Athens is one of those cities that keeps on rediscovering itself, and in no way is that an exaggeration. There’s probably stuff underneath the ground to fill several dozen more museums, and even though that might be an exaggeration, its not actually that much of a boast. Athens keeps on throwing curve balls, and for most people that is one of the intangibles of traveling. Imagine walking around the city center and just bumping into random Doric columns just standing pretty in between trees and cafes. You know, no big deal, just another relic. Well, Athens is much more than marble and history and freddo cappuccinos.
Tucked away in the neighborhood of Votanikos, lies Diomidis Botanical gardens. The story of this garden is neat and considering the world’s first botanical garden was actually conceived by a man named Theophrastos back in the 4th century BC it’s fitting to tell this story. The man behind it was one of many Greek benefactors with loads of money, who wanted something nice for Athens. Alexandros Diomidis bequeathed his fortune to this simple yet genius idea in 1950, however it was German botanist Karl Nikolas Fraas who initially constructed the original patch (still intact to this day) in 1840. Within the 186 hectares of greenery one can find over 19,000 dried plant samples and more than 500 types of flora.
Not that many people are aware of its existence, and that’s definitely strange, however 30,000 students make the pilgrimage each year, adding to the question of why isn’t this place more advertised. For a park that boasts of being the largest of its kind in the eastern med it is staggering for sure.
If you’re out and about in Athens these days, make the Diomidis Botanical gardens one of your stops. You’re assured that it wont be busy and if you’re with family it could prove to be a relaxing option and a secret destination that could go down a treat with your Instagram fans. You heard it here first, folks.