"A grand and most worthy library"
A flagship library, among those we owe to the zeal and patriotism of the scholars of the diaspora. The story began in 1838, when Konstantinos Agathofron Nikolopoulos, a Greek scholar with important work, informed the Andritsaina municipality, by letter from Paris, his intention to donate his library. Indeed, two men, Charalambos Christopoulos, Secretary of the Ministry of Interior and the Public Director Konstantinos Pharmakis-Zareifopoulos, were sent by the municipality of Andritsaina to Paris to collect books. These books were transported by boat from Paris to Nafplio in 1840, in 47 cases, and from there transported by animals to Andritsaina.
The ‘Nikolopoulos’ collection, numbering 3.696 scarce titles, includes rare books from the 1500s and from the early years of printing. The collection of the other major benefactor of the library, Evangelos Kallianiotis, who was born in Stemnitsa in 1888, numbered 3,600 volumes of books and was donated by his heirs in 1983.
Nowadays the library owns approximately 40,000 books which cover all periods of Greek history. Apart from the books available, there are also 23 plaster casts of the frieze of the Temple of Epikourios Apollo, located near Andritsaina, which were donated in 1963 by the British Museum to the Andritsaina Public Library (marble slabs representing the Amazon and Centauromachy, by Alkamenis, located since 1815 in the British Museum). The historical archives of the library also include pre-revolutionary, revolutionary and post-revolutionary documents such as letters with the signature of Theodoros Kolokotronis, manuscripts of Anagnostis and Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, documents of Panos, Gennaiou and Markos Kolokotronis, proceedings of the Peloponnesian Senate and the files of Charalambos Christopoulos.
The library moved from the historic Andritsaina school in 1998, to a more appropriate neoclassical building near the old building it was housed in. It is now a spiritual gem for the Andritsaina region. It features a reading room, a lending department and a modern Information Centre. Since 2003, the books of the ‘Agathofron Konstantinos Nikolopoulos’ collection, donated by the National Association of Friends of the Andritsaina Library-Fribourg, have been added to the maintenance workshop for better preservation. To donate here has become a tradition.