The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum located in the center of Athens and it houses the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis. The museum can be found on the archaeological site of Makrigianni which is a ruin of Roman and Early of Byzantine Athens.
The History of Acropolis Museum
The first Acropolis museum was completed in 1874 and can be found in the southeastern part of the Parthenon. After more artifacts were discovered, the museum cannot hold the entire collection and a smaller building was added to the east of the existing building in 1888. Although the museum was extended, it cannot hold the enormous collection that was being excavated, this leads to the construction of a new museum. The new Acropolis Museum was opened in 2009 and it covers 25,000 m2 area of land with an exhibition that covers 14,000 sq. meters. During the opening ceremony, the then Minister of Culture placed a piece of marble that was returned from the Vatican Museum to the Parthenon metope which symbolizes the Greek demand for the return of Elgin marbles in the new museum.
The new museum can be found on the former archeological site of Makyrgianni site which is just 280m from the Parthenon. Its main entrance is located on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street with additional entrances on Makrigiannis and Hadjichristou streets.
Exploring the Acropolis Museum
You are going to find the gallery of Acropolis Slopes on the ground floor of the museum which is a great place to get an insight into the different historical periods of the settlements of Ancient Athens. You will discover the settlement that grew on the slopes of the Sacred Rocks and also see the fragments of houses, workshops, wells, streets, cemeteries with thousands of artifacts that were used by the people.
You can then head to the archaic galley on the first floor where you will see exhibits from all sides and you will feel like you stepped back in the past. This section focuses mainly on the most important period in the history of Athens (7th century BC – 479 BC). This period was defined by the development of the city and a change in the political system which led to democracy. The third floor is the mind-blowing Parthenon Gallery and it features glass walls where you can enjoy the views of the temple and Athens. The temple was designed after Pericles launched a construction program to build new temples that are dedicated to Athena in 447 BC by the architects Iktinos and Kallikrates. The temple is opposite the entrance to the Acropolis sanctuary to celebrate the victory of the city in the Persian Wars.
You are going to find sculpted frieze and metopes of the Parthenon that are arranged in sequence in the museum which is arranged in a sequence just like they once were. These are the work of Pheidias and some others under his supervision which includes his students Alkamenes and Agorakritos. The frieze was built from Pentelic marble and it was further designed with metal attachments and paint and was completed over the course of 15 years. With regards to the frieze, many scholars believed that Pheidias chose the Procession of the Greater Panathenaia which is a 12-day festival that was held every four years which comprises sacrifices, special rites, musical competitions, and athletic contests. The south frieze represents the chariots, horsemen, and sacrificial procession.
As you head back down to the first floor of the Acropolis museum, you will see a gallery that is dedicated to the three major buildings in the city. These buildings are the Propylaia which is a new monumental gateway to the sanctuary that was designed by the architect Mnesikles, the temple of Athena Nike that was built in the 420 BC and was dedicated to the goddess that helped the Athenians during the time of war, and then the Erechtheion.
Facts about Acropolis Museum in Athens
- It has a collection of more than 4000 objects
- Definitely one of the must things to see in Athens
- The Entrance fee of the museum is 10 euros
- Got the title as the best museum of the world in a competition by the Journalists Union and Tourist authors of Great Britain
Did you know about the Campaign for the return of the Parthenon sculptures to the Acropolis Museum?
The sculptures of the Parthenon, also known as the Elgin Marbles consist a big collection of marble sculptures, which were transported in Britain back in 1806. Elgin managed to collect more than 30 shipments of antiquities, taken from Parthenon and there is a campaign that going on in order for them to be back in the Acropolis Museum.
As you stroll around Acropolis Museum and on the top floor you will be able to see empty spots in between the marbles and the exhibitions. Those are for the items that were carried away from Athens to Britain.
Definitely visit Acropolis Museum, is one of the must see things in Athens, share the love if you liked my article and can’t wait to hear your experiences!