With an excess of 4,000 years of history and well-known for one of the greatest civilizations in the world, Greece has plenty to offer to the visitors. The country has more than 240 museums of all types; Archaeological, Byzantine, Historical, Folklore and others. Read below to find the best Greek museums. These museums are sure to create a lasting impression.
The museums in Greece are generally located in regions where excavations took place and where outstanding civilizations once prospered. Remember to visit one while you are in the country on a holiday. The most significant museums are based in Athens and in the well-known archaeological sites of Greece. There are however, small museums located in other parts of the country which are interesting too.
The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is located in Patission Avenue and is very near to Omonoia Square. It was established in 1829 on Aegina Island. When Athens was declared the capital of Greece in the 1830s, the Museum was transferred or shifted to different buildings. The present building of the Museum in the beginning housed the Parliament and then the Ministry of Justice. It underwent construction in 1889 and it was designed by the German architect Ernst Ziller. Greek architect Panagiotis Kalkos made some modifications to the original plan much later. The amphitheatre of the Parliament can be seen even now. The Museum has items from the ancient history of Greece and also from the prehistoric and Minoan times. It can be said that the Museum has items from all periods of Greek history. You can find marble or stone statues, gravestones, items made of bronze, tools, weapons and things that were used every day. There are also important findings from excavations carried out all over Greece like the excavations in Mycenae, which was held by Heinrich Schlieman. The southern section of the Museum hosts the Epigraphic Museum, which has approximately 15,000 Greek inscriptions. These inscriptions are dated from the ancient to the recent times. The Museum also boasts of a large library with manuscripts, books on science and philosophy and publications. The National Archaeological Museum is at a walking distance from Omonoia or Victoria station. It’s open on all days.
The Acropolis Museum was launched in 2009 and is located in the pleasant area of Makriyianni Athens, on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street. It was built to house the exhibits unearthed during the excavations in the Acropolis. The former small Acropolis Museum was not able to house the vast exhibits. The new Museum, which was designed by the New-York based architect Bernard Tschumi in partnership with Greek architect Michael Photiades, houses, excavated items from the Acropolis of Athens and other regions. The building is spread on an area of 14,000 square meters and has an excess of 4,000 historical objects. An interesting aspect of this museum is the extensive use of glass for building the exterior as well as interior structure. The building has been designed in such a way that a visitor will be visiting each of the floors based on the chronological order of the period of time. You can find interesting exhibits in this Greek museum including the colossal head of Goddess Artemis Vravronia and numerous gifts given to the Acropolis in the Roman period. The Museum is open on all days from 8am to 8pm on all days except Monday and other Greek holidays.
The Archaeological Museum of Delphi is situated next to the archaeological site and is one of the best museums in Greece. It has wonderful collection of scriptures dating back to the 5th century B.C. the museum also housed the majestic Charioteer dating back to 470 B.C. and is made entirely of bronze. Don’t forget to have a look at the awesome archaic sculpture of the Winged Sphinx of the Naxians. The museum boasts of a 4th century B.C. nude statue of a good-looking youth Antinous who was loved by Emperor Hadrian. This statue is symbolic of a person’s dual nature according to Henry Miller.
Another top museum in Greece is the Archaeological Museum of Mycenae, which has some of the oldest findings in the country. The museum despite being small has some interesting exhibits. The building has a fantastic model of the site in Mycenae. This helps the visitor to have an idea of what the place looked like in the past. The museum boasts of more than two thousand items from Mycenae and the areas nearby. These items have been displayed based on the area they were found. This allows visitors to exactly know where each item came from. It is advised to stay away from tour groups because of the small space of the museum which gets crowded in the summer time. Many objects have been positioned on the gallery walls due to lack of space. The Archaeological Museum of Mycenae is open on all days from 8am to 7pm during the summer months, but their timings vary during the winter.
The Archaeological Museum of Ancient Olympia is an important museum in Greece. It houses ancient artifacts that have been collected with much difficulty from the site where the ancient Olympic Games used to be held. It was established in 1975 and was opened for public viewing in 1982, which allowed visitors to have a firsthand glimpse of various aspects of the Olympic Games. The Museum boasts of sculptured ornaments from the Temple of Zeus, the “Metopes,” which are symbolic of the labor of Hercules, Hermes of Praxiteles, which is a rare masterpiece of ancient Greek artwork and much more. This Greek Museum presents the history of the Olympic Games. The findings here date back from the 2nd millennium BC till the 5th century A.C.
There are other smaller museums in the country that have significant and interesting findings.
The Museum of Popular Greek Musical Instruments in Athens has life-size photos of Greek musicians, the instruments they used and recordings of traditional Greek music.
The Archaeological Museum of Iraklion in Crete has all the important remains of the Greek culture. It houses elegant frescoes from Knossos, superb bronze and stone figurines, and excellent gold jewelry.