This extraordinary photo of a group of people relaxing around a table on the roof terrace of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) building in Athens was recently released by the Institute.
The DAI says the photo was most likely taken in 1895, and the scaffolding around St. Nicholas Church in Neapoli at the left is surely an indication of that date. Unfortunately, the names of the gentlemen in the photograph were never recorded.
The building has served as a meeting place for international scholars and researchers visiting Athens ever since the DAI moved into the premises, the design of which was initiated by the great archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1888.
Following a long day of work at their archeological digs, colleagues would gather on the roof terrace overlooking the city to unwind in affable company much like they are pictured above.
Occasionally, the men would play a game of chess or other board games on the terrace.
In those days, there were still grand, unobstructed views of Lycabettus, the highest hill in the city of Athens (seen in the background).
Institute in Athens has a huge photographic archive
The photo is credit of the extensive photographic collections of the DAI Athens which go back as far as 1890.
DAI Athens was the second department founded by the institute (after Rome) in 1874, and it is the second foreign institute in Athens (after the École Française d’Athènes).
Today, it is one of several specialized departments that make up the German Archaeological Institute. With an ongoing research program, an 80,000-volume library, and a large photographic archive, the German Archaeological Institute at Athens remains a major contributor to Greek archaeology.
Along with other foreign archaeological schools in Athens, it is a member of a large scientific community and an indispensable part of the life of the antiquity archaeology scholars who work temporarily or permanently in Athens.
The photo collection that resides in its library contains more than 140,000 negatives and is frequented by interested parties from all over the world.