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Waiting for her sisters …

Visitors to Athens cannot help but notice the large cranes perched next to the Acropolis, and you’ll be hard pressed for the next several months to capture a photo of the Acropolis without the crane somewhere in your photograph.  Fret not about this, instead consider that you are in Athens for a historical moment in the city’s history, as the artifacts from the small museum that sat for years (rather sadly, sort of as an afterthought) in one corner of the Acropolis, are gingerly moved down from their perch to find a new home in the city’s latest crown: the New Acropolis Museum.


Located in the shadow of the Parthenon, just off of the beautiful pedestrian zone that begins near Vasilias Olgas and winds its way past the peaceful downtown neighborhood of Makrigianni, the museum opened its first exhibit a few months ago, and on a sunny February afternoon we paid it a visit. (Well, actually, we didn’t pay, entrance is currently free. Only the main floor is open, and only for limited hours – 10 AM until noon). 


The building is architecturally interesting for Athens. Lots of glass. Walking up the path between the traditionally built building that houses the Archeological Ministry  the reflections provide a simultaneous image of ancient, old and new, as the reflections change as you get closer to the museum’s main entrance.  Along the path glass panels in the sidewalk offer another glimpse at history, as do the columns upon which the entire museum is built. The excavations below the museum have been left intact and the museum sits perched above so that passersby can view the remains of the city that goes back to the Fifth Century BCE and which flourished until the Twelfth century AD.  Streets were found intact with water-supply lines and sewer systems, houses, shops and  villas with elaborate mosaic floors (some are displayed in the museum).  

Inside the museum the small exhibit chronicles the history of the museum’s coming to be, along with a terrific series of 12 displays in Greek and in English designed to help children understand a bit about the excavation process as well as the city which was unearthed during the process of constructing the museum.  Children visiting the museum also receive a book about the findings unearthed during the excavation, although unfortunately is currently only available in Greek. We were told that they hope to have it available in English (as well as other languages) soon. 

After the exhibit there is a large hallway leading to some stairs which offer a glimpse into some of the museums galleries. On one side a few lone statues stand, on the other side, beneath the floor to ceiling windows that glimpse the Parthenon, a group of artifacts sat waiting to be uncovered, for a second time. 


Descending the stairs, you’ll notice a lone statue standing between three wooden crates on the mezzanine gallery. There stands the one lone Karyatis, who once held the roof of the Erechtheion atop the Acropolis with her 3 sisters. Today, her sisters reside in England, but it is her hope, as it is the hope of the Greek people and Grecophiles around the world, that soon they will be returned to their homeland. A special gallery has been built for them, and until then, she will wait with the empty crates.


The museum is located at Markigianni St. 2 – 4, on the south side of the Acropolis.  There is a metro stop out front, appropriately named Acropolis, but it is really not a far walk from Syntagma Square and the neighborhood surrounding the museum is a beautiful, quiet residential area that is worth spending some time exploring.

Update as of September 2008 – the children’s exhibit was closed when we visited last week, in it’s places is a video presentation showing the moving of the museum pieces from atop the Acropolis to the New Acropolis Museum below.

By Athensguide

How does a little girl from Skokie, Illinois find herself in historical Athens, leading curious explorers through the winding streets of Plaka, down "pezodromos" to hidden ouzeries for tempting mezedhes and homemade barrel wine? The journey began more than twenty years ago, and regardless of whether the wanderlust comes from the spiritual and culture DNA flowing through my veins, or the alignment of the stars on that cold mid-December day this Sagitterian came into the world, I never seem to tire of exploring my adopted homeland of Greece. Here you'll join me as I explore Athens: be it the back streets of Psirri and Gazi, or through the National Gardens and Zappeio where a family of turtles makes their home, or down wide, treelined Imittou Street in Pagrati, which pulses with Athenian life 24 hours a day. And while Athens has stolen my heart, the rest of Greece vies for my curiousity and wanderlust. My two guys (that'd be the Greek God, Vasilis and our Greek dog, Scruffy) and I can often be found settling in for a long weekend in some charming mountain village, or a quaint fishing port on a nearby island, or learning how Greek vitners are producing wines that rival some of Napa Valley's finests productions, or celebrating a panayeri in Epirus or sharing in the festivities as a family of Cretan sheepherders come together to sheer their 1500 sheep in the spring ... And if you happen to find yourself heading to Athens, consider finding yourself a real home for your stay. Living amongst the locals, be it for 3 nights or 3 weeks, will offer you the chance to experience true Athens, beyond the Acropolis. Choose from one of our 5 beautiful penthouse and historical homes, and who knows, I may be leading you down that winding "pezodromo" to our favorite hidden ouzerie!

3 thoughts on “The New Acropolis Museum – The Museum and the Excavation, a special exhibit”
  1. The museum is architecturally very interesting – not only for the obvious visual spectacle it represents, but also for much of the reasoning behind its design, whereby it creates a loop in time as well as space through the way it leads you past the sculptures from different periods.

  2. Does anyone know if the museum is open. Recently I was told that it will open sometime after Sept 2008

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