THE NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
The National Archaeological Museum ranks among the top ten museums in the world. Its impressive collection is housed in a beautiful neoclassic building on Patission Avenue. The museum was built on a field donated by Helen Tositsa. The construction started in 1866 and was completed in 1889. The west wing was firstly constructed in 1874, the north in 1881, the south in 1885 and lastly the east wing.
Everything in the museum is organized chronologically. It houses various collections of prehistoric sculptures, vessels, copper exhibits, as and an impressive collection of Egyptian and Eastern antiquities.
The visitors of the Archaeological museum have the chance to travel to past times and meet important civilizations.
When you decide to come to the museum, take your time and see all the unsurpassable creations of antiquity.
Each display has its own beauty. Some of them, though, are really special. Some of them are:
The collection of the Mycenean findings is really special. Most visitors are impressed by the golden funeral mask, known as the “Mask of Agamemnon”, discovered by .Heinrich Schliemann in 1874. Although, the authenticity of the mask has been formally questioned, it still is a remarkable and impressive display to see. The researches have proved that the mask belongs to a king who died about three centuries before Agamemnon. Apart from this mask, visitors will have the chance to see a collection of mycenean jewelry, blades and other objects found in the basilic graves of Mycenae.
Really impressive is the gigantic bronze statue of Poseidon or Zeus. It is known as the Poseidon of Artemision and dates back to the 450 B.C. The archaeologists still argue on which of the two gods it depicts. The statue has a height of 2,09. According to those believing that is Zeus, its right risen hand is about to cast a thunder, or a trident for those believing it is Poseidon.
The museum also displays the statuette of the Keravnovolos (Fulminary) Zeus, which was found in the archaeological site of Dodoni. The statue resembles that of Poseidon the Artemision.
Another statue that has been an item of controversy among archaeologists is the Ephebe of Antikythera. The impressive bronze statue depicts a young man, naked, holding some spherical item in his right hand. Some people say it is god Panas holding a apple, while others that it is the statue of Perseus holding Andromeda’s head.
The statue was found in a ship wreckage near Antikythera in 1900.
The boy of Marathon, is the statue of a teenager named after the bay of Marathon where it was unearthed in 1926. The sign on the statue's pedestal refers to it as one of a wrestler. The statue is considered to be a masterpiece. It is probably the work of Praxiteles or one of his students. It dates back to the 325 - 330 BC.
The Jockey Boy is a bronze statue found in the temple of Zeus in Dodoni. It was probably the mate of a similar statuette, which is now in the Louver Museum. It probably depicted the Dioskouri. It dates back to the 575 – 550 BC.
A marble statue depicting goddess Aphrodite with Pana and love is displayed in the sculpture room. The statues have really expressional faces that leave no one untouched. This marble complex was found in Dilos island.
The dedicative anaglyph with the three Elefsinies gods was made in 440 – 430 BC. It depicts Dimiter giving spikes to Triptopolemos, the young king of Elefsina. Persefone is standing right to Dimiter. There is a big difference between the statues’ height. The goddess is taller than Triptopolemos. This was the way of expressing the difference between a god and a mortal.
Do not fail to see the most famous stele that dates back to the 5th century BC. It is the stele of Hegeso, found in Kerameikos. It shows Hegeso seated, taking a jewel out of a box that her female slave is holding. At the top of the stele, her name is engraved: "Hegeso Proxeno".
The skill with the melancholy expression on Hegeso's face is beyond description.
The archaeological museum also hosts two private collections. The jewellery collection of Helen Stathatos and the collection of Karapanos.
The visitors of the Archaeological Museum meet very important archaeological sites and have the chance to see unique pieces of sculptural art, pottery and jewellery.
THE NUMISMATIC MUSEUM
The Numismatic Museum of Athens is one of the five best of its kind in the world. It provides continuous educational support for Hellenism in terms of numismatics, history and art history.
The strength of the collection lies in some six hundred thousand coins, "hoards" (closed numismatic groups), weights, lead stamps, medals and precious stones covering the ancient Greek world, the Roman and Byzantine periods, western Mediaeval times and modern times.
About ten thousand volumes devoted to the special field of numismatics, to history, to seals and to archaeology, as well as offprints, fascicles, and general publications cover the archaeological material.
The Iliou Melathron (The Palace of Ilion), the house of Heinrich Schliemann, which houses the Numismatic Museum, is a work of the German architect Ernst Ziller in the style of buildings of the Italian Renaissance adapted to the neoclassical spirit of the late 19th century.
The building was inaugurated on the 10th of January, 1881.
The walls inside are decorated with wall paintings copying Pompeian themes and the finds of Schliemann at Troy and Mycenae.
GOULANDRI MUSEUM OF CYCLADIC AND ANCIENT GREEK ART
The Museum of Cycladic Art was founded in 1986 in order to house the collection of Cycladic and Ancient Greek art belonging to Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris. It is devoted to the study and promotion of ancient Greek art.
Starting in the early Sixties, and with a permit by the Greek State, the couple collected Greek antiquities. The Collection was augmented during the Seventies, following the two main directions.
The Cycladic Collection, which was now given a slight preference owing to the scholarly importance of the subject and the ever growing international interest and the Ancient Greek Collection, contains 350 objects representative of every phase or type of artefact those islanders have left us, be that marble sculpture, pottery, or metal ware. Among the exhibits, the marble figurines, mostly female, claim prime position. Most of the objects are from 3200 to 2000 B.C.
According to historic sources marble figurines was the main form of art of the Cycladic Civilization. There were many quarries in Cyclades islands. People used marbles to make their residences and objects. The famous marble figurines are representative of the Cycladic Civilization.
The collection of Goulandris Museum is comprised of violin-shaped figurines from 3200 – 2800 BC, as and other large, almost life-size from 2800 – 2300 BC.
This exhibition of the Ancient Greek Art includes artefacts from the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BC) through to the Late Roman period (4th century AD).
There are unique pieces of art from Crete, during the Minoan civilization. Really impressive are those of the classical period (6th – 4th century BC.), as and the roman.
Most important categories of Greek art are represented by significant examples - pottery, terracotta figurines, metal and glass ware and jewellery.
The Politis Collection of Greek Art consists of works of art and artefacts covering a wide historical span from the 14th century B.C. to the 6th century A.D. It is an interesting assemblage of antique objects, complementing our main Collection of Greek Art. Among the exhibits, the visitor can view an important series of bronze helmets and swords dedicated to ancient warfare.
THE BENAKI MUSEUM
The Benaki Museum is one of the most important in Athens. It is an invaluable contribution to the political, social and cultural life of Greece. It was founded by Antonis Benakis and was inaugurated in 1931. It is housed in his paternal home, one of the handsomest Neoclassical buildings in the capital, in Vasilissis Sofias Avenue.
It displays more than 45.000 exhibits of valuable properties of Antonis Benakis collection, as and six collections of other donators.
Greece at Benaki Museum:
This group of collections comprises many distinct categories totalling more than 30.000 items illustrating the character of the Greek world through a spectacular historical panorama: from antiquity and the formation of the modern state of Greece (1830) down to 1922, the year in which the Asia Minor disaster took place.
The N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas Gallery: it is a donation of this great Greek painter to Benaki museum. It has functioned as an annex of the museum since 1991. It is housed in the apartment block where the artist resided for forty years (3 Kriezotou Str.). The permanent exhibition of his works was selected and arranged by Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas in person.
Toys, games and childhood: it is a unique collection, a donation of Maria Argyriadi. It is housed at Kouloura residence, a neo-gothic building of the early 20’s in Paleo Faliro. The collection includes 15.000 games and children's objects dating from antiquity to 1970 and derived from the wider Greek world and Europe.
Coptic art: this collection includes a uniquely rich group of textiles, a blending of elements derived from the local Egyptian tradition and Greco-Roman civilisation with vigorous newer elements of the Christian religion. Visitors will have the chance to see articles of metalwork and woodcarved objects are representative of Egyptian products once widely traded, chiefly in the 5th and 6th centuries.
Chinese art: this collection mainly comprises the gift of George Eumorphopoulos, one of the most important connoisseurs of Chinese civilization. It exhibits more than 1,300 objects of the highest quality, all of which attest to the magnitude of China's contribution to the cultural history of humanity from the third millennium BC. up to the 19th century. Of especial importance are the magnificent Neolithic vases, the funerary sculpture from the Tang Dynasty, the Song Dynasty vessels, porcelain of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the snuff bottles and by other objects in semi-precious stone.
Islamic Art: it is one of the most important of its kind. It is housed in a neoclassic complex located in the historic centre of Athens near the ancient cemetery of Kerameikos, in 22 Ag. Asomaton Str. and 12 Dipilou Str.
It demonstrated more than 8,000 works from the proto - Islamic age to the 19th century. It includes examples of all its local variations from as far afield as India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Egypt, Arabia, Middle East, North Africa, Sicily and Spain.