CULTURE

National Bank’s Historical Archive acquires new home

The National Bank’s Historical Archive has found a new home in a beautifully renovated building in the capital’s center. The building at 146 Tritis Septemvriou Street was designed in 1923 by one of the most esteemed Athenian architects of the interwar years, Nikolaos Zoumboulidis, and it is the first building designed specifically for archival purposes, and the only one currently in operation; up until 2000 it housed the National Bank’s general archive. The Historical Archive’s new quarters, which were redesigned on the basis of studies by architect Georgios Zoupas, were recently inaugurated by the National Bank’s deputy governor, Andreas Vranas, Technical Services Director Harilaos Tzannetakos and the head of the Historical Archive, Gerasimos Notaras. Covering the period 1841-1966, most of the material comes from the bank itself, though it also compiles other interesting sources such as from the press, State budget proposals and yearly reviews, and articles from the Government Gazette. The building on Tritis Septemvriou was meticulously adapted and modernized to fit the needs of the archive: Archival material and the National Bank’s collections have been stored in halls with sliding shelving units totaling 10,000 meters, while the material – which is accessible to all citizens – was photographed on microfiche and digitally processed. Furthermore, the interior of the building now features fully equipped research areas, a specialized library and a conference room, as well as a ground floor exhibition hall showcasing the National Bank’s most important archival material. A permanent exhibition on «The Historical Journey of the National Bank» is already complete, revealing both the long history of the bank’s establishment and material that visitors will be able to find in the building’s other sections. Displays of special interest include the bank’s oldest safe, the briefcase of the bank’s founder, Giorgios Stavrou, the first banknotes the bank issued, as well as stunning and rare old typewriters.