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The current building, a neoclassical three-floor structure designed by Friedrich von Gärtner and completed in 1843, originally served as a palace for the Greek monarchs. After suffering fire damage in 1909, it entered a long period of renovation. Members of the royal family continued to reside there until 1924, when a referendum abolished the monarchy. The building was then used for many different purposes — functioning as a makeshift hospital and a museum, among other things — until November 1929, when the government decided that the building would instead house the Parliament. After more extensive renovations, the Senate convened in the "Old Palace" (Παλαιά Ανάκτορα) on 2 August 1934, followed by the Fifth National Assembly on 1 July 1935. Although the monarchy was restored that same year, the building has housed the Parliament ever since.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Μνημείο του Αγνώστου Στρατιώτη), guarded by the Evzones of the Presidential Guard, is located in the formal forecourt of the building. Construction of the monument began in 1929 and was inaugurated on March 25, 1932.
The main Chamber of Parliament, on the ground floor, is amphitheatrical in layout, and is panelled in purple and purple-veined white marble with inlaid gold ornaments. Seating for the MPs is arranged in five circular sectors. The Speaker's Chair, the lectern, the ministerial and state functionary benches, and the stenographers' vault are made of carved wood and are laid out facing the MP seats. A colonnaded balcony surrounds the upper tier of the Chamber and is used as the visitors' gallery. Part of it served as the Royal Box in the past. A vitrail roof provides natural light during daytime.
An almost identical, but smaller-scaled, Chamber was originally built in the second floor for use of the Senate. Since there has not been a Senate for several decades, this Chamber has no official function any more, and is used for party caucuses and other parliamentary or party functions on an ad hoc basis.
The building has two main entrances, the west-facing formal entrance, which faces the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Syntagma Square, and the east-facing business entrance, which faces the National Gardens. Improvements are ongoing, some of them significant (such as the addition of an 800-vehicle underground parking structure), to ensure that the building can continue to function effectively.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenic_Parliament)

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Viewed: 1902
Points: 20
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Additional Photos by Vasilis Protopapas (vasilpro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2742 W: 87 N: 5139] (41801)
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