Old Athens Photos Patission Street. (Officially 28is Octovriou street)

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First of all Patission street is one of the few streets in Athens that even if its name has changed, Athenias resist to that. I respect the present name Eikiostis Ogdois Octovriou (28th October in english. Its the anniversary of the greeks denial of surrendering to Italy in 1940). But all people in Athens use the old name Patission street. So I’ll do the same.

The street Patission was designed to connect Athens with Patissia village. Patissia village was a picturesque village in the countryside, 5 kilometers away from Acropolis. It started from the Menidiatiki Porta. (Menidiatiki gate in english). Menidiatiki Porta was one of the turkish Chaseki wall gates. It was leading to the Archananiki odos (Archananiki street in english) or Menidiatiki street  which end in then ancient Acharnes nowadays Menidi. However Patission street doesn’t follow this ancient street. There are two theories for the name Patission. The first is that it derives from the ottoman landlord Patis Aga. There are two theories for the name of the village Patissia. The first is that it derives from the ottoman landlord Patis Aga who own the area. The second it that in this are was the ancient municipality Vatis. The name was changed to Vatissia and then Patissia.

The Patissia village in 19th century was the exact opposite of what it ended up to be. It was full of trees, gardens and flowers the ideal place for the Athenians to relax in countryside. Athens had been converted into a rangeland with a few trees, so Patissia was the closest idyllic place.

Today Patission street is the extension of Aiolou street. The same was in 1841 when the geometer Beck designed the street with a small difference. Then the Patission street was beginning from Sofokleous street. Today Patission (28 Octomvriou street as is its official name for that part) begins from Panepistimiou street.

During the king Otto Patission street was the favorite place during Sunday for a small excursion to the countryside. Close to the Pedion Areos park there was a military music band above a polygonal platform. It played mainly central european and bavarian music. The bavarian soldiers and the local loved the music and the tradition continue after the exile of king Otto. Due to the polygon shape of the band’s platform the area is named Poligono (Polygon in english).

The first part of the Patission street was cobbled until Pedion Areos park afterwards it was a well maintained dirt road. The street was scarcely populated with a few small houses.


In 1833 during the kingship of the bavarian king Otto at the area of National Metsovian Polytechnic and National Archaeological Museum was a humble inn named Pafsilipo created by Christoforos Nezer. In 1839  bavarians used it as the Pafsilipo free house. A kind of beer pub that resemble their country. The Pafsilipo continued to operate many decades after the departure of bavarians from Greece. During the first years of the National technical university of Greece it was a popular haunt for its students.

National Technical University of Athens.

The predecessor of the National Technical University of Athens also known Metsovian polytechnic was the Scholio Ton Technon (school of arts in english) or Scholio Kyriakon Kai Eorton (school of sundays and national holidays). In the Scholio Ton Technon students didn’t learn fine arts, but the basic skills in order to learn a usefull job. It was founded four years after the liberation of Athens from ottomans in 1836 and situated in Piraeus street. It didn’t have enough proper professors because there weren’t any. The graduated students soon afterwards became teachers following the mutual teaching method. This form of teaching was very efficient. It was firstly supported by the greek governor Kapodistrias in Nafplio, the previous capital of Greece. It didn’t operate during normal working days but only in Sundays and the days off of national celebrations. After 1840 it became daily school with more specialities and more theoretical lessons. In Athens it was evident that it wasn’t effective in longterm. O proper educational place with proper professor was needed for the development of newly reborn Greece. In 1844 the director of the Scholio ton technon and prominent greek architect Lycandros Kaftatzoglou started plans for a modern technical university

