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The Zappeion Exhibition Hall over time
The building has had a turbulent history, but no less so than the uses to which it was put. Rarely did it fulfill its initial purpose, and indeed it remained closed and deserted for years.
During the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, the fencing events were hosted in its circular atrium; during the second International Olympic Games in 1906, the lack of infrastructure and facilities led to its being used as the "Olympic Village".
In addition, starting in 1936 and for the next 40 years, it hosted the country's first state radio station. In 1940 it was converted into a hospital; the following year it was commandeered by the German occupation army after which it became a storehouse and later a barracks (1944). It was even bombed during the same year.
After the war, the possibility was discussed of demolishing it. Fortunately, in 1960, general repairs were carried out under the supervision of architects A. Ploumistos and F. Panagiotopoulos. The most recent renovation was carried out in connection with the Olympic Games of 2004 which were held in Athens.
The Zappeion Exhibition Hall has witnessed the history of Athens for the past 120 years. It has been a key site for some of the nation's most significant moments, and has always been integrally linked to the Olympic Movement. Even though its uses were varied, it has become a landmark in the Greek capital, thus fulfilling the donor's initial wishes.