The National Observatory of Athens: Located on the hill of Nymphs in the historic area of Thissio, right across the Acropolis, the National Observatory of Athens overlooks the Ancient Agora.
Its position is rather strategic than random, as documentations of ancient historians mention that Meton of Athens made the first astronomical observations in ancient Athens using his heliotropion (one of the first astronomical instruments used by humans), which he had established on Pnyx Hill.
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The Observatory was originally founded in 1842, with the contribution of the national benefactor Georgios Sinas, a Greek ambassador in Vienna during the time. His desire was to make a donation that would contribute to the development of 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, and is, in fact, his first project. Its construction was completed in 1846.
More information about the National Observatory of Athens
Throughout 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. Schmidt also drew the most accurate map of the moon that was ever drawn until the 19th century, using the telescope hosted under the dome of the Sina building. During the direction of Dimitrios Eginitis, funds were raised resulting in 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.
Guests can pay a visit to the Geoastrophysics Museum and the Library of the National Observatory and see scientific instruments of the 20th century. The most impressive items hosted in the building, of course, are the telescopes! Visitors have the opportunity to admire the first telescopes of Greece, including the G. Vouris meridian telescope (1846) and the 16-centimeter telescope sitting under the spectacular dome for more than 150 years!
The Observatory of Athens also 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 in the evening sky-observance sessions. Tours in the English language take place every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 20:00 from November to March, at 21:00 from September to October and in April, and at 22:00 from May to August.
How to get there
There are many ways to reach the National Observatory from any location in Athens.
Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus, or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from the port, airport, or your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: (0030) 18288, (0030) 18222, (0030) 18180. You can also book your taxi online.
On foot: As the National Observatory is located in a central area of Athens, it can be easily reached on foot from Monastiraki Square in less than 15 minutes.
By metro: The closest metro station is Thissio (Green Line). Note that the National Observatory is located within a 10-minute walking distance from the metro. Get a map of the metro here.
By bus/trolleybus: The closest bus stop is "Nileos". Check the routes and the official timetables on OASA Telematics.