Benaki Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

Benaki Museum

Athens, Attica, Greece

The Benaki Museum houses a vast collection of art and artefacts from Greek history, from Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine Greece to the Ottoman age and right up to the present day.

Peta Stamper

20 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum in Athens houses over 100,000 artefacts from Greek history and showcases the many eras, civilisations and cultures which have influenced the development of Greece. Spread over a number of locations, the museum ranks among Greece’s foremost cultural institutions.

Benaki Museum history

The main museum, established in 1930 by Antonis Benakis in memory of his father, is located in the centre of Athens in a neo-Classical mansion which belonged to the Benaki family – who has their own collection of over 37,000 Islamic and Byzantine objects.

This fluid, beautifully designed space incorporates a whole range of Greek art and artefacts. Spanning from pre-history right up to the present day, Benaki Museum was designed around the idea that Greek history does not begin and end with specific events but rather exists along a continuum that continues today.

Benaki Museum today

Among the museum’s extensive collection are a wide variety of objects of historical and national importance. Foremost among these is an enormous collection of Greek art and sculpture ranging from Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine Greece to the Ottoman age and right through to modern times.

Yet alongside these grand artworks, the museum includes a range of more commonplace items including books, regional costumes, documents and scrolls. As well as Greek artefacts there are also permanent exhibits focusing on Chinese, Pre-Colombian and Islamic collections, though these areas are not all located in the central museum.

A number of satellite museums operate within the Benaki framework, including a children’s toy museum in Kouloura House, Palaio Faliro, and the Museum of Islamic Art, which is located near the Kerameikos cemetery. Note that the opening hours, contact details and entry fees listed here are all for the main museum.

Getting to Benaki Museum

Situated opposite the National Garden and Hellenic Parliament, Benaki Museum is easily found on public transport: in fact, buses E14 and X14 as well as trolleybus 3 stop right outside at Syntagma Square. Here there is also a metro stop on lines M2 and M3.

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