Athens museums hold and protect of some of the world’s most precious collections. Home to the masterpieces of Archaic and Classical history, they are a treasure trove to the past. Numerous museums in Athens are housed in beautiful neo-classical stately mansions and buildings of the 1800’s. By contrast, the very modern structure of the Acropolis museum, designed by renowned New York architect Bernard Tschumi and Athenian Michael Fotiades, is perched over the city like a luminous light box.
Athens museums are not limited to public institutions; the Benaki and Cycladic Museums are both exemplary examples of expansive private collections that were established some years ago by wealthy Greeks. The Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Byzantine and Christian Museum and the Athens War Museum are all within walking distance of each other within the upmarket district of Kolonaki, where you can drop by for lunch after a morning exploring.
The Acropolis Museum
The Acropolis Museum opened in mid-2009 and was built to house the famous marble sculptures of the Acropolis and partly as a political gambit to persuade Britain to return the Parthenon marbles, which currently reside in the British Museum. You will find the famous Caryatids, the Head of Alexander the Great, and the Archaic Korres who were dedicated to goddess Athena.
The Byzantine and Christian Museum
This museum deserves to be visited not just because of its expansive collection but also because of the beautiful Tuscan style building in which it is housed. Set back from the road with beautiful gardens to enjoy a coffee and a little down time, it is an oasis of calm and an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The museum includes a permanent exhibition of 1,700 years of Byzantine art.
Throughout the year, cultural events and exhibitions are held at all the major Athens museums. Be sure to check out our ‘When’ page for full listings of current events.