Athen’s National Museum of Archaeology Will Overwhelm You in the Best Possible Way

The National Museum of Archaeology is a large building but from the outside, it doesn’t look nearly big enough to house all the treasures you’ll find within. It would be impossible for me to pick a favorite tourist attraction in Athens but I can safely say that this museum would be near the top of any history lover’s list.

You may want to brush up on your ancient Greek history a little bit before your visit (here’s a timeline), but if you don’t have time for that, the signs in both English and Greek will get you up to speed.

I spent six hours at the museum – count ’em – six – and was really glad I chose to go on this outing by myself so there was nobody rushing me or rolling their eyes while I dawdled.

There are hundreds of statues and remnants of statues dating back to the 7th century BC. You’ll find all manner of antiquities, tools, weapons, and jewelry. There are vases, vessels, and urns and even a collection of Egyptian antiquities. As per the museum website:

The museum is housed in the imposing neoclassical building, built at the end of the 19th century in designs by L. Lange and eventually formed by Ernst Ziller. Its exhibition grounds, dozens of halls on each floor, cover an area of ​​8,000 m². and houses the five major permanent collections:

  • The Collection of Prehistoric Antiquities, which includes works of the great civilizations that developed in the Aegean from the 6th millennium to 1050 BC. (Neolithic, Cycladic and Mycenaean) and finds from the prehistoric settlement of Thira.
  • The Collection of Sculpture Works, presenting the evolution of ancient Greek sculpture from the 7th century. B.C. until the 5th c. AD, through unique works of art.
  • The Vase and Miniature Collection, which includes representative works of ancient Greek ceramics from the 11th century. B.C. up to the Roman era, as well as the Stathatos Collection, a timeless collection of miniature artifacts.
  • The Collection of Metalworking Works with many unique original works, statues, figurines and miniature crafts.
  • Finally, the unique for Greece collection of Egyptian and Eastern Antiquities with works of art, dating from the pre-emptive period (5000 BC) to the times of the Roman conquest. (source)

The hours vary, so be sure to check the website before your visit.

ALL the pictures.

Here are some photos of the astounding sculptures I saw in the museum.

As well, the jewelry was amazing. So. Much. Gold. Also with the jewelry is a collection of scarabs from the Egyptian display.

If you are a weapons fan like I am, you’ll love seeing these historic arms. One photo is arrowheads and other artifacts from the famed Battle of Thermopylae (Molon Labe, anyone?) Also, there are some random photos that don’t fit into any of the above categories but they’re too lovely to miss. If you go to the basement of the National Museum, there’s an incredibly lovely courtyard garden.

What you should know about the National Museum of Archaeology

Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about visiting the National Museum of Archaeology.

How physically challenging is visiting the National Museum of Archaeology?

Like most sight-seeing, there’s a lot of walking but it’s all indoors and smooth surfaces unless you decide to visit the courtyard garden in the basement. There are elevators or stairs to go both up and down from the main floor.

Those who can’t do steps can find an entrance with a ramp on Herakleiou Street. There is a bathroom with features for handicapped person’s access.

What’s the bathroom sitch?

There are bathrooms in the basement that can be accessed by either stairs or elevators.

Is there food?

There is a cafe in the basement. As well, right before you get to the main entrance, there’s a lovely cafe with outdoor seating beside the paved area leading up to the museum. It’s a bit more expensive due to the location. There are also vendors set up on the sidewalk outside the museum.

Is there anything tourists should be warned about in the National Museum of Archaeology?

Like most places that charge admission, pickpockets are not really an issue.

How expensive is the National Museum of Archaeology?

Admission is 12 Euros in the summer, during tourist season, and 6 Euros in the winter.

Have you visited the National Museum of Archaeology?

Have you been to this museum? How long were you there? Did you enjoy it? If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.

 

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