Established in 1836 as the Royal School of Arts, the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) started life as a part-time school teaching vocation skills to adhere to the needs of the newly-independent Greece.
As a result of increasing popularity and the demands of the new Greek state, in 1843 three new departments were created and by 1873 the university had moved to Patission Street, one of the major roads in central Athens and became known as Ethnicon Metsovion Polytechnion.
It was not until 1917 that NTUA adopted a form that resembles its modern-day structure, after a special law separated the NTUA’s industrial faculty into the schools that are more-or-less the same today.
The NTUA has also been at the heart of some hugely significant events in Greece’s recent history. After German troops occupied Greece from April 1941, the NTUA adopted a new role when it became a centre for the National Resistance movement, while maintaining its standing as an academic institution.
Perhaps NTUA’s most important role in history was during the Polytechnion Uprising of November 1973. After three days of demonstrations against the country’s military dictatorship where students barricaded themselves inside the university and called on the people of Athens to rebel, a military tank broke through the universities gates and the events that followed left several dead. The dictatorship fell the following year and the NTUA is commemorated annually on November 17 by the whole nation.
Today, there are nine academic schools that are split into 33 departments. The university is divided between its central Pattision Street, which now hosts only the School of Architecture, and the main 190-acre Zografou Campus which is 6km north of the city centre.
The NTUA remains one of Greece’s most prestigious academic institutions and has been attended by some key figures in the country’s recent history, including the Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras.