Museums of Athens

Acropolis Museum

The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis

The occasionally transparent floor provides a view of the archaeological excavation, while its upward slope alludes to the ascent to the Acropolis.

The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis houses finds from the sanctuaries that were founded on the slopes of the Acropolis, as well as objects that Athenians used in everyday life from all historic periods. On the left hand side, finds from some of the key sanctuaries of the slopes are exhibited.

The Archaic Gallery

Archaic is the period throughout the 7th century BC, until the end of the Persian Wars (480/79 BC).

In the Archaic Gallery, for the first time, visitors have the opportunity to view exhibits from all sides as three-dimensional exhibits. With the benefit of the changing natural light, visitors can discern and discover the delicate surface variations of sculptures and select the vantage point from which to observe the exhibits.

The Parthenon Gallery

The installation of the frieze of the Parthenon on the rectangular cement core that has exactly the same dimensions as the cella of the Parthenon enables a comprehensive viewing of the details of the frieze, as one takes the perimetric walk of the Gallery. The narrative of the story of the Panathenaic Procession is pieced together with a combination of the original blocks of the frieze and cast copies of the pieces in museums abroad, such as the British Museum and the Louvre.

The pediments, the triangular spaces formed by the horizontal and raking cornices of the roof at each end of the temple, were the last parts of the building to receive sculptural decoration (437-432 BC). They comprised colossal statues in the round and the themes were drawn from Attic mythology.

View of the south side of the metopes depicting the Centauromachy.

The 92 metopes were the first parts of the entablature to receive sculptural decoration. Each one reproduced a self-contained scene, usually including two figures. The subjects were taken from legendary battles and symbolized the victories of the Athenians against the Persians. The east side depicted the battle of the Olympian gods against the Giants, who tried to overthrow the order prevailing on Mount Olympus (Gigantomachy). The west side presented the fight of Athenian youths against the Amazons, who threatened even the Acropolis (Amazonomachy).

View of the west and south frieze of the Parthenon.

In contrast to the mythological subjects of the metopes and pediments, on the Parthenon frieze, Pheidias chose to depict the Great Panathenaia, the greatest festival of the city in honor of the Goddess Athena. The festival took place every four years, lasted 12 days and included rituals, sacrifices, as well as athletic and musical contests.

Cycladic art museum of Goulandri: it is housed in a private Neoclassical building in Neofitos Doukas street in Kolonaki. The nearby Stathatou mansion has been granted also and communicates with the main building through a glass corridor. The collection of the museum is among the most important globally. The 350 exhibited objects are representative of every period of art that flourished between 3200-2000 BC. The famous violin shaped figurines stand out with their deductive forms (3rd millenium BC).All of the figures are small in size with the exception of a woman marble statue that has a height of 1.4 meters. The exhibits in the collection of ancient Greek art reveal several manifestations of the life of ancient Greeks as well as their burial habits. There is also a collection of 120 Mycenaean objects dated in the 14th century BC. There are also some oil lamps on display of the 6th century BC.

National archaeological museum: it is located in Patision Street 44 and it is considered to be the largest and most important museum of the country. It was closed for renovation works in 2002 because of the forthcoming Olympic Games. All exhibits were removed and preservation work has been carried out to the exhibits, the building has also been improved. The museum includes the following sections: collection of pre- historic sculptures, bronze works, vases, Egyptian antiquities and antiquities of the east. The pre-historic collection (6800-1600BC) comes from Sesklo, Dimini, Poliochi Lemnos and Troy. There is a Cycladic collection also from the end of the 3rd millennium BC and a complete Mycenaean collection with emphasis in golden objects, there are very important exhibits from Tyrintha, Argolis, Pylos, Orchomenos, Athens, Skopelos and Kythira. The collection of sculptures reflects the evolution of the sculpture of the 7th century BC up to the Byzantine art. The collection of Bronze objects includes some speciments of miniature making and offerings to sanctuaries as well as the calculator of Kythira of the 1st century which was a device carrying out accurate astronomical calculations. The collection of Vases is one of the biggest in the world covering a time frame from the 11th century BC to the 4th century BC. There are also some findings from Santorini of the 17th century BC and some frescoes. The collection of the Egyptian antiquities counts 7000 objects and it is thee 4th most important in Europe. It came from donations of people and of the Egyptian state and it covers the period from 5000 BC to 395 BC.

