A Sense Of Continuity Within A Timeless Topos



At the time when the importance of cultural heritage never felt more critical, the written world becomes a vital force in the exploration of cultural identity through literature.

Since its inception in 1824, the National Library of Greece has been moved more than six times including its ongoing relocation to its present home at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre.

For the past 185 years the Library had been situated in Panepistimiou Street as part of the so-called neoclassical “trilogy” together with the University of Athens and the Academy.

The building’s white marble stairs constituted its most characteristic element, symbol of progress and intellectual growth.

However, it was not only the aesthetic value of Theophilus Hansen’s design that made the National Library’s former headquarters momentous, but also the organic, inexhaustible source of knowledge and creativity contained in its interior.

Multiple worlds and spaces within a unique cosmos of writings and manuscripts increase visitors’ desire to recall old memories and create new ones. A sense of continuity within a timeless topos.

A library transformed into a cabinet of curiosities, where imaginary objects are there to be found and exotic places are waiting to be explored. Flicking through the book’s pages while inhaling the aromas of the aged ink composes a symphony that triggers our senses.

Past, present and future become one under the sound of writers and artists’ diachronic voices.

At the dawn of its relocation, the National Library’s never-ending journey is about to be enriched with new experiences and stories, as Athens, Greece is getting ready to become UNESCO’s World Book Capital for 2018.


Words | IN THE KNOW Team | Images | © Ellie Tsatsou Studio for IN THE KNOW