Κεντρική Υπηρεσία των Γενικών Αρχείων του Κράτους
- Central Service Archives
- Kentriki Ypiresia ton Genikon Archeion tou Kratous
The “Administration”, the “Chief Secretariat” of the Greek State, the “Ministries” (later called “Secretariats”) are founded for the implementation of legislative, executive and judicial operation. 1829 The “Archives of the Greek State” is founded with the purpose to collect public flies of the “Ministries” and house archives of the “Secretariats”.
1833 The “Archives of the Greek State” is dissolved and each “Secretariat” retrieves the files it deposited.
1836 The archives of the Court of Auditors are organised and public files are gathered and stored there.
1846 The archives of the National Assemblies are gathered at the Greek Parliament.
1855 The publication of the National Regeneration Archives is announced.
1864 Following the union of the Ionian Islands (Eptanissos) with Greece, the “Archive” in operation of Corfu, Paxos, Lefkada, Cephalonia, Ithaca, Zacynthos and Kythira are all subject to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
1914 Law 380/1914 is passed regarding “The Establishment of the Greek State Archiving Service” under the governance of Eleftherios Venizelos, thanks to the efforts of Professor Spyridon Lambrou and the historian-researcher Yiannis Vlachogiannis with the purpose of “collecting and monitoring documents included in all public archives dating 50 years back”. The first Director of the General State Archives was Yiannis Vlachogiannis who donated his valuable collection to the General State Archives and the first Chairman of the Advisory Council was Nikolaos G. Politis. The Ionian Island, Crete and Samos Archives in operation fall under this Service.
1939 Law 2027/1939 is passed regarding the “Reorganization of the General State Archives”.
1991 Law 1946/1991 determines a new legislative frame which regulates the operation of the General State Archives to this day. The Central Service is structured into departments and Archives are established in prefectures which did not exist till then.
2005 The Public Special Service of Greek Government’s Prime Minister, Ministers and General Secretary Archives (founded by the Law2846/2000) was incorporated into the Central Service of the General State Archives of Greece.
The General State Archives (GSA) operate according to the provisions of Law 1946/91 and are an integrated and independent public service that reports to the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs set up by the Central and Regional Services (article 8). There is a commission titled Supervisory Council (article 35). The Commission consists of nine members, of which eight members have certified experience in archiving issues and have published archiving researches and studies of the Medieval and Modern Greek history, while the ninth member is the Supervisor of the authorised department of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs responsible for the General State Archives. The Director of the General State Archives also participates in the Advisory Council’s conferences as an originator, without a voting right. The term is a period of three years.
The responsibilities of the Supervisory Council are determined in article 36. In detail, the Supervisory Council decides on the purchase of archives and archive material collected by the General State Archives, the issuance or not of research licenses, transliterations, photographing, etc. of archives and archive material that are situated at the General State Archives and any other nature and form of the country’s archives, such as publications and any other nature of publishing of the General State Archives. It also studies the general scientific directions of the General State Archives, determines the basic policy axis and offers the required instructions for the method of selection, classification and recording of the government archives that are of historic interest. Furthermore, the Supervisory Council provides the scientific task of the General State Archives personnel with consultation for the establishment of new archive services, for the secondment of the General State Archives personnel and for any other issue for which its consultation is requested by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. In the event that it provides consultation on documents related to national interests and that pertain to external affairs, it is obliged to invite the participation of a representative that will be designated by the Ministry of External Affairs.
The Director of the GSA Central Service coordinates the activities of the Central and Regional Services with the purpose to design and plan activities that aim to cover the needs of the country’s archiving system and improvement of its functionality and performance. The Director also represents the international field of the General State Archives for national governmental archiving issues (article 20, case c). The administrative issues of the General State Archives are supported by the Library and General Archive Division of the Central Office at the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
The housing problem of the G.S.A. Central Service, which lasted for several decades, finally found its solution through the operation of the new building in Psychiko. From the establishment of the G.S.A, until the opening ceremony of the new building (10.11.2003), the Service was accommodated in the basement of Athens Academy, in the basement of the Old Parliament building, and in various buildings all over Athens (building in Theatrou Street, in Ermou Street, in Kallithea).The financial contribution of Prodromos Athanasiadis - Mpodosakis for the construction of the building in a property owned by the Greek State was significant.The construction works started on 1972. Bureaucracy and financial reasons delayed the beginning of works until 1979, when the building's frame was constructed. The building remained unfinished until 1998, when its completion was undertaken by the Organization for School Buildings. The structure was basically completed in the three-year period of 2000-2003 under the supervision of OSB. The structure, of 6.500 m2 total surface, is organized in six successive levels (A-F, starting from the ground): The main entrance was placed in level D, along with the reception and lobby, the lecture and seminars hall, and with part of the offices. Level E, in the form of a mezzanine with open balconies overlooking level D, houses the remaining offices and the cafeteria. Level F contains the Reading room, along with the Library and the Directorate's offices. The repositories are located in levels A, B and C. Level A is underground and contains the special, shielded protection area for precious documents, a large hall for storing documents (745 m2) and the rooms for the electromechanical facilities. In levels B and C, there are six (1202 m2) and four (745 m2) rooms respectively, where archives are kept. The two specific floors, following ground inclination, have only a section of their perimeter wall outside the ground, while their roofs are external accessible terraces, paved with marble, which reach to the natural soil. In the back section of level C (above ground level), there is the entrance to the archived material, the disinsection chamber, the classification halls and the laboratories for maintenance, binding and photo shooting.
Archival and Other Holdings
Mainly public archives, such as ministerial, administrative, juridical, educational, police archives, Correspondence Files, Photograph Collections, Maps and Plans Collections, Newspapers and Periodicals Collections, Postcards Collection, Books Collection. The archival holdings cover the period from the 17th century until now.
Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication
In order to locate material and complete their applications, researchers are provided with the existing finding aids (catalogues, indexes) in printed or electronic form and are assisted by the Reading Room staff in every possible way.
Reading Room Opening Hours: 09:00 am-14:00 pm. The Archive is closed for two weeks in August and on public holidays.
Conditions of Access
Access to the archives held in the GSA is permitted according to the provisions of Act 1946/1991. In cases of study of archival material which contains sensitive personal data, researchers are required to sign a Personal Data Protection Declaration. Each researcher, upon completing the relevant application form is entitled to study up to five (5) folders per day. This archival material is provided between 09.00 am to 13.00 pm.
Two accessible workstations equipped with assistive technologies for people with visual impairments and motion disabilities.
The reading room and the library (level F) are located in the best section of the building. In the two sections of the unified area, large glass surfaces allow the visitor to glance at a large section of Athens. Natural light gives a pleasant feeling to the readers, but is harmful for the archives. For this reason, the window panes have been lined with special membranes, averting the entrance of UV radiation. The hall has been lined with an elevated floor, underneath which various cables run. As a result, it is possible to provide electricity, telephone and data communications in every point of the Reading room. The Reading room can accommodate up to seventy persons at once. Five spots have been provided for with microfilm readers - printers, and ten with computers connected to the G.S.A. network. In every study table, there are power sockets, allowing researchers the use of laptop computers. The equipment of the Reading room also includes a special furniture for studying maps and drawings.
The reproduction of entire series, archives and/or collections of original material requires prior approval by the GSA Advisory Council. The cost of every form of reproduction is duly determined and is reduced by 50% for students who present a valid student ID.
English description is written by V. Ritzaleos, based on GSA's website.