War museum: it was inaugurated in 1975 AD in a building of Avenue Vasilisis Sofias. Weapons from ancient times up to the 20th century are included in the museum, as well as busts, reliefs, paintings and photographs that are relative to persons and facts of the war history. There are also models of famous battles, castles, war ships and aircrafts as well as some loots of the Turkish army and some memorabilia of the Greek – Italian war.

National Gallery: The collection of the gallery includes 9500 works that cover the whole of Greek painting from the 16th century AD until today. Works of famous Greek painters belong to the gallery (e.g the orchestra of Saints by Dominicos Theotokopoulos. There is also a collection of 1400 sculptures that cover all the trends of the 13-20th century. The Gallery is located in the corner of MIchalakopoulou street and Vasileos Konstantinou avenue.

Municipal gallery: it is housed in a Neoclassical building of 1874 AD (Peiraios 51 str) and contains 2500 works of almost all painters that contributed to the development of Hellenic art of te 19th and 20th century. There is also a remarkable collection of engravings and sculptures.

Benaki Museum: (138 Peiraios str and Andronikos) it is located near Gazi and it is one of the most important museums of the country. Its collections include 45.000 objects, an equal number of books and 650 archive units if historical documents that cover all periods of Greek art from the Stone Age to the day. There is also a collection of photos from monuments and objects of Christian and Byzantine art. There are also icons of the 3rd century AD, parts of mosaics (8-10th century), and frescoes parts of the 11th century, golden jewellery, icons and sculptures of Byzantine times. There are also works of the Cretan school, 2 paintings of El Greco and some Turkish art (an exhibit of Folklore items). There are also relics, objects and weapons of the Greek revolution and paintings illustrating moments of the Greek struggle against the Turks.

Museum in Attalos arcade (stoa): it is one of the most important monuments of Hellenistic period; it was built by the king of Pergamos Attalos the 1st in the ancient market. It was renovated in1956 according to accurate descriptions of wanderers of the time. Today it houses the museum of the ancient market that includes findings indicative of the life in the ancient market for 36 centuries (3000BC – 600 AD).

Keramikos museum: it is located in the archaeological space of Kerameikos and it includes objects that were discovered there. There are also vases of the 11th to the 4th century BC, inscriptions columns of the 6th to 4th century BC.

Monetary museum: it is housed in a historic Neoclassical building Iliou Melathron (12 Panepistiniou Street). The building is a work of Tsiller and it was the residence of the archaeologist Schleman. It is one of the greatest museums of its kind in the world. The exhibition of the objects is accompanied by Electronic support and is divided in to themes: history of the museum, benefactors, life and work of Schleman, Ernst Ziller architect, introduction to monetary history, coin cutting of Athens and of Alexander the great and the Greek colonisation. The sectors of the museum include the pre-monetary period (bronze talands), the Hellenic ancient times, Byzantium, Roman times, Medieval west and modern times. A total of 2355 currencies of the ancient world, 10000 currencies of Ptolemaic Kings, 919 Hellenic and Roman currencies as well as currencies of ancient troy.

National historic museum: it presents the course of Hellenic people since the falling of Constantinople in 1453AD to the Greek – Italian war in 1940. The museum is housed in a Neoclassical building of the old parliament. Inside there are Busts of important personalities, paintings that depict historic events, traditional outfits, weapons, jewellery of the 18-19th century, a manuscript of the first Hellenic regiment of 1844, the armour of Theodoros Kolokotronis and the weapons of Georgios Karaiskakis.

Leave a Reply