The Museum is an archaeological museum focused primarily on the Acropolis findings. It was built exclusively to house every item found on and around the Parthenon rock.
The museum is divided in various collections, don't miss :
After crossing the ground floor lobby towards the turn styles of the Museum, the first collection lies before the visitor. An ascending, wide glass-floored gallery houses finds from the slopes of the Acropolis. The occasionally transparent floor provides a view of the archaeological excavation, while its upward slope alludes to the ascent to the Acropolis.
The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis houses finds from the sanctuaries that were founded on the slopes of the Acropolis, as well as objects that Athenians used in everyday life from all historic periods. On the left hand side, finds from some of the key sanctuaries of the slopes are exhibited. On the right hand side, finds from the smaller sanctuaries and settlements that developed on the slopes of the Hill are displayed. In antiquity, the slopes of the Sacred Rock constituted the transition zone between the city and its most famous sanctuary. This was the area where official and popular cults, as well as large and small sanctuaries existed alongside private houses.
Archaic is the period throughout the 7th century BC, until the end of the Persian Wars (480/79 BC). This period is characterized by the development of the city-state and the transition from aristocracy to tyranny and, eventually, democracy. It is also characterized by great achievements in the economy, art and intellectual life.
In the Archaic Acropolis Gallery, for the first time, visitors have the opportunity to view exhibits from all sides as three-dimensional exhibits. With the benefit of the changing natural light, visitors can discern and discover the delicate surface variations of sculptures and select the vantage point from which to observe the exhibits.
In the south side of the Gallery, depictions of young women (the Korai), the horse riders (the Hippeis) and many other provide a striking picture of the Acropolis in the Archaic Period.
In the centre of the Parthenon Gallery on the 3rd floor, the visitor can observe a video presentation about the Parthenon and the sculptural decoration of the monument. In the same area are presented ancient marble inscriptions recording detailed cost records of the construction of the Parthenon and the statue of Athena Parthenos. As a result, visitors are informed on how democratic bodies functioned in the 5th century BC.
The installation of the frieze of the Parthenon on the rectangular cement core that has exactly the same dimensions as the cella of the Parthenon enables a comprehensive viewing of the details of the frieze, as one takes the perimetric walk of the Gallery. The narrative of the story of the Panathenaic Procession is pieced together with a combination of the original blocks of the frieze and cast copies of the pieces in museums abroad, such as the British Museum and the Louvre.
The descent of the visitor from the third floor back to the first floor, to the last gallery of the Museum, affords views of unique works that became prototypes for subsequent periods from antiquity to today. For the first time ever, it is possible to view the coffered ceiling of the Propylaia and the sculptures from the parapet of the temple of Athena Nike, and finally, the Caryatids – or Korai of the Erechtheion at close proximity on the balcony overlooking the Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis. The main monuments that constitute the Classical Acropolis are the Propylaia, the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion.
The Propylaia, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis, were built in 437-432 BC, following designs by the architect Mnesikles, in order to replace the earlier gateway (the Archaic Propylon). In 427-423 BC, the temple of Athena Nike was built, perhaps by the architect Kallikrates, on the bastion southwest of the Propylaia, to replace an earlier small temple on the same site. The Erechtheion is the last of the Periclean buildings. Construction began during the Peace of Nicias (421-415 BC) and ended after 410 BC.
The exhibition concludes at the north side of the first floor gallery. Reliefs of Athenian decrees, impressive portraits, Roman copies of classical masterpieces and depictions of philosophers and historical figures are the exhibits covering the period from the 5th century BC to the 5th century AD. These collections of the Museum include the Sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia, the votives of the Classical and Hellenistic Periods and the votives of the Roman Period.
Numerous statues were placed on the Acropolis, which represented gods, heroes, mythological themes and portraits of famous men. They were often works of well-known sculptors, dedicated by cities, rulers or even citizens. Few have survived and usually in poor condition. Moreover, from the mid-5th century BC stelai were also erected on the Acropolis. These were inscribed with decrees of the Parliament and the Public Assembly of the Athenians. The inscriptions on the stone were the publication of the original records which were written on papyrus or wooden tablets. The decrees are divided into two categories, depending on their content: a) Athenian treaties or alliances with other cities and b) honorary decrees for individuals who had offered services or benefactions to the city.
MUSEUMS AND EXHIBITIONS
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As an old English, read and seen so many disputes regarding Elgin marbles and British museum not returning them back to Athens...I know think Greeks are right....the tour it self can't be better, the museum is full of light and the displays are in such a way that you swim from one period to the other, loved it
Skipped the line, booked a day before and all cool. Only suggestion, go early in the morning to avoid the masses. Recommend.
A day is not enough, if you are into classical times and Ancient Greece, don't leave Athens without spending time in the museum, I think its the most well structured and organized museum we ever visited, Athens is the birthplace of modern world and this is the museum it deserves, absolutely amazing...rich, informative, so much light and so wealthy in exhibits….loved every second...
Not all museums are boring, very happy we did it, even my partner loved it:-)
Wow ! There was not enough time to go through it all, so many sections, so much staff, such a great place....I thought it would have been boring, museum, right ? how fun can it be ? Wrong, the place is full of light , findings and great info to follow staff, highly recommended for all, would be a pity to go back to the States without seeing it