Botanical Museum of the National Garden – Athens, Greece - Atlas Obscura

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Botanical Museum of the National Garden

This small museum once served as a royal hunting pavilion for King Otto Friedrich Ludwig.  


When the first royal palace of modern Greece was being designed, Queen Amalia assumed oversight of the design of the Royal Gardens. Upon seeing Amalia’s proposed design King Otto, a hunting enthusiast, noticed that the far end of the gardens were near an area he had hunted birds in the past. Based on this, Otto decided to have a small building added to the garden plans to serve as a hunting pavilion for his nearby hunting trips.

The Royal Gardens were completed in 1839. A small but impressive two-story neoclassical building was completed in the 1840s within the gardens to serve as a hunting pavilion. The building was used on numerous occasions until Otto was deposed in 1862. The building was mostly abandoned after the king’s reign until it was converted into the Botanical Museum of the National Garden in 1984. The name of the Royal Gardens was changed after the restoration of democracy in 1975.  

The building’s ground floor displays a collection of dried foliage from over 500 varieties of plants that have been planted in the garden, as well as drawings and old archival photographs that showcase the history of the National Garden. The upper floor displays a variety of decorative specimens and watercolors of plants painted by the botanist P. Kantartzis in 1856.

Know Before You Go

The museum is located within the National Gardens. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm. Due to its small size, the museum is often closed during maintenance or other service needs. It's also closed during select holidays and other days of national significance. Admission is free.

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April 14, 2021

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