The National Library of Greece (Greek: Εθνική Βιβλιοθήκη) is situated near the center of city of Athens.
It was designed by the Danish architect Theophil Freiherr von Hansen, as part of his famous Trilogy
of neo-classical buildings including the Academy of Athens and the original building of the Athens University.
The original idea for establishing a National Library came from the philhellene Jacob Mayer, in an August 1824
article of his newspaper Greek Chronicles, published at Messolonghi, where Mayer had been struggling
alongside Lord Byron for Greece's independence. Mayer's idea was carried out in 1829 by the new Greek
government of John Kapodistrias, who grouped together the National Library with other intellectual institutions
such as schools, national museums, and printing houses. These were all placed in the Orphanage of Aegina,
under the supervision of Andreas Moustoksidis, who thus became president of the committee of the
Orphanage, director of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, and director of the National School.
At the end of 1830, the library, which Moustokaidis called the National Library, held 1,018 volumes of
printed books, which had been collected from Greeks and philhellenes. In 1834, the Library moved to
Athens, the new capital, and was at first temporarily housed in the public bath at the Roman Market and
then later in the Church of St. Eleftherios, next to the Cathedral and other important buildings.
The collection grew rapidly. In addition to the purchase of books from private libraries, carried out under the
supervision of Dimitris Postolakas (1,995 volumes), the Library accepted many large donations of books,
like one from Christoforos and Konstantinos Sakellarios (5,400 volumes) and one from Markos Renieris (3,401 volumes).
In 1842, the Public Library merged with the Athens University library (15,000 volumes), and was housed together
with the currency collection at the new building of Otto's University. George Kozakis-Typaldos was appointed
as the first director of the newly enlarged institution, remaining in his post until 1863. At this time, the Library
was enriched with significant donations and with rare foreign language books from all over Europe.
With the royal charter of 1866, the two libraries merged, and were administered as the "National Library of Greece".
On 16 March 1888 the foundation stone for a neoclassical marble building was laid, financed by three Kefallonian-born
brothers of the Diaspora, Panagis, Marinos and Andreas Vallianos. The Library remained in the University building
until 1903, when it was moved to the new building which was designed by Theophil Hansen and supervised by Ernst Ziller.
Today, the Library is still housed at the Vallianos building, as well as at two other buildings, at Agia Paraskevi
and Nea Halkidona. The valuable collections of their combined materials represent the written Greek cultural treasure.
(Information from Wekipedia)
The National National Library of Greece, one of Theophil Hansen's "Trilogy" in central Athens.