National Library of Greece
Both a tourist attraction and study center, the National Library of Greece feels much like the rest of the antiquities, cold and off-limits. Most tour buses drive past, pulling over only long enough for tourists to snap a photo of the outside before driving off. They don’t even get off the bus to ascend the stairs, which really is magical feeling.
The magic ends, however, once you go inside the doors, and signs for “no photography” are posted everywhere. The ladies at the desk allow you to step into the library only a few feet, where a low roped off barrier prevents you from actually going fully inside. The books all look like treasures that no one has touched except to clean, and several students were sitting quietly under the natural light from the ceiling, working on laptops which seemed strangely out of place nineteenth century design. I, of course, was not allowed to take any pictures, even though I may could have snuck one, I decided to respect the rules of my homeland and keep my camera to the side. If you want to see images of the gloriously lit interior, check out links here and here.
Interestingly, the library collection has outgrown its current structure and will be relocated to the Phaleron Bay where it will be house in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center. I saw it mid-construction, and I am so excited to return to Athens soon and experience the new library in all its modern glory....