Agricultural University of Athens/Botanic Garden
The Agricultural University of Athens (AUA) was founded in 1920 is as the Highest College of Agriculture of Athens, placed in the former Rouf Estate (the old Hatzi Ali Hasseki Estate) in the district of Votanikos. The newly formed institution was to be located where the Triantafyllides Agricultural School had been since 1888. The opening of the College took place in the 3rd of February 1920 and the first Dean to be appointed was S. Hassiotes, agronomist, politician, and a prominent scientist in his field.
Initial aims of the Highest College of Agriculture of Athens were the development and consolidation of agricultural scientific knowledge through the training of agronomists and the study, research and experimentation in agriculture.
Significant changes were brought in the College after the Second World War, with the construction of a new central building, the establishment of laboratories, the acquisition of farm land necessary for the training of students and the procurement of modern equipment. The year 1989 was a landmark in the history of the institution, as the Highest College of Agriculture of Athens was renamed Agricultural University of Athens.
Some of the scarce samples of the Ottoman architecture in Athens, as a part of the so-called “Haseki Konak”, incorporated in the basement of the “Kriba” building, dated to the era of King Otto, and the Haseki Fountain, can still be seen today within the campus of the Agricultural University.
The Botanical Garden of the University of Athens was established in 1835 in the old Haseki Estate. This Estate was first used as a tree nursery and from 1838 onwards as a Botanical Garden, when Professor of Botany in the University of Athens was the Bavarian Carl Nikolaus Fraas.
Serious attempts for the better organization of the Garden started in 1847, aiming at the upgrade of the Botany teaching in Greece. This reorganization took place more intensively after 1851 by the curator of the Garden Theodor von Heldrich and the Professor of Botany Theodoros Orfanides. During that time the Garden was enriched with about 2,500 plants from Greece and abroad (mainly from France, Italy and Germany) and two greenhouses were constructed. A stone cistern – aqueduct was built by the Danish architect Hans Christian Hansen next to the old iron greenhouse.
Today, about 200 plant species are cultivated in the Botanical Garden. There are a lot of tree and bush species (some of them dated to the 19th century), many herbaceous plants, a collection of succulents and an artificial pond with hydrophytes.