New National Library site

Greece’s new National Library will be built on the grounds of a former military base on Mesogeion Avenue, where the Education Ministry is planning a building that will complement the neoclassical building in central Athens which was completed at the beginning of the last century. Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday handed over the Plessas military base, which is adjacent to the Defense Ministry, to Education Minister Petros Efthymiou. «The Plessas base will permit the construction of an 18,000-square-meter building able to meet the needs of the library and to give it a greater role as a protagonist of culture.» He said construction could be completed in 2007. The choice of the site appears to have been determined by its proximity to the metro (Katehaki station) and the university. The neoclassical building on Eleftheriou Venizelou (Panepistimiou) Street, which is being refurbished, will continue to operate. «Even after its move, the heart of the library will continue to beat in the center of the city, in its historical, monumental building,» Efthymiou said.

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