Museums of Athens

As the birthplace of democracy, history and philosophy, Athens has multiple museums which  house world treasures from antiquity and the Byzantine era to modern times. Below find a brief selection of museums you may visit during your stay in Athens:

The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is next to the Acropolis Metro Station, sits near the base of the Acropolis with a direct view of the Parthenon and is one of the highest-profile cultural projects undertaken in Europe in this decade. The new facility, 226,000 square feet of glass and concrete designed by the New York-based architect Bernard Tschumi, replaces the old Acropolis Museum, a small 1874 building tucked into the rock of the Acropolis next to the Parthenon. The museum houses masterpieces of ancient Greek art, parts of the Parthenon, as well as the Caryatids from the Erechtheion.

Acropolis Museum
Cycladic Art
Gouldandris Museum of Cycladic Art

One of the cultural jewels of Athens, the Museum of Cycladic Art comprises an extensive and unique private collection of prehistoric art from the Cycladic islands as well as ancient Greek and Byzantine art. The Cycladic collection is one of the greatest in the world and contains a revelatory grouping of extremely rare life-size figurines of the Classic Cycladic type, the art-form that inspired Brancusi, Modigliani, and Giacometti to a significant degree, and Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Picasso and Matisse in more subtle ways.

The National Archaeological Museum

One of the most exciting collections of Greek antiquities in the world, this is a must-do for any travelers to Greece. Its legendary collections are representative of all the cultures that flourished in Greece: from the prehistoric age until the later age of Turkish dominance, including frescoes from prehistoric Thera and statues from the classical period, such as a bronze statue of Poseidon. An added treat is the neighborhood the museum presides over: Exarchia, a bohemian, free-spirited district that is mentioned in hundreds of Greek folk songs and novels. The area evokes strong feelings in every Athenian for here, in 1973, the students of Athens Polytechnic rose up in protest against Greece's hated military dictatorship.

national arch
ancient agora

The Archaeological Museum at the Ancient Agora

Restored Gallery [Attalou], monument of the 150 B.C. Its exhibits have direct relation with the operation of democratic regime of Ancient Athens, since the Market was the heart of public life. The gallery (Attalou) was revealed in the excavations of the Archaeological Company between the years 1859-1902. At the period 1953–56 it was restored and it has been reconstructed in order to accommodate the discoveries of excavations of Market.

The Byzantine Museum

Over 25,000 artefacts organized into collections that date from the 3rd to the 20th century. The artefacts are drawn from the entire Greek world and other territories where the Hellenic spirit flourished. The number of collections and the quality of the exhibits they contain make the museum a veritable treasure trove of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and culture.

byzantine

Nat Art Gallery

The National Art Gallery

Greece’s flagship art museum it is one of the country’s main art institutions and features paintings and works of art from some of Greece's and Europe's best from the 19th and 20th centuries. Emphasis is given to popular Greek contemporary artists including Giannis Tsarouchis, Domenikos Theotokopoulos (a.k.a. El Greco), Theodors Vrizakis, Nikolaos Kounelakis, Nikiforos Litras, Konstantinos Parthenis, Maleas, Giannis Moralis and others.  

The Museum of Contemporary Art

Established in October 2000, it is the sole national institution focused on collecting and exhibiting contemporary Greek and international art in Athens. Presents collections of works of contemporary Hellenic and international art and advanced and experimental artistic tendencies.

contem art
benaki

The Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum ranks among the major institutions that have enriched the material assets of the Greek state. Its extensive collections cover several different cultural fields. Its permanent collections comprise many distinct categories totaling more than 40,000 items, illustrating the character of the Greek world through a spectacular historical panorama: from antiquity and the age of Roman domination to the medieval Byzantine period; from the fall of Constantinople (1453) and the centuries of Frankish and Ottoman occupation to the struggle for independence in 1821; and from the formation of the modern state of Greece (1830) down to 1922, the year in which the Asia Minor disaster took place. It features many temporary exhibitions.

The Benaki Museum of Islamic Art

The stunning collection, one of the world's finest, housed in a 19th-century neoclassical building complex, displays Islamic art (ceramics, carpets, woodcarvings, and other objects, plus two excellent reconstructed living rooms from the Ottoman times and a 17th-century reception room from a Cairo mansion) that date from the 14th century to the present.

beanaki islamic
Historical

The National Historical Museum

Housed in Greece's first Parliament building and features Greece's evolution since the fall of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) in 1453 until the present. Exhibits include weapons, costumes, flags, and paintings, as well as Byzantine and medieval exhibits.