The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greek: Εθνικόν και Καποδιστριακόν Πανεπιστήμιον Αθηνών),
usually referred to simply as the University of Athens, is the oldest university in Southeast Europe
and has been in continuous operation since its establishment in 1837.
Today, it is the second-largest institution of higher learning in Greece, with more than fifty
thousand undergraduate students. In 2010, according to University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP),
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is the best university in Greece and 171th university in the world.
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens was founded on May 3, 1837, and was housed in the
residence of architect Stamatis Kleanthes, on the north east side of the Acropolis. It was the first University
not only in the newly established Greek State but in all the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean in general.
Before it was renamed to honour Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first head of state of independent modern Greece,
the university was known as the Othonian University and consisted of four faculties; theology, law, medicine
and arts (which included applied sciences and mathematics). It had 33 professors, 52 students and 75 non-
matriculated “auditors”. In November 1841, classes began in a new building designed by the Danish architect
Christian Hansen. “The Propylaea” was designed by Hansen younger brother, Theophil Hansen in 1859 but
the building project was not completed until 1885.
A major change in the structure of the University came about in 1904, when the faculty of Arts was split into
two separate faculties: that of Arts and that of Sciences, the latter consisting of the departments of Physics
and Mathematics and the School of Pharmacy. In 1919, a department of chemistry was added, and in 1922
the School of Pharmacy was renamed a Department. A further change came about when the School of
Dentistry was added to the faculty of medicine.
In this first and “heroic” period for Greek education, the university faculty made great efforts to fill the gap
between their newly founded institution and older ones in other countries.
Between 1895 and 1911, an average of one thousand new students entered the faculties each year, a figure
which rose to two thousand at the end of World War I. This led to the decision to introduce entrance
examinations for all the faculties, beginning in the academic year 1927-28. Since 1954 the number of
students admitted each year has been fixed by the Ministry of Education and Religion, on the proposal of the faculties.
In the 1960s construction work began on the University Campus in the suburb of Ilissia.
The Ilissia campus now houses the Schools of Philosophy, Theology and Sciences.
(Information from Wekipedia)
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, one of Theophil Hansen's "Trilogy" in central Athens.
pix. 3 & 4