The National Archaeological Museum of Athens can effortlessly lay claim to being one of the very greatest museums in the world. It can do that because it is literally jam-packed with most of the most famous art objects from ancient Greece, so much so, a first-time visit here is a strangely familiar experience. From the towering bronze Poseidon to the shimmering gold mask of Agamemnon, the antiquities on display here provide the staple images of ancient Greece; adorning guidebooks, calendars, and travel agents’ windows around the world. Familiar many of these works might be but the wow-factor is certainly no less for it. Wandering around the museum one has a constant urge to re-trace one’s steps for just one more glimpse of a stunning piece before moving on. As everything is arranged in chronological order, your tour of the museum gives you a perfect vision of the evolution of Greek art and there is even an Egyptian section as an added bonus if your senses have not already been blown away by everything on the ground floor.
Stories tagged Athens
I was in Athens, on a rooftop restaurant under a floodlit Acropolis, marveling at how a Greek salad never gets boring. It was the last day of a long trip. I was reviewing, as I always do after completing an itinerary, how effectively our time was spent. We had kept our focus more on seeing historic sights on the mainland rather than luxuriating on Aegean Islands. Given that focus, here are the top ten stops — in itinerary order — that make what I consider the best two weeks Greece has to offer:
Athens, a big ugly city, has obligatory ancient sights (the hilltop temple of the Acropolis, and the ruined forum of the Agora); an extremely touristy old quarter (the Plaka); and fine museums — the best in the country. Its four million people sprawl where no tourist ventures, including new immigrant zones with poor yet thriving communities. The joy of Greece is outside of Athens. See it and scram. Read more…
The Zea Harbour Project (ZHP) is a combined land and underwater archaeological investigation of the ancient harbours of Zea and Mounichia in the Piraeus (Athens’ harbour city) in Greece. Launched in 2002 under the auspices of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, the 26th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities (until 2009) and the Danish Institute at Athens, ZHP’s mission is to survey, excavate, and publish the archaeological remains of the ancient naval bases of the Piraeus. The Carlsberg Foundation has funded the project since 2004.
In this interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks with Dr. Bjørn Lovén, Associate Fellow in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southern Denmark, and director of the ZHP.