The lovely Neoclassical Academy of Athens was built in the mid 19th century during the post-independence re-flowering of Greek culture and is home to the national institutes for sciences, philosophy, fine arts and humanities, following in a tradition first established by Plato in around 387 BC. It is part of a triumvirate of neighboring buildings known as the ‘Neoclassical Trilogy’ designed by Danish architects Theophil and Christian Hansen and encompassing the National Library and the University of Athens. With a marble façade, the main entrance is through an ornamental colonnaded portico topped with sculptures on the carved pediment representing the birth of Athena and flanked by statues of Athena and Apollo standing on slender columns – all are the work of sculptor Leonidas Drossis in the 1870s and are guarded by two philosophical-looking sculptures of Plato and Socrates.
The Academy’s imposing marble assembly hall is decorated with murals of the Prometheus legend, painted by German artist Christian Griepenkerl. Alongside its 23 research departments, it also houses the Ioannis Sykoutris Library, where rare editions and manuscripts are preserved. Members of the Academy are elected for life and part of its work is to award intellectual works as well as publishing books and journals. It is not open to the public.
Eleftheriou Venizelou Avenue 28 (also called Panepistimiou Avenue), Athens. Metro Line 2 to Panepistimiou.