With its exceptional collections of antique objects tracing the history of Greece from prehistory to the Roman period, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens is a must-visit for any visitor passing through the Greek capital.
Follow the guide!
A brief introduction to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens
The origins of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens
Let’s go back in time to the early 19th century when Greece gained independence after the war against the Ottoman Empire.
The first museum of Greek antiquities was established in 1828, shortly after the creation of modern Greece. It was located in the Old Academy of Athens, built in 1850 to house the University of Athens.
Over the years, the museum expanded, with the addition of a wing in 1889 to accommodate collections from the classical period, followed by the construction of new buildings in the 1920s and 1930s to house collections from the Mycenaean and Hellenistic periods.
Damaged during World War II, the museum was quickly restored at the end of the conflict.
Today, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens is considered one of the most important museums in the world for archaeology. It houses an exceptional collection of antique objects that tell the story of Greece from prehistory to the Roman period.
A major tourist attraction, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens is also a center for research and conservation of Greek art and history. It plays a leading role in preserving the country’s cultural heritage and continues to attract visitors from around the world who come to discover the treasures of ancient Greek civilization.
The Athens Archaeological Museum in a few figures
- The museum was founded in 1829, making it one of the oldest archaeological museums in the world.
- The exhibition halls cover a total area of approximately 3,000 square meters.
- The museum houses a collection of around 20,000 antique objects, distributed across 42 exhibition halls.
- The museum’s collection covers a period from prehistory to the Roman period, with objects dating back more than 5,000 years.
Visiting the National Archaeological Museum of Athens
How are the collections of the museum organized?
The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is organized into several sections, each devoted to a specific period of Greek history. The collections are presented chronologically, starting with prehistory and ending with the Roman period.
The museum’s collections include objects from the Minoan civilization, the Mycenaean civilization, classical Greece, and the Hellenistic period.
The collections of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens
The collections of the Athens Archaeological Museum include countless ancient objects discovered throughout Greece, including:
The museum has an immense collection of ancient sculptures.
The room dedicated to sculptures from the classical period is particularly impressive, with statues of deities and mythological figures.
The museum houses a wide variety of ancient pottery, showcasing the art of ceramics in ancient Greece. The pieces on display range from the simplest and most functional pottery to the most decorative and artistic pieces.
The museum’s collection of jewelry is also remarkable, with pieces that attest to the refinement of ancient Greek goldsmithing. The exhibited jewelry includes rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings made of gold and silver.
The museum also has an important collection of ancient bronzes, including statues of warriors, deities, and mythological figures. The exhibited bronzes testify to the skill of Greek artisans in bronze sculpture.
Frescoes and mosaics
The museum also houses a collection of frescoes and mosaics from the Roman period. These pieces testify to the richness and refinement of Roman art in Greece.
The most iconic remains of the Athens Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum of Athens houses a vast collection of remarkable ancient objects, but here are some of the most iconic remains that you will find on display in the museum:
The Mask of Agamemnon
This massive gold sculpture from the end of the Mycenaean period is one of the most famous objects exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. According to legend, the mask belonged to the famous Mycenaean king Agamemnon.
The Jockey of Artemision
This imposing life-size bronze statue of a young boy on horseback, dated to 150/140 BC, is incredibly realistic and remarkably well-preserved.
The statue was discovered in 1926 in the waters of the Aegean Sea, off the coast of the Greek island of Euboea, by a group of free-diving divers.
The Poseidon of Artemision
Considered one of the most beautiful sculptures of ancient Greece, the Poseidon of Artemision is a bronze statue representing the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon.
Dated to the late 5th century BC, it was discovered in 1928 in the waters of the Aegean Sea, near the Greek island of Euboea, by fishermen who reported their discovery to local archaeologists.
The Akrotiri or Thera Frescoes
These frescoes from the Minoan period were discovered on the island of Santorini. Representing a variety of subjects such as landscapes, animals, everyday life scenes, religious ceremonies, and mythological characters, they have survived the test of time as they were buried under volcanic ash after the eruption of the Santorini volcano, around 1627 BC.
Getting to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens
Located in the Exarcheia district, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens in the center of Athens is easily accessible by public transport, with several metro stations and bus stops nearby:
- Metro: the nearest metro station to the museum is Victoria Station, located about 650 meters southwest of the museum. Omonia Station is about 1.3 km east of the museum.
- Bus: several bus lines pass near the museum. The closest stops are “Patission – Alexandras” and “Patission – Tositsa”, located about 100 meters east of the museum. They are served by the following lines: 024, 025, 026, 054, 057, 732, A7, B7, X14.
The museum also has a paid parking lot for visitors.
Opening hours of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens
The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is open every day except Tuesday and certain holidays:
- from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in winter
- and from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in summer
Admission fees for the National Archaeological Museum of Athens
The admission fee for the National Archaeological Museum of Athens is:
- €6 in low season (November to March)
- €12 in high season (April to October)
Admission is free for visitors under 18 years old.
To avoid waiting in line, you can buy your tickets online in advance:
→ Admission ticket to the National Archaeological Museum with or without audio guide
There are also combined tickets including access to the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, and the archaeological museum.
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