Visit the National Library of Greece in Athens

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Athens, Greece is rich in history and literature. Put these two things together and you have the National Library of Greece. The National Library of Greece in Athens is the custodian of the Greek literary heritage. The library works to bring the past, present, and future together. Here’s what you should know about the National Library of Greece.

Visit the National Library of Greece

Before you enter the National Library of Greece, you will admire the building and its brilliant example of neoclassical architecture. The decorations on top of the building, the statues at ground levels and the location of the building make it an area to explore. The inside of the National Library will equally impress you. Several floors are visible when you stand in the lobby.

While you’re in the area visiting the National Library you might want to check out the other two buildings that belong to the trio: the Academy of Athens and the original building of Athens University.

About the National Library of Greece in Athens

Located near the center of Athens, the National Library of Greece was founded by Ioannis Kapodistrias and designed by Danis architect Theophil Freiherr von Hansen. It was part of his Trilogy of neoclassical buildings that included the Academy of Athens and the original building of Athens University.

The original idea for the National Library was from Johann Jakob Mayer in 1824. In 1829, Kapodistrias would implement this idea. He would group together the National Library with schools, national museums, and printing houses. By the end of 1830, the library, which was now named National Library by Andreas Moustoxydis, has 1,018 volumes of works. In 1834, the growing library was moved to Athens from the island of Aegina. The National Library would first be housed in the public bath of the Roman Agora of Athens and then moved to the Panagia Gorgoepikoos Church. I

In 1842, the Public Library merged with Athens University Library. They would be housed with the currency collection at Otto’s University. In 1888, the foundation stone for a new marble building was laid. The construction of the building was overseen by Ernst Ziller. The Library would stay in the older university building until 1903.

The National Library of Greece has one of the greatest collections of Greek scripts including 4,500 Greek manuscripts. There are archives of the Greek Revolution and a codex of the four Gospels that are attributed to scribe Matthew. Also at the National Library of Greece is Flora Graeca Sibthorpiana by English botanist John Sibthorp, The Large Etymological Dictionary, a historic Byzantine dictionary, the first publication of Homer’s epics and hymns, and much more.

In 2018, the majority of the library was relocated to a larger location. The building is at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center on the Phaleron Bay “Delta.”

The quickest way to get around Athens is via the Metro. Athens public transportation is affordable and reliable. It also covers a good portion of the city, so getting to the National Library won’t be any trouble.

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