Top 10 museums to visit in Greece
Greece is a really historic place. With a history that counts more than 3000 years, it’s a museum itself. In every part of Hellas, you’ll see old temples, ancient Greek, Roman or Byzantine historic ruins. Once in Greece for holidays, don’t miss the opportunity to visit some of the main hand picked museums.
- The Acropolis Museum, with more than 14.000 sq. meters of exhibition space. This museum started its operations in the new building in 2007 under the Acropolis’ rock. Permanent exhibitions are The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis and The Archaic Gallery, The Parthenon Gallery, Propylaia, Athena Nike, Erechtheion, From the 5th c. BC to the 5th c. AD.
- National Archaeological Museum, is the largest archaeological museum in Greece and one of the most important museums in the world devoted to ancient Greek art. It was founded at the end of the 19th century to house and protect antiquities from all over Greece, thus displaying their historical, cultural and artistic value.
- Archaeological Museum at Ancient Olympia, The Archaeological Museum of Olympia, one of the most important museums in Greece, presents the long history of the most celebrated sanctuary of antiquity, the sanctuary of Zeus, father of both gods and men. Olympia is the place that gave birth to the Olympic Games.
- Benaki Museum, Greece at the Benaki Museum. This group of collections comprises many distinct categories totalling more than 40,000 items, illustrating the character of the Greek world through a spectacular historical panorama: from antiquity and the age of Roman domination to the medieval Byzantine period; from the fall of Constantinople (1453) and the centuries of Frankish and Ottoman occupation to the outbreak of the struggle for independence in 1821; and from the formation of the modern state of Greece (1830) down to 1922, the year in which the Asia Minor disaster took place.
- Museum of Byzantine Culture, opening in 1994. This museum has currently three permanent exhibitions. The first, “Early Christian Churches”, focuses on the design and decoration of churches in early centuries of Christianity. “Early Christian Cities and Dwellings”, presents aspects of economic life, domestic handicrafts, houses, and food and clothing of early Christians, and finally, “From the Elysian Fields to the Christian Paradise” focuses on cemeteries of early Christians, jewellery, sepulchral architecture and painting, cult customs, and clay and glass objects recovered from excavated graves. Beginning in 1998, the museum has run educational programmes for schoolchildren.
- The Archaeological Museum Thessaloniki. The story of the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is similar to the city’s recent history. The Ephorate of Antiquities “By the General Directorate of Macedonia” was the first service to be founded, on November 1912, only a fortnight after the city was incorporated into the Greek State. Until 1925, all antiquities found in Macedonia were gathered at the Residency, as well as the Ottoman Idadie School, which housed the Faculty of Philosophy of the Aristotle University. During World War I, the French Army (Armee Francaise d’ Orient) was gathering antiquities initially at Karabournaki and later on at Rotonda, while the British Army would gather the antiquities they uncovered at the White Tower.
- The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki, The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki was founded to honour the rich and creative Sephardic heritage as it evolved in the city after the 15th century. Consequent to the horrible expulsion from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492, Jews began to arrive in the safe haven of the city in big numbers bringing with them an awareness of Renaissance culture and languages of the Western Mediterranean. Skills such as printing, cartography, medicinal sciences and knowledge of contemporary weaponry made the Iberian Jews an asset to the Ottomans. Rabbinical homilies and commentaries also accompanied the emigrants including the main cabbalistic works that were rooted in the Jewish mystical tradition of Gerona.
- Archaeological Museum of Rhodes (Hospital of the Knights), Walking up the street of the Knights, at the top and to the right is the Grand Master’s Palace which also serves as the Byzantine Museum. Opposite the palace amongst the ruins from different historical periods, one can determine the ruins of the Catholic Church of St. John. The Grand Masters Palace was built below the Acropolis of Ancient Rhodes where originally the Temple of the Sun God stood. In the same place, in the 7th century, there was also a Byzantine Palace, and then in the 14th century, the Knights of St John built the palace as the residence of the Grand Master as an administrative center. It was destroyed in 1856 by a large explosion of gunpowder that was hidden in the basement of the of St John Church.
- Museum of Royal Tombs of Aigai -Vergina, monuments and exhibits from the archaeological site, as well as the Museum of Royal Tombs at Aigai, are under the authority of the 17th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.
- War Museum of Thessaloniki, counts more than 200 years of modern history of Greece and hosts in its exhibitions more than 10.000 relics composing the modern history of Greece. Starting with the pre-evolution years and ending with the conflict in Cyprus, 1974, the visitor has the chance to relive the Greek War of Independence, the Balkan Wars and the two World Wars. In this historical frame, the visitor interacts with relics from different nations that took part in all the eras as enemies or allies of the Greek Armed Forces.