4 breathtaking museums within walking distance from Syntagma Square
If you have just one free day and you cannot go further than the centre of Athens, you can spend your free time to visit these four interesting museums that will give you a great taste of Greek history and culture within some hours!
A ten minutes’ walk from Syntagma Square via Vasilissis Sofias Boulevard will bring you to the Benaki Museum (1, Koumpari Str.). This is one of the most famous museums in Athens and the first private museum of Greece. It was founded in 1929 by Antonis Benakis in his native house, one of the largest and most beautiful neoclassical buildings in Athens. The museum hosts in three floors of a representative collection of works covering all the periods of Greek history and art, from prehistoric times to modern times. It also includes objects of ancient Byzantine, post-Byzantine, Islamic and Greek traditional art and also objects of Chinese and Coptic art. Among all the exhibits, there is an impressive collection of jewels and traditional costumes from all over Greece that will take your breath away!
Museum of Cycladic Art
Within a three minutes’ walk from the Benaki Museum you will find the Museum of Cycladic Art. It is housed since 1986 in a specially designed building on Neofytos Doukas Street and one part of it, is housed in the neoclassical building of Stathatos Mansion since 1991. It hosts among many, approximately 350 rare, important ancient objects that belong to the ancient civilizations of Cyclades and Cyprus and its collection is one of the most important of the world. The collection consists of a large number of high quality marble figurines and vases, some of the earliest bronze objects in the Aegean, ceramic vases of daily and ritual use, etc. most of which are dated in the 3rd millennium BC. The museum also exhibits periodical exhibitions of ancient and modern art and one permanent exhibition of Ancient Daily Use crafts from the Middle Bronze Age (2nd millennium BC) to the end of the Roman period (4th century AD), guiding you through images and scenes to the ancient Greeks’ daily life.
Byzantine and Christian Art Museum
Leaving the Cycladic Art Museum you can walk down the Vasilissis Sofias Boulevard and 300m away you will be found at the door of the Byzantine and Christian Art Museum. The Museum is housed today at the Palace of the duchess of Plakentia (22, Vasilissis Sofias Boulevard), built in 1848 which served as residence of the duchess. Since 1914, the beautiful building has been hosting more than 25,000 exhibits, rare and unique collections of icons, sculptures, miniatures, frescoes, ceramics, textiles, manuscripts and copies dating from the 3rd century A.C to the modern times. The exhibits are ritual objects of Hellenic and generally Balkan Art. In the museum there are also periodical exhibitions of modern art that have a multidimensional unique dialogue with the exhibits of the museum.
War Museum of Greece
Next door to the Byzantine Museum you will find the interesting War Museum of Greece (2, Rizari Str.) In front of the modern building of the museum and into the outdoor area you will be amazed by the real war aircrafts and cannons. It is a very special museum that shows to the visitor the whole history of Greece. The exhibits include weapons of every period, uniforms, decorations, photographs, battle representations, maps, etc. from prehistoric times to modern history. Apart from Greece, there are exhibits from all over Europe and the Far East.
By the end of your tour, you will have obtained a global view of the Greek civilization, art and history of all periods, and we guarantee that you are going to want more!