The National (Metsovian) Technical University of Athens, sometimes known as Athens Polytechnic, is among the oldest higher education institutions of Greece and the most prestigious among engineering schools. It is named Metsovio(n) in honor of its benefactors Nikolaos Stournaris, Eleni Tositsa, Michail Tositsas and Georgios Averoff, whose origin is from the town of Metsovo in Epirus.
It was founded as a part-time vocational school named Royal School of Arts which, as its role in the technical development of the fledgling state grew, developed into Greece's sole institution providing engineering degrees up until the 1950s, when polytechnics were established outside Athens.
The most important event of NTUA's history is the Athens Polytechnic uprising on November 17, 1973, which was the first step to overthrow Greece's military dictatorship. On 14, 15 and 16 of November 1973, the students were barricaded inside the institute, and started broadcasting a pirate radio transmission, calling the people of Athens to rebel. In the evening of November 17 however, an AMX-30 class military tank broke the main gate and charged inside, after receiving orders from the dictators. About 23 people were killed in the following events and the uprising ended. The junta however, was irreparably damaged by the popular outcry. The junta fell in 1974, after the Turkish invasion in Cyprus and since then, November 17 is celebrated as a day of freedom and democracy. All schools and universities of the country remain closed on that day