One of the oldest and largest libraries of Greece (third in number of collections and books) is the library of Adamantios Koraes. Koraes was a great Greek scholar, an important representative of the Greek Enlightenment and the inspirator of the library. It's courtyard is pebbled and the statue of Koraes, a work of Yannis Pappas, stands in it.
Originally, the library was an annex to the Great School of Chios. Its first collection consisted of books belonging to Adamantios Koraes and other Greek intellectuals from abroad. Following the destruction of the library during the massacre of Chios in 1822, Koraes sent more books to help rebuild its collection. In 1833, Adamantios Koraes passed away. His will stipulated that a considerable portion of his book and manuscript collection be sent to Chios.
Also, plenty of important families of Chios have offered collections of books to the library which now disposes more than 150,000 tomes. Busts, pictures, manuscripts and personal belongings of Adamantios Koraes as well as books, paintings, metals and stones are only some of the exhibits. What's more, in the library there are etchings and watercolors of the 19th century. Over the years, the library has managed to acquire priceless books, manuscripts, periodicals, newspapers, paintings, coins, maps and other items of great value through donations by eminent intellectuals.
In 1881, a devastating earthquake hit the island of Chios. Given the extent of the damage, a decision was made to house the library in its current building. In 1948, Philip Argenti financed the construction of the library’s second floor. Between 1975 and 1978, the building was expanded and modernized in order to house the Argenti folklore collection. A representative collection of costumes from every corner of the island, folk embroidery, tools, textiles, utensils, wooden objects, engravings and historical tables are exhibited in the halls.
Born in 1748, Adamantios Koraes studied medicine at Montpellier in France and moved to Paris in 1788. Koraes never practiced medicine. Instead, he became a brilliant philologist and one of the intellectual instigators of the 1821 Greek Revolution. His motherland, which was under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire, and his beloved Chios were constantly on his mind.
Address: Korai Street, next to the Cathedral
Phone Contact: +30 22710 44246
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