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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-10-01

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] The Athens National Observatory: A building with a memorable history
  • [02] Roman theatre restoration
  • [03] ASE opening: Marginal decline

  • [01] The Athens National Observatory: A building with a memorable history

    The neoclassical cross-shaped stone building with a retractable copper dome in Thissio, at the foot of the ancient Athenian Agora, is one of many notable landmarks in central Athens, but few are aware of the notable history of the central premises of the National Observatory of Athens.

    Situated on the Hill of the Nymphs (Lofos Nymfon), facing the Acropolis, the building has for the past two years also been housing the Observatory's Astrogeophysics Museum, the exhibits of which relate the history of researchers' observation of the stars, the earth and the atmosphere from the 19th century to the early 20th century under the clear, back then, Attica skies.

    It was that very sky and the impeccable equipping of the Observatory that attracted German astronomer Julius Smit to Athens, and his later assumption (1858) of the post as director of the Observatory. It was here that Smit drew the most precise lunar topographical map in the 19th century.

    The original part (main building) of the Observatory was designed by the famous Dane Architect Theophilus Hansen (Theophil Freiherr von Hansen). It was the first research Institution built in Greece (1842) after the country's liberation from the Ottoman Empire, and continues to conduct research in astronomy, on earthquakes, energy and the climate. During a later expansion of the site, three new buildings were added, one of which was designed by Ernst Ziller., and the refractor telescope Doridis was installed.

    The Hill of the Nymphs, famous from antiquity, is where, according to mythology, the Nymphs were worshipped and is next to one of the famous Observatories of the 5th century, where Meto's Heliotropion was placed. The Hill of the Nymphs is aligned with one of the most celebrated and best preserved meteorological/astronomical Observatories, the Tower of the Winds, which is also the emblem of the Royal Meteorological Society and a rough copy of which was built at the University of Oxford.

    The new Observatory on top of the Hill of the Nymphs is a landmark in Athens, facing the Parthenon and has long been used by Greek and foreign astronomers as the basis for astronomical, meteorological, geoastrophysical measurements and observations in its 160-year-history.

    Today the buildings include the Astrogeophysics Museum and also house clocks, telescopes and other instruments of the 19th century and an extensive 19th century astrogeophysics library.

    The National Observatory of Athens (NOA) today operates five Research Institutes and provides the facilities for graduate student training in collaboration with Greek and foreign Universities. It hosts the UNESCO Chair for Natural Disasters and operates the National Seismological Network and it is participating in the OPTICON and other international research networks, hosting the Greek Focal Point on the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS).

    The NOA also has an Astronomical Station in Penteli, situated on Koufou Hill.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [02] Roman theatre restoration

    ANA-MPA/Important restoration works at the ancient Roman-era theatre in Hersonissos, Crete will continue following a relevant agreement signed on Thursday between the local municipal authority and the ministry of culture.

    The funding of the project will be undertaken entirely by the local municipality.

    The Odeon at Hersonissos, dating back to the 1st - 2nd centuries AD, was destroyed during the Cretan insurrection in 1897.

    Sixteenth century geographer Onorio Belli had referred to the theatre, stressing that it presents a number of innovations as regards its ground plan. Trial excavations held in 1995 unearthed part of tiered seating and the western outer wall of the theatre's stage.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [03] ASE opening: Marginal decline

    Equity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Friday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index down 0.09 percent, standing at 1,469.67 points at 11:00 am, and turnover at 12.685 million euros.

    All individual sector indices were mixed with the biggest gains in Financial Services, up 1.71 percent; and Oil and Gas, up 0.96 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Telecoms, down 0.58 percent and in Industrial Products down 0.51 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 0.03 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 0.33 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 0.23 percent.

    Of the stocks traded, 31 were up, 20 were down, and 16 were unchanged.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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