Greece > about: athens: museums

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One can not visit ALL museums in a city.
Here are my choices:
1. Acropolis museum (Métro station: Acropolis).
When you visit the ACROPOLIS and the surrounding archaeological areas do not forget the archaic, smiling korae and kouri at the Acropolis Musuem.
The new Acropolis museum is complete (2007)! The old museum was on the Rock, so, the second most difficult moving of all times took place: Cranes brought all the exhibits down to the new museum.
The most difficult move is yet to happen. The last floor of the museum is waiting for its marbles from London.
Nike, ready to move


carefully in boxes
to the new acropolis museum

2. National Archaeological Museum
Your second day is spent at the National Archaeological Museum (Métro station: Victoria).
My absolute favourite.
Not only the story of each exhibit is fascinating, but the museum's itself. One of its special moments was when the curators re-buried lots of the statues just before the german occupation, to save them (... yes, yes, we found them again!) [[addendum: greek documentary: 'The Hide']]. Today, it hosts some of the most important ancient greek art, although lots of precious items are at the places where they were found, all over Greece (Olympia, Delphi, Crete). Some others are exhibited at foreign alien places: Paris, London, New York...
Reliable gift shop too.
The café outside, at the garden, used to be the rendez-vous spot for teenagers (at least when I was).
Start your visit at the MYCENAE gallery. I always close my eyes just before I enter the room. I open them, and there it is: all the gold treasure of Schliemann shines! Then go to say hello to the gorgeous Poseidon, Antikythera kouros, Marathon kouros, the boy on the dolphin. Do not miss the lovely paintings of Thera (=Santorini island) at the second floor, and if you are a scientist, you would be interested in the Antikythera Mechanism.
take your coffee
at the national museum garden

you can see this man:
Schliemann found him in Mycenae:
and optimistically called him: Agamemnon.

3. Benaki Museum
Your 3rd museum-choice could be related to modern greece: Benakio Museum.
Here you can see in one museum, all periods of greek history. I start my visit from the top floor (modern times exhibits). Benakis was a wealthy collector of all sorts of art. Folk, and 1800s exhibits will give you a satisfactory panorama of how greece was in the previous centuries. Also, there are more buildings in different places, on islamic, chinese art...
Also: very very very nice gift shop and a lovely terrace to drink your coffee and to try a nice meal. Check the publications of this museum, they are excellent.
Benaki museum
at Vasilisis Sofias str.

4. National Gallery
National Art Gallery of Athens: Painting from 1800s-to-today. The modern period of greek painting is quite interesting (I find).
With the exception of El Greco, there was no greek painting until the 1800s. (iconography is a different art, you can visit the Byzantine museum for that).
Also, ask for the address of the GLYPTOTHEQUE, a lovely museum for sculpture.
Nice gift shop.
Athens National Gallery
January 2000:
queues for the Greco exhibition

5. You have time for more??? here they are:
The Athens Métro (Underground) from a museum's point of view.
Cycladic Art, Goulandri Museum, Athens
Meet the whiteness of the Cyclades islands, before you visit them! The characteristic cycladic white marble statuettes are here. Also a nice café, meeting point for athenians!
By now, you must have understood, that I spend most of my museum visiting time in the coffee areas :)
Natural History Museum (Goulandri) in Kifissia
You may have seen famous Natural History museums all over the world, but you will love this one too! It focuses on environmental sections especially designed for children. The lovely small museum is a very nice excuse to also visit the suburb of Kifissia, which used to be the summer resort of rich athenians of 19th and 20th century.
Byzantine Museum in Athens
The museum is very good. If you are interested in byzantine art, you must keep in mind that Athens was NOT an important byzantine city. Some of the little churches around Athens are very cute (see byz-places: Athens).
The Athens Planetarium offers the largest digital viewing facilities in the world (since 2003).
Athens Planetarium very good texts in greek.
Museum of Popular Music Instruments at Plaka
Lalaounis Ilias: Jeweler Museum
Ilias Lalounis is the famous jeweller whose designs were inspired from all periods of greek history, and many more subjects.
links checked in Aug 2007, Oct 2017.
cycladic edolia
the ancient statuettes
from Cyclades

byzantine museum
athens, Vasilisis Sofias str.
architect: Stamatis Cleanthis