The Pedion tou Areos or Pedion Areos (Greek: Πεδίον του Άρεως or Πεδίον Άρεως, pronounced [peˈðion tu ˈareos], meaning Field of Ares, corresponding to the French Champ de Mars and the ancient Campus Martius), located at Kypseli, is one of the largest public parks in Athens, Greece.
The park was designed in 1934 and its purpose was to honor the heroes of the Greek Revolution of 1821, 21 of whom are depicted in marble busts standing in the park. The initial plan included the construction of a “Pantheon” for the revolutionaries and also a major Christian temple, dedicated to Greek independence.
The park is a state-owned public ground, covering an area of 27.7 hectares, and is located about 1 km NE from the Omonoia Square. Today, it is enclosed by the streets Mavromateon, Evelpidon, Pringiponisson and the Alexandras Avenue. In front of the main entrance of the park there has been an equestrian statue of king Constantine I since 1938. At the other entrance, near Alexandras Avenue, stands a memorial to the English, Australian and New Zealander soldiers who fought in the Battle of Greece in the Second World War. The memorial is surmounted by a statue of goddess Athena. A total renovation of the park was completed in December 2010.
These premises were the primary meeting spot for Athenians during the time of the first king of modern Greece, Otto. In 1927 the area was given to the newly created Commission for Public Gardens and Trees of Athens to transform it into a park like the National Garden.
The commission, however, decided first to improve Thiseion and the National Garden and six years later, in 1933, the works to reform the park began, financed by the restricted funds that were left. The works stopped due to severe administrative problems, as well as severe lack of funds. The then-new governmental institution Special Funds for Permanent Pavements of Athens decided (law 6171/1934) to undertake the costs. A. Dimitrakopoulos, director of the Ministry of Communications, was appointed to prepare a general plan for the park and did so based on the styles of English and French parks popular at that time. N. Vosiniotis was appointed to implement the new plans. Special care was taken not to impede the view of the Acropolis from any central points in the park; however, no limit on the height of the surrounding buildings was enforced.
The work of planting and upgrading began in 1935 and continued through the Metaxas Regime until 1940, when Greece entered World War II. During those five years, 46000 trees and bushes were planted. Continuing the plan, deciduous trees were planted to afford the park shade in the summer and sunlight during the winter.
In the central square of the park there is a fountain surrounded by many plants that thrive in the Mediterranean climate and create beautiful natural colour combinations, corresponding to each season. After the end of the war, in October 1944, irrigation was provided for the park.
The Hellenic Military Geographical Service and the sport camp of Panellinios G.S. can be found at the SW part of the park, in the direction of Kipseli. Inside the park there are also two churches, a playground and the open theater ‘Aliki’ that is used for plays, events and concerts. One of Athens’ most historic cafeterias, Green Park, is also located in the park.
Distance: 1 km
Access: On foot
ETA: 13 minutes