Old University complex

DESTINATIONS kolonaki old-university-complex


Old University complex

In the sea of concrete that is central Athens, this imposing group of marble buildings conjures up an illusion of classical antiquity. The three dramatic buildings belonging to the University of Athens were designed by the Hansen brothers in the period after independence in the 19th century and are built of white Pendelic marble, with tall columns and decorative friezes. In the center is the Senate House of the university. To the right is the Academy, flanked by two slim columns topped by statues of Athena and Apollo; paid for by the Austro-Greek Baron Sina, it is a copy of the Parliament in Vienna. Frescoes in the reception hall depict the myth of Prometheus. At the left end of the complex is a griffin-flanked staircase leading to the National Library, containing more than 2 million Greek and foreign-language volumes and now undergoing the daunting task of modernization. The University complex, as well as Syntagma Square, often serves as the meeting point for protest groups before their marches through the city center, so don't be surprised if city traffic come to a halt when marchers stride by (during certain times of the year, there are at least one or two marches a week, much to the chagrin of Athenians).


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