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The main entrance to the Academy of Athens


The Academy of Athens


The Academy of Athens is part of the so-called "Neoclassical Trilogy" of the city of Athens. It consists of aesthetically distinct parts that form a harmonic ensemble. A corridor connects the two lateral wings to the main body of the building, which is set-off by its Ionian-style entrance and its big pediment. The entrance has elements originating from the eastern side of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis. The predominant material on the facets is marble.

It was built in two phases, in 1859-1863 and 1868-1885, based on studies of the Danish architect Theophile Hansen and it is believed to be his most exquisite work in Greece. Hansen himself was also supervising the construction up to 1861 when Ziller took over. The embossed compositions on the central pediment and the statues outside are works of the sculptor Drosis. The embossed compositions on the eight small pediments are work by Melnizki (1875) and the wall-paintings in the interior were made by Grupenckel.

The main donator to finance the construction was the family of the Baron Simon Sinas, Ambassador of Greece in Vienna, Berlin and Munich. In 1887, the architect Ernest Ziller, acting as proxy of Sinas' heirs, delivered the building complete to the then Prime Minister Charilaos Trikoupis. Top of the page


There are many sculptures in the Athens Academy. There are seated statues of Socrates and Plato in front of the building and the central pediment depicting the Athena looks out high above the front of the Academy of Athensbirth of Athena . The building’s emblem, the statues of Athena and Apollo on two high Ionic columns, are works of the sculptor Leonidas Drossis.

The eight small pediments on the sides of the building, by Franz Melnitzki, depict Athena offering art and science to the Athenians. The bust of donor Simon Sinas stands in front of the building among the gods of wisdom and light and the most eminent philosophers of Greek Antiquity. They were chosen to adorn the most important spiritual institution of Greece.

From time to time, preservation and restoration works take place. The facets, the statues and other decorating elements were cleaned in 1980 and the wooden roofs were restored between 1990 and 1992

Location map Panepistimiou
Nearest metro station Panepistimio Top of the page

The Vallianios National Library

The Library of AthensThe National Library also forms part of the so-called "Neoclassical Trilogy" of the city of Athens: the Academy, the University and the Library. It consists of three solid parts, out of which the one in the middle, which is also the biggest, houses the reading room. To enter this part, one has to pass through a Doric-style row of columns (designed after the Temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Agora of Thissio, which served as its model), after climbing a monumental curved double Renascence style staircase.

The reading hall of the National Library in AthensThe reading room, surrounded by Ionian-style columns, is covered by a glass ceiling. The cast-iron constructions of the bookstands were referred to as exceptional back in their time. In general, the building is considered to be a characteristic sample of mature Neoclassicism.

As early as in 1858, King Otto had ordered Hansen to make a study for the construction of a Library next to the University, that had already started being built. It was built between 1887 and 1902, based on a study of the Danish architect, Theophile Hansen, brother of Christian Hansen. Ernest Ziller was the supervising architect who also studied the entrance stairways and the main bookstands. The project was funded by the Vallianos brothers, Russian Greeks, while the Greek state contributed financially to the completion of the works.

The first public library in modern Greece was founded on the island of Aegina in 1829 by the then Governor I. Kapodistrias and in 1834 was moved to Athens where, before ending up next to the University building, it had been temporarily housed in various old buildings. In 1884 the then Prime Minister Charilaos Trikoupis took the final initiative in constructing the Library. Today, it houses the most complete public library of Greece.

Location map Panepistimiou
Nearest metro station Panepistimio Top of the page

The University of Athens The University of Athens

The National and Capodistrian University of Athens is the last part of the Neoclassical Trilogy. It was founded on 3 May 1837 and was housed in a residence of architect Stamatis Kleanthes, on the north east side of the Acropolis. It was the first University, not only in the newly established Greek State but also in all the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean in general. The "Othonian University", as it was called before taking its present name, "National and Capodistrian University of Athens", consisted of four faculties: theology, law, medicine and arts (which included applied sciences and mathematics). It had 33 professors, 52 students and 75 non-matriculateThe first university building now is the Museum of the Universityd "auditors". In November 1841, new classes began in a new building (at Panepistimiou), a design of the Danish architect Christian Hansen.

Between 1895 and 1911 an average of one thousand new students entered the faculties each year, a figure which rose to two thousand at the end of World War I. This led to the decision to introduce entrance examinations for all the faculties, beginning with the academic year 1927-28. Since 1954 the number of students admitted each year has been fixed by the Ministry of Education and Religion, by proposal of the faculties.

A major change in the structure of the University came about in 1904 when the faculty of arts was split into two separate faculties: that of arts and that of sciences, the latter consisting of the departments of physics and mathematics and the school of pharmacy. In 1919 a department of chemistry was added and in 1922 the school of pharmacy was renamed a department. A further change came about when the school of dentistry was added to the faculty of medicine. In the 1960's construction work began on the University campus in the suburb of Ilissia. The Ilissia campus now houses the schools of philosophy, theology and sciences

Painting above the entrance of the university representing different sciencesThe university consists of a group of buildings that shape up a double "T", with two symmetrical courtyards. The facade is strictly symmetrical to the arcade of rectangular pillars, set-off by an Ionian-style entrance. The bases of the columns and the capitals of the entrance are perfect replicas of the equivalent found in the propylaea of the Acropolis. The outside statues complete the entrance's composition.

The building now serves as headquarters of the university of Athens, housing the offices of the rectorate, the juridical department, the archives and the ceremonial hall for official ceremonies that refer to the university community. With a wide offer of intelligence to Greek and foreign students, today the university fulfills its leading role as an important European university.

Location map Panepistimiou
Nearest metro station Panepistimio Top of the page

The Student Club of the University The Student Club
of the University of Athens

The building of the student club was constructed in the period between the two World Wars, with plans based on the study drawn in 1927 by the architect E. Lazarides. Today, it belongs to the National and Capodistrian University.

By a ministerial decree of 1988, the building was identified as a work of art because of its eclectic elements on its facets and of its important theater housed in its ground-floor (which is important for the study of the theatrical development).

In 1991, its facets were restored after some rotten varnished parts started falling down. The restoration study was conducted by the technical services of the university of Athens.

Today, the building houses shops and the students' theatre in the ground-floor and the first floor, the students' restaurant on the second and third floors, and offices on the fifth floor.

Location map Ippokratous & Akadimias streets
Nearest metro station Panepistimio Top of the page

   The Academy of Athens
   The National Library
   The University of Athens
   The Student Club

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