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Athens’ Unknown Palace Everyone Should Visit

Pyrgos Vassilisis is in a stunning estate including large gardens, stables, a castle and a winery. And it’s in Athens!

This is the kind of place where, once you arrive, you can’t help but look around wide-eyed and wonder if you’re still in Athens. Located in the Ilion area, the estate was built in the early 19th century- by commission of Queen Amalia, the wife of King Otto of Greece, as her summer abode.

Surrounded by lush gardens with beautiful neoclassical fountains, statues, fruit trees and a wide array of flowers, the estate welcomes visitors daily. It is an idyllic place to go for a stroll, visit the well-kept horses of the royal stables, admire the olive groves and even plan a wine-tasting as there is an organic on-site vineyard.

Queen Amalia, who also commissioned the creation of the beautiful National Gardens, one of the city’s most refreshing and scenic parks with an enormous variety of flora, was a progressive thinker. She discovered the 30-hectare land where Pyrgos Vassilisis, designed by French architect Francois-Louis-Florimond Boulanger, now stands, when exploring the city on horseback. Her vision was to create an agricultural zone using modern farming methods, which is exactly what she achieved, and even today the land is fruitful with produce.

The fairy-tale-like castle where she rested and retreated (she never lived there) amid her busy schedule organising the estate is modelled on the Bavarian, gothic-style Hohenschwangau castle and is a treat to explore. With beautiful paintings, furniture and ceiling art, unique marquetry on the floors and walls embellished with elaborate designs, the castle is an excellent way to time-travel to an aesthetically magnificent era.

A: Dimokratias Ave 67, Ilion, 13122. +30 210 2313 607.

All images courtesy of Pyrgos Vasilissis FB



The Athens Guide

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