Greece has in recent weeks been ravaged by major forest fires because of a heat wave. In recent days, the flames have moved ever closer to the Greek royal palace of Tatoi. On August 4th 2021, the fire was so close that the Greek Minister of Culture, along with Prince Nikolaos of Greece, travelled to the palace to follow the situation from there.
On August 5th 2021, the fire moved dangerously close to the palace. The Greek Ministry of Culture therefore decided to order a full evacuation of the entire collection at the palace as well as documents and other objects of great value to save them from the fire. Only a few hours later, reports came that the fire had entered the royal park and that the royal cemetery by the palace was on fire. According to the President of the Association of Friends of Tatoi at that time the situation was extremely critical.
A battalion of firefighters was deployed to the garden of the palace and fought the fire through the night. Around four o’clock local time on the morning of August 6th 2021, the wind direction changed and the fire began to move away from the palace. The fire brigade believes that the Palace is currently out of immediate danger.
The palace houses more than 100,000 registered important historical objects. Efforts to evacuate these objects were halted as the winds changed direction. The evacuated objects will not be returned until the palace is completely out of danger, but so far, no new objects will be removed from the palace unless the fire returns. It is not yet known how much damage the royal cemetery has suffered, but witnesses have told Greek media that large parts of the royal park around the palace have been completely burned down.
Tatoi Palace was the summer home of the former Greek Royal Family. The area is a densely wooded southeast-facing slope of Mount Parnitha. It is located not far from the city centre of Athens. In June 2007, the Government of Greece said it intended to turn the former palace and grounds into a museum. The palace is currently undergoing extensive restorations.