Not a big museum, but a very rich collection.
Centrally located, this museum is a great alternative to who desires to make a brake in "old stones", with the 15000 pieces covering from the 4th to the 19th century.
I was surprised to be the only one visiting this museum as it was definitly a nice exibition of Christiand and Byzantine works.The museum is inside an ex villa made in tuscan style and, sitting on its garden is also a chance to get away for a while from the cahos of the city.The exibitions is divided in some galleries set on various levels.
To come here you can stop at Evangelismos metro station and once you get out you proceed on your left.
Although most people will come to Athens for the antiquities, do not miss this fabulous museum. It's housed in a 19th century mansion (actually most of the museum is underneath) and contains a magnificant collection of christian era art from beginning of the Byzatine empire through the middle ages.
This museum was first opened in 1930, but what you see today is a newly expanded and modernized museum with stunning objects and excellent explanations (in both English and Greek). The new permanent exhibition was only completed in 2010.
The Byzantine Museum's permanent exhibition is arranged according to themes, which add up to a long history from the first centuries AD to the present day (yes, that's right, Byzantine art is still very much alive in the Hellenic world of today!).
I found the first theme intriguing: the transition from the ancient, classical civilization to Byzantium. It turns out that this was a slow and gradual process, which puts the two civilizations on a continuum rather than on opposite ends of the cultural axis.
Another theme is dediicated to Coptic art in Egypt.
Then the exhibition follows the rise and fall of the Byzantine empire. There are beautiful icons, paintings, iconostases, robes, marble slabs and more. The well-written narrative puts it all into perspective. The fall of Constatinople to the Turks in 1453 is displayed in a thrilling way.
Then there are all the post-Byzantine-Empire works of art in different parts of the Greek Orthodox world. I was intrigued with the art of Crete and with the synthesis of Byzantine and Venetian art in the Ionian islands.
You don't have to be a Byzantine-Art-buff to enjoy this museum. There is somsthing there for everyone.
One comment: There isn't one single chair or bench for visitors inside the museum. Tired visitors seized the opportunity when attendants were on patrol and "stole" a minute's rest in their chairs...
The Byzantine and Christian Museum was founded in 1914. From 1930 on it has been housed in the "Ilisia" mansion, which belonged to the Duchess of Placentia and was built in 1848 by the architect Stamatis Kleanthes. It was transformed into a museum by the architect Aristotle Zachos. Today an addition is being made and a large extension with basement and buildings in part above ground. The architectural design is by Manos Perrakis.
The collections of the Byzantine Museum show the course of Greek art from the 4th to the 19th century. They comprise sculptural works, paintings and small works of all sorts. These works represent the artistic production of the Greek area, and other regions both central and peripheral of the Byzantine empire and subsequently of Hellenism on into post-Byzantine times.
The Museum collections include the following:
Byzantine and post-Byzantine ikons.
Small objects (cloth, coins, pottery, metal objects, silver)
Patterns (anthibola), bronze engravings, lithographs
A collection of old prints (incunabula)
A collection of copies of paintings
Greece abounds in museums highlighting the country's Byzantine heritage and, although the best one is clearly in Thessaloniki (see my tip under the Thessaloniki section), the Athens museum is a great collection of art and artefacts from the beginnings of Christian Greece to the fall of Constantinople. The Museum brings together a collection of many items, all of which are thoroughly explained in terms of both their artistic and historical significance. There is also a small section with Coptic artwork to demonstrate the Byzantine influence among Christians in Egypt. Although the recreations of graves and mosaics in their original set up is impressive, the best part of this museum is the way in which it explains the history of the Byzantine Empire through artwork. For example, the re-use of pagan elements in Christian churches, the effects of the iconoclasm and the introduction of Western influences on Byzantine art after the sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade are all succintly and intelligently described to the museum patron.
The Byzantine museum was founded in 1914 and it is located
next to the war museum
With a complete Byzantine collection the museum includes
wooden iconostasis, jewellery, manuscripts , wall paintings
and many more
The Bisantine museum displays a nice collection of art and artifacts from the Bizantine period. The main gallery is organized chronologically. The back building features changing exhibits. Allow one to three hours. Admission 4 euros.
From 1930 on it has been housed in the "Ilisia" mansion which belonged to the Duchess of Placentia and was built in 1848 by the architect Stamatis Kleanthes. It was transformed into a museum by the architect Aristotle Zachos. Today an addition is being made and a large extension with basement and buildings in part above ground.
The collections of the Byzantine Museum shows the course of Greek art from the 4th to the 19th century. They comprise sculptural works, paintings and small works of all sorts. These works represent the artistic production of the Greek area and other regions both central and peripheral of the Byzantine empire and subsequently of Hellenism on into post-Byzantine times.
The museum collections include: Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons, sculpture, manuscripts, wall paintings, mosaics, small objects (cloth, coins, pottery, metal objects, silver), wood, carvings, patterns (anthibola), bronze engravings, lithographs, a collection of old prints (incunabula) and a collection of copies of paintings.
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This museum is a real must. Apart from the classical period, another dimension of the Greek civilization is the Byzantine period. Renovated for the Olympics this museum is housed in a 19th century mansion that used to be the residence of the Duchess of Placentia. The exhibits range from sculptures that date from the early years of Christianism (4th century, among them one of the oldest depictions of the Nativity as well), to medieval icons, manuscripts, wall paintings and mosaics. They are displayed in a wonderful way and their illumination makes the place quite awe-inspiring. You can take photos but only without flash. Check out my new relevant travelogue!
I lucked out when I visited this highly regarded museum because there was an important exhibition on display here featuring works from Egypt's St. Catherine's Monastery. It was exceptionally good and made regret that I had not visited this monastery while in the Sinai. Such is the frustration of traveling as you find yourself overlooking things that later you realize that you would be very interesting in exploring.
The Byzantine Museum itself is probably the one museum other than the National Archeological Museum, that I would recommend that the tourists with the time available should make the effort to see. Too often with all the Ancient Greek imagry of Athens and Greece, does the tourist forget about the glorious medieval and Byzantine attractions that are available to see here. The Byzantine Museum is a wonderful place to introduce yourself to this period in Greek history and art. The museum has a very strong collection of Byzantine icons, mosaics, sculptures and other forms of religious art. There is also a recontruction of an early Christian era chapel.
The museum is located in a lovely 19th century Florentine building. It can be visited from 8:30am to 3pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Admission is 4 Euros.
It was founded in 1914 and contains sculpture, mosaics, wall paintings, objects, manuscripts between 4th-19th c. AD. The collections of this nice museum comprise paintings and sculptural works from regions all over the byzantine empire. An extension of the Byzantine Museum took place in 2001.