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National Observatory of Athens

Although remotely it is reminiscent of a church, it is the National Observatory in a building of neoclassical architecture.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    1842 Commenced its construction beginning –day of total solar eclipse- funded by Baron Georgios Sinas.

    1846 The construction was completed.

    1890 It was transformed into a state foundation, and the meteorological service was created by Dimitrios Aeginitis.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

It has been characterized as a historic monument. While for a lot of people it resembles to an orthodox church, it is the oldest research foundation of Balkans, operating until nowadays. It is a neoclassical building with simple and harmonious proportions. It features a cross shaped lay-out orientated towards the four cardinal points, whereas the observation tower lies at the centre.

What I can't see

While initially it was meant to be constructed on top of Lycabettus Hill, this plan changed and the winner proposition was the one that wanted it to be built on Nymphon Hill, although there have been certain counter arguments as to the fact that the latter lies within an archaeological site. According to a legend, Meton, an Athenian astronomer of the 5th century B.C. was observing the stars from that hill. Athens Observatory was originally conceived by Schaubert, but  his drawings did not please King Otto. Then, Theophil Hansen took over after his own drawings were approved. It is quite remarkable that Athens got to procure an observatory during a period when  other enormous shortcomings of basic infrastructure, such as sewage network, schools and hospitals was the everyday reality. The first astronomical instruments came from Austria, and Greek astronomers could subsequently make their observations more accurately.



Archaeology of the city of Athens, (d.u.), Αστεροσκοπείο Αθηνών- Λόφος Νυμφών, [Athens observatory- Nymfon hill],,,

Last visit 1/7/2012

Yohalas T., Kafetzaki Τ., (2013), Αθήνα, Ιχνηλατώντας την πόλη με οδηγό την ιστορία και τη λογοτεχνία [Athens, Tracing the city guided by history and literature], ESTIA Bookstore

Markogianni Μ., (1996), Ματιές στην Αθήνα που έφυγε, [Glances at the Athens that is gone], v.2, Filippoti publication

Biris K. H. (1966), Αι Αθήναι από του 19ου εις τον 20ον αιώνα, [Athens from the 19th up to the 20th century], 5th edition 2005, Athens, Melissa

Unsigned, (2014), Navigating the routes of Art and Culture, Part 1, Athens, Ministry of Culture and Sports