Taking form in the 19th century, the historic district of Plaka was built on top of the ancient city of Athens. Part of its charm is an array of typical Athenian houses, stunning examples of neoclassical architecture, that somehow escaped the destructive claws of mighty Urbanism. Some were carefully restored to their original splendour and converted to private museums, galleries and restaurants; others are private residences to those lucky few who need never worry about price tags; and there are those state-owned buildings, housing museums or departments of government bodies.
A short stroll upwards from the Tower of the Winds, facing the rock of Acropolis, our inner flâneurs brought us to Tholou Street. Housed in one such building, is The Athens University History Museum, aka ”The Old University”:
photo of facade via
The Museum’s main aim is to collect and preserve the University’s legacy. Among its collections there are books like the first Greek scientific editions of Law, Physics, Medicine, Chemistry, Astronomy, History, Philosophy, Archaeology and Linguistics, as well as works of the first Professors of the University of Athens. Portraits of the University’s professors and benefactors and old photographs. Manuscripts and students diplomas and schedules, Resolutions and Seals. But my favourite is the Collection of Scientific Instruments from Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Pharmacy and Medicine.
Even if you have no particular interest in the exhibits, a visit here is still worth your time and effort climbing the steep streets of Plaka. Enter through the small, inviting courtyard, complete with plants, flower pots and the occasional feline visitor, climb the wooden staircase, breath the historic splendor, wander into the large rooms with their wooden floors and large windows, then go through the doors to an open terrace and let the resplendent view sink in.
One one side, three historical generations, ancient, byzantine and modern:
On the other side, the urban jungle:
Entrance is free of charge.
Athens University History Museum
Tholou 5, Plaka, 105 56
From 1st October to 31st May
Monday – Friday 09.30 – 14.30
From 1st June to 30th September
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 09.30 – 14.30
Monday & Wednesday 09.30 – 14.30 & 18.00 – 21.00
The Museum is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, except the first and the last Sunday of each month when it is open to the public from 11.00 until 16.00.
Photos by Konstantinos Implikian
Athens 03-06 June 2013
… to be continued…