriums and patios
The hills of Ardittos and Agras which surround the Panathinaic Stadium, are also controlled and maintained by the Olympia and Bequests Committee. The hills are woodlands of approximately 70.000 square meters. In 1907, the Panathinaic Stadium, the property of the Olympia and Bequests Committee, was rendered to the Olympic Games Committee (todays Greek Olympic Committee) for its use.
The first trees in the Zappeion Gardens were planted in 1857. The architect Theodore Hansen, while revising the drawings for the Zappeion Exhibition Hall, also designed the layout of the gardens. According to architectural historian Constantine E. Biris, the design was executed by the French Architect Desire Matton incorporating some changes.
The Zappeion Gardens, initially in French geometrical style, were later redesigned in the free curved lines of the English garden. The planting was supervised by the Athenian agriculturist Antionios Schmitt, son of the Bavarian chief-gardener of the Kings Garden Frederik Schmitt.
The wish of Evangelis Zappas was to bring out the beauty of the idyllic and historical landscape of the Ilissos riverside area.
Initially almost 200 plane trees were planted together with several eucalyptus. The irrigation of the gardens was established in 1932 by the American company Ulen, then responsible for the construction of the Marathon Dam. To commemorate the inauguration of the Dam, Ulen donated the impressive fountain at the centre of the garden square in front of the Zappeion Exhibition Hall. The distinguished sculptor G. Dimitriades completed the decoration of the gardens with waterworks, statues and cast-iron lamp-posts.
The Olympia and Bequests Committee in its effort to restore and refurbish the gardens proceeded with, and for the first time, made an account of the existing flora of both the Zappeion Gardens and the Ardittos and Agras hills. Based on the 1956 plans, 14.000 square meters of turf were reintroduced together with complementary vegetation along the fences and the edges. Furthermore, additional complementary planting was carried out on existing rows of trees along with the necessary enrichment utilizing new species of trees and bushes.
In 2005, the O&BC established the introduction of Organic Gardening methods for the Zappeion Gardens, implementing the principles of Biological Agriculture, in cooperation with DIO. This includes compost making through the recycling of garden waste and monitoring of insect population using traps. All fertilisers and sprays used in the Zappeion Gardens are biological and friendly to the environment in accordance with international law.
The drilling of three new bore-holes brought more water to the gardens, thus improving the condition of the plants. An underwater pump supplies the main 160 cubic meter capacity cistern with water at a rate of 15 cubic meters per hour and hence the new underground irrigation network. The modern automatic-remote control watering system catering to the lawn and edgings, manages to maintain the plants even during periods of high temperatures.
Emphasis has been given to the improvement of the electric lighting and the maintenance and enhancement of the garden and street furniture i.e. benches throughout the Zappeion Gardens.
THE ZAPPEION PLAYGROUND
The Zappeion Gardens have a new Playground with contemporary equipment and toys adhering to international safety standards. Special installations and toys are designed for use by handicapped children. Playing areas are zoned off with pebbles, turf and other materials. The premises are fenced by a stone parapet wall with a traditional iron balustrade. The entrance area is laid with cobble-stones. A special ramp provides access for handicapped persons. The recently renovated wc also caters to handicapped persons.
With new Virtual Tour cloud application, you can walk around the different spaces in Zappeion Megaron, just like being there!