Dubbed “the largest archaeological museum in Greece and one of the most important museums in the world devoted to ancient Greek”, this museum is certainly worth a couple of hours of your time.
The museum building itself is a noteworthy edifice in its own right, having been designed by German Architect Ludwig Lange in 1860 with a façade by Ernst Ziller, the locally famed German architect who eventually became a Greek citizen. It was completed in 1891 to house all 19th century finds around Athens, but became the repository for finds from all over the country as more and more excavations revealed a cornucopia of finds.
While the museum isn’t a high-tech one, it manages to walk you through 6000 years of history, beginning with the prehistoric settlement in Santorini, followed by Neolithic, Cycladic and Mycenaean finds, before showcasing the best of Classical Greece and works from the Greco-Roman period. The collections in a nutshell are:
- Prehistoric collection from 6000-1000 years BC: Neolithic, Cycladic and Mycenaean objects, as well as finds from the prehistoric Santorini before the volcano buried them.
- Sculpture collection that walks you through the evolution of Greek fascinating sculpture over 200 years (from the 7th-5th centuries BC)
- Vase and Objects Collection showcasing ancient Greek pottery all the way from the 11thcentury BC to Roman times.
- Metal Collection that will impress with detailed statues, figurines and objects such as ancient hand-held mirrors.
Bonus: Egyptian collection with works from 5000 BC to Roman times, with dazzling sarcophagi and remains of a mummified person.