National Observatory


Location: Thissio   

The National Observatory of Athens is located in the hill of Nymphs in the historic area of Thissio, right across the sacred hill of Acropolis, overlooking the Ancient Agora.

The Observatory was originally founded in 1842, with the contribution of the national benefactor Georgios Sinas who was a Greek ambassador in Vienna during the time. His desire was to make a donation that would contribute to the development of the academic research in the newly founded state of Greece, and he turned to the acclaimed Greek-Austrian astronomer Georg Bouris, assigning him the direction of the Observatory. The building was designed by the famous Danish architect Theophil Hansen, being in fact his first construction and was completed in 1846.

During the years, the direction of the National Observatory passed on to outstanding scholars who contributed -each in his own, unique way- to the establishment of the research center as one of the oldest and most renowned in Southern Europe. Under the direction of J. Schmidt, many constellations and phenomena, such as solar and moon eclipses, were observed and recorded, as well as very accurate depictions of planets and asteroids were realized. During the direction of D. Eginitis, funds were raised resulting into the renewal of the equipment, while in the years of the renowned astronomer Professor Stavros Plakidis the Astronomical Station of Penteli was established and the new telescope was used extensively in research.

Nowadays, the National Observatory of Athens includes the Institute of Astronomy as well as the ones of Environmental Research and that of Geodynamics. It also hosts the Weather Station that publishes weather predictions regarding the climate conditions in Greece. The premises are open to the public, while visitors can also partake to the evening sky-observance sessions.

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