The common name Metsovian Polytechnic of the National Technical University of Athens comes from the mountainous town Metsovo in the greek part of Epirus region. It was funded by three great greek benefactors from Metsovo who were also relatives. At first the Michalis Tositsas and his nephew Nikolaos Stournaras. Later Georgios Averof the nephew of Nikolaos Stournaras. In 1859 Eleni Tositsa according to the will of her husband Michail Tositsas and her nephew Nikolaos Stournaras bought a big building ground at the Patission street. In 1862 the greek architect Lycandros Kaftantzoglou designed the polytechnic and the construction began. His plan was bold and expensive. It included six big building from which only three approved. Two T-shaped buildings in doric order in front at the Patission street, and one in Π-shape in ionic order backwards in the center. The works stopped temporary in 1872 due to the lack of funds and finished in 1876 with only the two T-shaped buildings completed in front of Patission street. Then Georgios Averof decided to fund the construction of the main central Π-shaped building which was named Averophio and the complex unofficial Metsovian Polytechnic. In 1887 its three main schools are established. The school of structural Engineering, architecture and mechanical engineering. Backward at the side of Bouboulinas street a machine shop was built for the practice of students.

In 1914 the campus is officially renamed Metsovian Polytechnic to honor the birthplace of its three benefactors. In 1917 is expanded with more specialities. During 1930-1935 a new building at side of Stournara street was builded. It was designed by the greek architect Kosta Kitsiki and name Gini building to honor the dean Agelo Gini. During the war in 1940 the national technical university was used as a was temporarily used as a hospital for the wounded soldiers. Between 1950-1957 the machine shop in Bouboulinas street is demolished and two new building are constructed at the side of Bouboulinas street and Tositsa street.

Three streets in front and at the sides of the national technical university have the names of the university’s donators.

_Right is the Stournara street also commonly named Stournari street. Due to its proximity with the technical university was the first street in Athens with computers shops. It is nicknamed the silicon valley of Athens. Computer lovers after visiting the nearby National Archaeological Museum stroll this street. It is full of computer related shops and leads to the historical Exarcheia square with its atmospheric coffee shops.

_At the left side of the university is the pedestrianized Tositsa street. It is between the National Archaelogical Museum and National technical university. It leads to the greek ministry of culture at the intersection with Bouboulinas street. Despite this characteristics, tourists  should avoid it at any time. It is a nest with drug addicts and drug dealers. Actually don’t even pass the intersection of Patission street and Tositsa street. Try the intersection of Averof street and Patission street at the other side of Patission street. From time to time police cleans it but only for short periods. (I don’t want to stigmatize drug addicts. Nevertheless an obviously foreign female tourist with an expensive bag, camera and jewelry, walking outside of a tourist group in Tositsa street is a target. General precaution and walking at the other side of Patission street are enough for a safe visit to National Archaelogical Museum.)

_The Toshitsa street after Patission street is named  Averof street to honor the third and last donator of the university. 

National Archaeological Museum.

Even today with the modern transportation the national archaeological museum of Athens is not in a convenient area for tourist. It is far from all the archaeological areas  and that is not accidental. During the reign of the bavarian king Otto in Greece Athens wasn’t urbanized and the archaeological excavation were easy. Although the finding were many and important, there wasn’t any proper museum to be exhibit. From 1836 to 1866 there were at least seven attempts for its construction.

_The first attempt was from the historicist danish architect Hans Christian Hansen who designed the university of Athens.
He was heavily involved in the archeological excavations in Acropolis and specifically on Temple of Athena Nike. He believed that the ideal place of the museum was the Acropolis. Its place would be on the eastern wall of Acropolis. Many decades later, a much smaller museum was build by the greek architect Panagis Kalkos in Acropolis and after the completion of the National Archaeological Museum in Patission street.
_The same period the greek architect Stamatios
Kleanthis and his prussian friend and architect Gustav Eduard Schaubert created the first city plan of Athens. He proposed a small museum with ancient sculptures on the northeast edge of Acropolis. His proposition was rejected. Nevertheless at the same place much later, the old small museum of Acropolis was built.
_In 1836 the bavarian court architect Leo von Klenze was assigned to alter the first city plan of Athens. The first city plan of Athens  was created by Kleanthis and Schubert.
However no matter how good it was, it was not favorable by king Otto and his court. According to Leo von Klenze  the archeological museum of Athens, should be built at the archaeological area of Keramikos near Agios Athanasios church. The museum he designed was close to the archeological areas of Athens. It would be very approachable to foreign visitors who were from the first years of modern Athens, a great source of revenue. It was designed as a big complex of three buildings. It would be somehow similar to the Glyptothek museum in Munich he created in 1830. It was too bold for its time. It was expensive and too good to be true. The greek nation neither the bavarian king could afford it.
_In 1836 the german painter and architect Ludwig Lange who was working in Athens designed a
archaeological museum. His architectural plan was much simpler than Leo von Klenze’s museum. The public authorities rejected at first but a little later it was found appropriate. The place of the museum would be at the point of the nowadays national library of Greece on Panepistimiou street. The museum was on course but due the usual lack of funds the project was aborted.

