Athens National Library of Greece

Location: Panepistimiou Ave

The building of the National Library of Athens is located on Panepistimiou Avenue. Along with the Academy of Athens and the University of Athens, they constitute the “Athenian Trilogy”.
The charming neoclassical structure in the heart of Athens is also called Vallianeio Hall. It hosted the library's collection of around one million (!) items for 114 years.

Due to the increased number of books and new technologies, it was decided that the Library should be transferred to a larger and more modern building. Thus, in 2018, the Library was relocated to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.
A small part of its book collection still remains at the building on Panepistimiou Avenue. Right outside the building, a statue of Panayis Athanase Vagliano, a ship-owner from Kefalonia who donated a large amount of money for the construction of the building that would host the National Library of Greece.

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More information about the National Library of Greece

In March of 1888, the construction of a new neoclassic building started in Athens. It was funded by the Vallianos brothers, three siblings from Kefalonia Island. The Vallianeio Hall, as it was named, would become the host of the National Library of Greece after some years. The praised Danish architect Theophil Hansen created its design, while its construction was supervised by the equally renowned architect Ernst Ziller.

The first initiative regarding the establishment of a National Library took place in 1829, when the first Governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistruias, established the Orphanage of Aegina and the National Museum. A "Book Depository" was then founded in the Orphanage, which was merged with the University Library in 1842. The two libraries were merged administratively in 1842, forming the National Library of Greece.

Throughout its existence, the library constantly develops its collection, housing several genres of books with great value, printed from the 15th century to the 21st century, as well as one-of-a-kind manuscripts and other unique items, like newspapers, maps, archival material, artwork and magazines.

More specifically, the collection features approximately 1,000,000 items, including (among others):
5,500 manuscripts dating back to the 9th century, which present all types of writing and decoration throughout the centuries.
300 out of the 5,700 manuscripts of the New Testament
Grammatiki (Grammar) by Constantine Lascaris, the first ever book printed in the Greek language
The Archive of the Fighters of the Greek Revolution of 1821
The Archive of the London Philhellenic Committee

The neoclassical Vallianeio Hall has catered for the items of the National Library from 1903 to 2017. In 2018, however, the library's collection was transferred to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, where it has been hosted ever since.

How to get there

There are many ways to reach the National Library of Athens 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.

Car rental: There is the option of renting a car and picking it up directly from the airport, port, or your hotel. Using a rental car allows visitors to discover the National Library of Athens and many other places of interest in Athens at their own pace.

On foot: As the National Library is located in a central area of Athens, it can be easily reached on foot from Syntagma Square in approximately 7 minutes.

By metro: The closest metro station is Panepistimio (Red Line). The National Library is located outside the metro station. Get a map of the metro here.

By bus/trolleybus: The closest bus stop is "Akadimia". Check the routes and the official timetables on OASA Telematics.



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