Embroidered detail from a dress. Crete, 17th-18th century.
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The Benaki Museum

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One of the most important and active cultural organizations in Greece. To be precise, after a series of great legacies it has received over the last twenty years, it is now a “system of museums”, if such a description can be used for the 5 main exhibition / museum spaces it owns: the original Benaki Museum of Greek Culture, the Ghika Gallery, the Museum of Islamic Art, The Studio of sculptor (and painter) Yannis Pappas, and the always considered “new” Benaki Museum – an impressive modern building on Piraeus Str., hosting important periodic exhibitions. But the list doesn’t end here, because the museum also has: a Toy Museum, a Fiber Manufactory, the Delta House, hosting the incomparable Historical Archives of the museum, the Patrick & Joan Leigh Fermor house in Mani, and a respectable number of archives of great artists.

The Benaki Museum was founded in 1931 by a prominent member of the Greek community in Alexandria, Egypt, Antonis Benakis, who was an important collector of ancient Greek and Islamic art. Continuing the tradition of the great benefactors of the 19th century, he bequeathed his collection to the nation, together with his family home, at 1 Koumbari Street, in Kolonaki, as well as the art collections that it contained. It is important to note that his sisters agreed to all of this. One could say that with the continuous enrichment of his collection, Antonis Benakis sought to create the Greek equivalent of the “Victoria & Albert Museum” and indeed his collection reached about 500,000 objects of impressive beauty of all kinds. An incredible universe of diverse exhibits that all share a very important feature: they are objects with character. They thus create a magnificent panorama of art in Greece, in the Mediterranean basin and in Europe, from prehistoric times to the 20th century. Visitors stand ecstatic both in front of the beautifully decorated wooden interiors of traditional houses from NW Greece that are hosted in the museum intact, as well as in front of the microcosm of dazzling jewelry from all eras. And of course they will discover a very charming collection of traditional costumes.

Exhibition view at the museum.

The museum cafe on Koumbari Street has a privileged view from above to the National Garden and the buildings of the Presidential Guard. This view –without exaggeration– more than anywhere else in Athens conveys an image of the city and the mildness that characterized it in the 19th century, that is when it had just assumed its role as the capital of the country and still had the disposition of an ingénue.

The shop of the museum, in addition to reproductions of exhibits from its collection, hosts the best modern jewelry designers, ceramists of the country.

Museum of Greek Culture – 1 Koumbari Str. & Vas. Sofias, Athens 106 74 / Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00-18:00, Thursday: 10:00-00:00, Sunday: 10:00-16:00, Closed: Tuesday.

138 PIRAEUS STR. – 138 Piraeus Str. & Andronikou, Athens 118 54 – Closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic, until September 2020.

MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC ART – 22 Ag. Asomaton & 12 Dipylou, Athens 105 53 / Opening hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10:00-18:00, Closed: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

THE GHIKA GALLERY – 3 Kriezotou Str., Athens 106 71 / Opening Hours: Friday, Saturday: 10:00-18:00 / Periodic Exhibition: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00-18:00, Closed: Sunday, Monday to Thursday and in August.

THE YANNIS PAPPAS STUDIO – 38 Anakreontos Str., Zografou 157 72 / Opening Hours: Thursday, Friday, Sunday: 10:00-14:00, Closed: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and in August.

NEMA – 6 Polyfimou Str., Athens 118 54 / Opening Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00-15:00, Closed: Sunday and Monday.

TOY MUSEUM – 14 Poseidonos Ave. & 1 Tritonos Str., Palaio Faliro 175 61 / Opening Hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10:00-18:00, Closed: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and in August.

PATRICK ΚΑΙ JOAN LEIGH FERMOR HOUSE – During the summer months, visits every Monday at 11:00. Reservations required at Leighfermorhouse@benaki.gr.

All museum spaces and buildings observe the following annual holidays: January 1 & 6, Clean Monday, March 25, Easter Sunday and Monday, May 1st, Holly Spirit Monday, August 15, October 28, December 25 & 26

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The Acropolis Museum

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National Archaeological Museum

the country’s oldest museum is considered to be one of the most important in the entire world. Its collection includes some of the most famous