Athens, Queen of Museums – Part 1
The first thing to come to mind when you think of Athens is, without a doubt, the Acropolis. And, once you visit it, you feel almost obliged to visit as many museums as possible. But we don’t want your stay in Athens to turn into a stressful tour of everything to do with this city’s history and culture, so we’ve got an alternative to propose: Approach your museum experience like a game – a bit like a treasure hunt. At every stop, history’s keepers showcase it with respect, passion and enthusiasm.
Your first and essential stop is the Acropolis Museum (15 Dionysiou Aeropagitou str). It’s one of the most celebrated museums in the world, a reason to visit Athens in its own right, retelling the story of the “sacred rock” of the Acropolis from prehistoric times all the way to the end of antiquity through more than 3,000 exhibits. Amongst them you’ll find the emblematic Karyads of the Erechtheion and parts of the Pathenon Frieze. Designed by architect Bernard Tschumi, the Museum opened its doors in 2009. Its unobstructed views of the Acropolis bring visitors’ exploration of the cradle of Western civilisation full circle. Its excellent café also has an excellent view.
Leave Aeropagitou behind for a street that’s arguably less photogenic but still interesting in its authenticity – Patision, where the National Archaeological Museum is located (44 Patision str). It’s the largest museum in Greece, a panorama of Ancient Greek civilisation from the dawn of prehistory to latter antiquity. This imposing neoclassical building from the late 19th century has more than 11,000 exhibits on display, with sculptures and pots the stars the show. The museum’s Egyptian collection is also fascinating.
Not far from there, you’ll find the Greek Car Museum (33 Ioulianou str). It may not have much in common with ancient statues, but since you’re in the neighbourhood, why not visit this tribute the motorcar, which brought new meaning to the invention of the wheel? On display here are 110 rare samples from the international car industry, from 1895 to 1980. This modern museum is arranged in a spiral, while a F1 simulator will drive your adrenaline to new heights.ent years.
Returning to a more central part of Athens, Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, you’ll find two of the most important museums of the capital, Benaki (Koumpari 1 & Vasilissis Sofias) and the Cycladic Art Museum (Neofytou Douka 4 & Vasilissis Sofias).
The Benaki Museum is one of the most stunning neoclassical buildings in Athens, offering a complete history of the Greek civilisation through exhibits ranging from prehistoric times to the 20th century. Its treasures also include two excellent collections of Chinese and Egyptian Coptic art.
Although it’s in the heart of downtown Athens, the Museum of Cycladic Art carries an air of the Aegean and the Cyclades, bringing the deep blue of the sea to this busy avenue. Marble figurines and pottery, copper weapons and tools as well as Cycladic ceramics are testament to a civilisation that blossomed in the 3rd millennium BC on the islands of the central Aegean Sea. It’s one of the most loved museums in Athens. In addition to the permanent collection of Cycladic antiquities, there are frequent temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. Two of the biggest assets of this museum are its impressive art shop and the stunning cafeteria. Even those who don’t get on so well with museums love this stylish venue for coffee, food and relaxation. In fact, museum restaurants and cafes have been gaining ground on the entertainment map of Athens in rec