Our favorite lesser-known museums in Athens

Byzantine and Christian Museum

22 Vasilissis Sofias .
Tue-Sun 09:00-16:00, Mon closed / Admission €4

The Byzantine and Christian Museum, based in Athens, is one of Greece’s national museums. Its areas of competency include –but not limited to– religious artefacts of the Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, post-Byzantine and later periods which it exhibits, but also acquires, receives, preserves, conserves, records, documents, researches, studies, publishes and raises awareness. Located near the upmarket area of Kolonaki, the main museum building resembles a Tuscan villa set in a beautiful enclosed courtyard away from the busy main road of Vasilissis Sofias. It’s a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and you can easily picture yourself sitting in the nearby coffee shop with a good book.  The building was built in 1948 in the Tuscan Renaissance style and is an architectural rarity in Athens. 

The museum has over 25,000 artefacts in its possession. The artefacts date from the period between the 3rd and 20th centuries AD, and their provenance encompasses the entire Greek world, as well as regions where Hellenism flourished. The size and range of the collections and value of the exhibits makes the Museum a veritable treasury of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and culture. 


Museum of Islamic Art

22 Ag. Asomaton & 12 Dipilou St.
Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun 10:00-18:00, Mon, Tues, Wed closed / Admission €9 

The Islamic art collections of the Benaki Museum are housed in a complex of neo-classical buildings located in the historical centre of Athens, in the Kerameikos district. Major archaeological sites located in the same area include the grounds of the ancient Agora (currently undergoing development), the Doric temple of Hephaestus (the “Theseio“) and the Museum of the ancient Kerameikos necropolis (cemetery). This complex of buildings at the corner of Agion Asomaton and Dipylou streets, was donated to the Museum by the late Lambros Eftaxias, who in his later years served as Honorary President of the Museum Board of Trustees. 
History seen through the objects of the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art: The curators of the collections give guided tours to the public.
Special tours by the curator of the Benaki Museum Islamic collection, who introduces visitors into the world of Islamic culture. The tours run on the first Wednesday of the month.
INFORMATION-RESERVATIONS: Mon–Thu 10:00-15:00, tel: 210 3251 314 


Museum of Cycladic Art 

4 Neophytou Douka.
Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 10:00-17:00, Thu 10:00-20:00, Sun 11:00-17:00 / Admission €7 

The Museum of Cycladic Art houses one of the most complete private collections of Cycladic art worldwide, with representative examples of figurines and vases, tools, weapons, and pottery from all phases of the distinctive Cycladic island culture that flourished in the central Aegean during the Early Bronze Age (third millennium BC).   Marble carving is the most characteristic product of Cycladic culture, and the abstract forms of its figurines have influenced several twentieth and twenty-first century artists, such as Constantin Brancusi, Amedeo Modigliani, Alberto Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, and Ai Weiwei.  
Although Cycladic marble figurines and vases appeal to the modern viewer for their almost translucent whiteness, their creators loved color and used it liberally on these objects for both practical and symbolic reasons.  One of the most important venues in Greece, located near Syntagma Square, houses the largest collection of Cycladic art in the world: from the famous figurines and marble vessels, to other samples from the Minoan, Mycenaean, Geometric, Archaic and Classical eras. Founded in 1986, the museum, the museum was initially home to the private collection of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art of Nikolas and Aikaterini Goulandris. Today, it is dedicated to the study and preservation of the culture of the Aegean Sea, from prehistoric to modern times.  


Benaki Museum/ 138 Pireos 

138 Pireos & Andronikou St.
Thu, Sun 10:00-18:00, Fri-Sat 10:00-22:00, Mon, Tue and Wed closed. Also closed in August / Admission €6-8 

The new Benaki Museum building is located at 138 Pireos Street, one of the central development axes of Athens. The existing building, which is organized around a central courtyard, is already being refurbished, thanks to co-funding by the Ministry of Culture and the European Union. The new building covers a total area of 8,200 m2 with underground areas of 2,800 m2 and an internal courtyard of 850 m2. The exhibition halls span 3,000 m2. There is an amphitheater capable of seating 300, as well as areas to house the Museum services. 
The Benaki Museum’s Photographic Archives Department was established in 1973 to collect, preserve and document photographs of Early Christian, Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and architecture. Since then the Department’s original scope has gradually been extended to cover images of Greece and its culture, as well as its history and contemporary society.  The Modern Greek Architecture Archives (M.G.A.A.) of the Benaki Museum were founded in April 1995. Their objective is to collect all the diverse material (drawings, notes, publications, photographs, models etc.) related to the architecture and urban design of the neohellenic state, from its establishment in 1828 until today. All this material is recorded and classified in order to make it accessible to researchers. 


Museum of Ancient Greek Technology 

4 Pindarou & Akadimias St.
Every day 09:00-17:00 (winter), 09:00-20:00 (summer) / Admission €5

Renowned and without doubt unrivalled to this day, is the contribution of the ancient Greeks to the field of Philosophy and the Fine Arts. Likewise, familiar is their contribution to the field of Science. However, the technology of the ancient Greeks is relatively unknown, just as is their incredible performance in this field. The present exhibition of ancient Greek technology includes approximately 300 operating models of ancient Greek inventions. The ancient Greek technological marvel (from the robot – servant of Philon to the cinema of Heron and from the automatic clock of Ktesibios to the analog computer of Antikythera) covers the period from 2000 BC until the end of the ancient Greek world. The aim of the museums is to highlight this relatively unknown aspect of ancient Greek civilization and to prove that the technology of the ancient Greeks, just before the end of the ancient Greek world, was shockingly similar to the beginning of our modern technology. The bolts and nuts, gears and rules, pulleys and belts, sprockets and chains, block and tackles and winches, hydraulic controllers and valves are just some of the inventions of the ancient Greeks which were the foundations of their complex technology. 
The exhibits are accompanied by rich audio-visual material (in Greek and English), such as explanatory labels and giant posters with a lot of information, detailed diagrams, photos and complete bibliographical references, while many of the exhibits are interactive. There are projecting stations with video and animation as well as documentaries in which the exhibitor explains the function and the use of the mechanisms. 



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