_In 1854 the greek mechanic Gerasimos Metaxas and the greek architect Dimitrios Nezos designed two different architectural plans for the archaeological museum. Both of them where more affordable and followed the the greek rRevival architectural movement of that time. For another time both projects were not economically feasible. The truth is that nearly all the great building projects in Athens during the 19th century were funded by rich greek benefactors. Greece were either poor or politically divided and couldn’t accomplish a serious construction.

_In 1856 the rich greek merchant Dimitrios Bernadakis
from Russia donated 200,000 drachmas for the construction of the archaeological museum in Athens. The sum was adequate for either of the two plans by Metaxas and Nezos. This time there wasn’t any economic problem but a political one. For various reasons the authorities rejected both the plans.
_In 1858 a public architectural competition for the archeological museum was proclaimed. The competitors were greek and foreign architects. The rules for the competition were described by the greek writer and
archaeologist Alexandros Ragavis. The place of the museum hadn’t been found yet. The plans were examined by the royal academy of Bavaria in Munich. (Greece until 1862 was ruled by the bavarian king Otto). Finally the academy wasn’t satisfied with any design. The competition wasn’t successful. The progress for a museum was stagnant but excavations continued and archeologist couldn’t find a place for the increasing number of ancient findings.

_After the competition failure Ludwig Lange created again a second design for the Museum. This time he didn’t select the place of the nowadays National Library in Panepistimiou street, since the library had been built already. His design was simpler this time and according to the rules of the previous competition. As usual his design were not approved. Nevertheless a little later they will be the base of the nowadays National archaeological museum.

_The place of the museum was still an issue. The idea of Leo von Klenze for a museum in Keramikos archaeological area near Agiou Athanasiou church reappeared. After many circular arguments and different personal interests it was rejected.

_In 1866 a solution was found. Eleni Tositsa the wife of the benevolent Michail Tositsa donated a big building groun
d at the left side of the national technical university which she had also donated. Soon the building of the archaeological museum started according to Ludwig Lange’s second architectural plans. The site of the museum was not convenient for the first tourists of Athens. I personally believe that is neither today. The site was selected to serve more the students of the nearby university. The archeological findings were a priceless study subjects. It was easy for them to visit the museum daily and inspirited by the ancient greek art. The greek rival in sciences was very strong that period of time.
_The greek architect Panagis Kalkos alter slightly the Ludwig Lange’s second architectural plans. The
construction materials which was use were: Stones from the Lycabettus hill quarry, Marbles from Hymettus mountain, Marbles from the great quarry in Pentelicus mountain and unfortunately pieces of ancient remnants from the Theatre of Dionysus below Acropolis, as it was a usual habit that period of time in Athens.

_in 1871 the construction cost overran the budget  and works brought to a halt. The son of the previous donator Dimitrios Bernadakis was called to cover the extra cost. Nikolaos Bernadakis offered 100,000 francs and works were resumed.

_In 1888 after the death of Panagis Kalkos the german architect Ernst Ziller supervised the construction of the
museum. Of course it couldn’t resist from changing a little its design. He respected the floor plan of the building but he changed its forefront. The propylon of the entrance was ionic order. He also transferred statues from the Iliou Melathron house of the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in Panepistimiou street and put them above the museum’s entrance.

_Phew! In 1889 the museum is ready to receive visitors. From 1836 to 1889 it suffered the typical indetermination and dissension of greek authorities. A little later garderns

Place of the of the photos on the map. View larger map.