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National Observatory of Athens

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The National Observatory of Athens (NOA), is housed in a elegant 19th-century building.

The Observatory is located at Lofos Nymphon (Nymphs Hill) and it offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Athens.

Amazing city view from National Observtory of Athens

You need to book a ticket in order to join. The stuff will give you a very interesting introduction before going to the big room of the telescope where you can look at the stars and planets.

National Observtory of Athens

The museum
Since 1842, the Sina building has been renovated quite a few times while its scientific activity.
In 2008 it was converted into a museum.

National Observtory of Athens the Museum

Among others, the museum shows a great collection of old geoastrophysic’s instruments,
the map of the moon based on J. Schmidt’s study from 1855 to 1874 ,
the Syngros Meridian Telescope, which set the time of Greece from 1902 to 1964,
and a copy of the first analog computer, the Antikythera mechanism on a 3:1 scale.

National Observtory of Athens the Antikithera Mechanism

The world famous Antikythera mechanism is an ancient (dated to about 87 BC ) Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance. It could also be used to track the four-year cycle of athletic games which was similar to an Olympiad, the cycle of the ancient Olympic Games.
Detailed info https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

From the windows of the museum you can observe the Acropolis with a telescope.

The building also houses the historic library of the Observatory. In the library scientific journals and very important books are kept, written by Apollonius Pergaiou, Chrysanthos Notaras etc, since the 18th century.

National Observtory of Athens the Library

Visiting hours
Day regular group visits upon arrangement 9:30 – 14:00
Night regular visits every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with guided tour to the historical buildings included a visit to the Doridis telescope with which you can observe the sky.
Regular visits, are suitable for ages over 5 years.

November to March 19:00 – 20:30 (English guided tour at 20:00)
May to August 21:00 – 22:30 (English guided tour at 21:00)
September, October, April 20:00 – 21:30 (English guided tour at 21:00)
General dmission 5€ - 2,5€ for youths up to 18 years old, students and seniors under 65.

How to get there
The Museum can be reached by train (Thysseio station) or metro (Acropolis station) and by walking along Apostolou Pavlou st or Dionysiou Aeropagitou st respectively.
In addition to the regular morning visits, special evening tours for groups up to 25 people are also available upon appointment. These tours, which can also be offered in languages other than Greek or English, include observations of the night sky using the Doridis telescope, weather permitting.
For reservations regarding morning tours of groups call 210-3490112. For VIP and evening tours call: 210-3490160 or 210-3490055 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A brief history of the foundation
Most buildings of social or scientific value in Athens, were created with charities of rich Greeks of the diaspora. NOA and specifically, the Sina building, was a charity of the Sina family. G. Sinas, who served as a Greek consul in Vienna, gave 60,000 drachmas to the University of Athens on August 12th 1840 for the foundation of the Observatory.
A council of sages was composed to appoint the best position for construction, which proved to be Lofos Nymphon (Nymphs Hill), by architech E. Schaubert and professor Vouris.

National Observtory of Athens

The foundation stone of the institution was placed on June 26th 1842 based on plans by Schaubert and the ceremony took place at 8 o' clock in the morning under a total solar eclipse.
The building's construction commenced in October 1843 and was completed in the spring of 1846. Ever since, the Sina building has stood as a wonderful example of excellent neoclassical architecture a the top of Nymphon Hill in Athens' historical centre, next to Pnyx.

Professor Vouris (1842-1855) was the first director of the institution and he was involved with meteorological observations, study of the Greek nature, geography and astronomy. He also published a series of important works such as “Geodetic measurements in Attica”, “On observing and studying Mars' diameter”, “Defining the longitude and latitude of Athens” etc.

J. Schmidt/Kokkidis (1858-1885) Due to Vouris' illness, Baron Sinas appointed german astronomer Johann F. Julius Schmidt as the second NOA director, who arrived in Athens on December 2nd 1858.
Schmidt's work is important and covers a range of subjects such as astronomy, selenography, meteorology, altitude measuring, botany and seismology. He published numerous studies and from January 1855 until the end of July 1874 he drew his monumental work, the map of the Moon, a copy of which is displayed in the museum.
Detailed info http://www.noa.gr/museum/english/history_en.html

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