Next to Megaron the Athens Concert Hall, Eleftherias Park rises above the busy Vasilissis Sofias avenue, in an architecturally diverse area of Athens that features grand embassies, hospitals, majestic neoclassical residences and imposing modern buildings. Distinguishing features of the park are the statue of prominent Greek politician Eleftherios Venizelos, created by sculptor G. Pappas, as well as the grass mounds that “draw the line” between the fast pace of the avenue and the quiet beauty of the scenery in the park and the surrounding area, looking up to Lycabettus Hill and Mount Hymettus.
The park is an oasis in the heart of Athens; it is well maintained and offers recreation and relaxation – a meeting point and ideal destination for a beneficial break, a summer afternoon walk or a cultural outing.
In the back of Eleftherias Park, drowning in greenery and colourful flowers, stand the four stone buildings that have been declared protected for their rich history: during the Balkan wars they were military quarters and later during the Greek dictatorship they were detention centers. The park, which was named “Eleftherias” (Freedom) Park precisely because many fighters for democracy were tortured and suffered here during the military junta, is now a place of remembrance and culture.
Apart from the memorial, here you will find the Athens Municipality Arts Centre, which hosts individual and group art exhibitions (painting, sculpture, engraving, photography, video art et al.). Residents and visitors of Attica also have the opportunity to attend music and theatre performances that are held every year in the beautiful open space in front of the building.
Right next to the Arts Centre stands the two-storey, neoclassical building that houses the “Eleftherios Venizelos” Museum, founded in 1984. The museum’s collection features documents from the era in which the significant Greek statesman lived, his portraits, photographs, letters, personal items, furniture, archives and evidence of historical events.
Behind the “Eleftherios Venizelos” Museum are the memorial and the Museum of Anti-dictatorial and Democratic Resistance that showcases photographs, evidence and personal items of the junta dissidents. The building – the detention facilities, the interrogation and torture quarters – remains the same as it was back then, a reminder of that era’s imprint.
Combine your visit to Eleftherias Park with an outing for food or drink, at the all-day café-restaurant that is open for breakfast and coffee, a light lunch or an evening cocktail.
For more information, visit:
“Eleftherios Venizelos” Museum (From June 2020 the museum remains closed due to building restoration and exhibition redevelopment work, and is expected to reopen for the public in 2021.)
Photo: GNTO, Yannis Skoulas