University of Athens
The University of Athens (the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, to give it its full title) is part of the triumvirate of neighboring buildings known as the ‘Neoclassical Trilogy’ designed by Danish architects Theophil and Christian Hansen and including the Academy of Athens and the National Library. It was founded by King Otto of Greece in 1837 during the post-independence expansion of Greek culture and was the first university in the eastern Mediterranean. Originally it was sited on the north slopes of the Acropolis but soon outgrew its premises and Christian Hansen was commissioned to design its replacement, which was completed in 1864.
Approached via a wide piazza filled with palm trees and fountains, the university building is low slung and shaped like a capital ‘H’, with symmetrical Neoclassical columns fronting an arcade decorated with murals by artists Rahl and Lebietski that showcase the birth of sciences in Greece. Although lectures and conferences still take place there, much of Athens University moved out to a modern campus in Ilissia in the 1960s. It is not open to the public.