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The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum


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The Acropolis Museum is a stunningly located and constructed archaeological museum housing a myriad of Ancient Greek artefacts, particularly those relating to the Acropolis and the Parthenon, both of which can be seen from the museum’s top floor panoramic windows.

Housed in an eminently modern building and using multimedia presentations side by side with ancient artefacts, the Acropolis Museum is both fascinating and accessible.

The undoubted highlight of the Acropolis Museum is the top floor where the Parthenon sculptures are beautifully displayed in the order in which they would have graced the original Parthenon.

Pointedly, there are gaps, filled by plaster-cast reproductions, which await the return of the originals – the Elgin Marbles – which are currently found in the British Museum having been brought to England (‘stolen’ in the view of some) at the end of the 18th Century by Lord Elgin. This site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions in Greece.


New Acropolis Museum

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New Acropolis Museum, museum in Athens, Greece, built to house the archaeological remains of the ancient Acropolis site that were formerly housed in the original Acropolis Museum (first opened in 1876). The New Acropolis Museum opened in June 2009.

The simple exterior of the 226,000-square-foot (21,000-square-metre) building, designed by Swiss American architect Bernard Tschumi, was intended to resemble the nearby Parthenon. In addition to adjusting the dimensions and modeling the columns to mirror those of the Parthenon exactly, Tschumi’s design also incorporated seismic technology in anticipation of the region’s frequent earthquakes. Among the museum’s many treasures are artifacts from the Archaic, Classical, and Roman periods. All were found in the Parthenon, on the slopes of the Acropolis, or in other extant structures on the site. Notable works from the collection include the original Caryatids, the relief of Nike Adjusting Her Sandal, and portions of the Parthenon frieze. The museum also has hundreds of marble sculptures.

Although the New Acropolis Museum was scheduled to be completed in time for the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, a series of archaeological discoveries on the site—including those of private homes from the early Christian period that contained artifacts such as marble busts, mosaic flooring, and amphorae—delayed its construction. The design plan was changed so that visitors would be able to peer through transparent floor panels to view the artifacts beneath their feet. In addition, an excavation site featuring the remains of an ancient village can be seen near the museum’s entrance.

Controversy continued over possession of the Elgin Marbles, a collection of ancient Greek sculptures that were removed from the Parthenon by British ambassador Thomas Bruce, 7th Lord Elgin, at the beginning of the 19th century. The Elgin Marbles are currently housed in the British Museum in London, but the Greek government has frequently demanded their return. The New Acropolis Museum was built in large part to house these treasures, and in anticipation of their return a top floor gallery of the museum, named Parthenon Hall, has been set aside for their display.


Under the Acropolis Museum

Beneath the Acropolis museum are the ruins of an ancient Athenian neighbourhood. Clearly visible are the remains of streets and houses, bathhouses and workshops. In what was initially considered a controversial move, the museum was constructed on the archaeology in such a way that enables visitors to look onto these ancient foundations. Although much of what you can see today dates to the late antiquity and early Byzantine periods (7th &ndash 9th century AD), there are still traces of Athens from the fifth century BC.

By the 1970s, it became obvious that the late nineteenth century museum on the Acropolis was inadequate in all respects. The building itself could no longer accommodate the quantity of artefacts being recovered on the Acropolis, while the ever increasing number of tourists placed an added strain on the facilities. In 1976 a new site was identified in the historical area of Makriyianni, which is the present location &ndash 300 metres south-east of the Acropolis. After a number of delays and changes to plan over a period of 31 years, the new Acropolis Museum finally opened its doors to the public on 20 June 2007.

One of the delays was the result of the discovery of archaeological remains on the proposed site in Makriyianni. In 1989 Melina Mercouri, the then Minister of Culture, had initiated a third architectural competition for the new museum. The two previous competitions (1976 and 1979) having failed for various reasons. A winner was chosen and construction was all but ready to begin when the remains of the ancient urban settlement were reached during the initial excavation of the building site. A fourth competition was held in 2000, in which tenders had to take the archaeological remains into consideration. And it is the design that won that competition, by Bernard Tschumi and Michael Photiadis, that we see in Athens today.

Through the use of pillars the contemporary building floats above the archaeological remains. Outside the museum, visitors look down onto the archaeology, while inside the museum glass floors enable you to see exposed sections of ancient architecture. The complexity of the site is easily seen in the plan of the ancient buildings below, where buildings of different periods are colour coded. This plan is on the only information board, and it is worth taking a few minutes and exploring the ruins beneath the museum. Below are some of the features you can see.

The dashed, white outline is the approximate location of the museum.

[Click on the photographs below to view a larger image.]

Walking off Dionysiou Areopagitou Street down the stairs and on towards the museum, you pass over a section of the walkway made of glass. Here you look down onto polychrome mosaic floors &ndash these were being restored when I visited.

Further along the walkway towards the entrance, an elliptical hole in the walkway exposes some well preserved remains from the 7th century AD. The large circular structure, into which visitors throw coins, are the foundations of a Byzantine hall-tower (1 on the plan).

Once inside the museum, in the entrance foyer/ticket lobby, just before you go through the turn-styles into the first exhibition space, the glass floor allows you to look down onto 5th century AD walls. Through the turn-styles, most people&rsquos attention is grabbed by the stunning collection of artefacts from various sites found on the slopes of the Acropolis &ndash including some of the many sanctuaries. But here too the floors are made of glass, with the remains of Byzantine age halls (8 on the plan) directly below.

Along the north side of the museum, to the east of the entrance, 7th century AD Byzantine remains of a small private bath (4 on the plan) and a hall (7) can be seen.

Although the focus of the museum is the collection of artefacts from the Acropolis &ndash the various sculptures of the Parthenon understandably being the jewel in the Museum&rsquos crown &ndash the archaeology on which the museum is built should not be overlooked. Currently, you may very well have the impression that all you can do is peer down and look at the circular walls of hall-tower or a mosaic floor. Unfortunately, today this is largely the case there is very little available information about the ancient neighbourhood. This is partly because excavations of the archaeological site beneath the museum are ongoing. Once the archaeologists finish their excavations, the site will then be made ready for visitors. Ramps and information panels will be added that will allow visitors to do more than just stare down onto the remains of ancient architecture.

When the archaeology was first discovered on the intended site for the museum, many groups felt the museum should be relocated. Others felt that the very presence of these remains made this an entirely appropriate location for the museum. The in situ remains of the ancient Athenian neighbourhood gives an added dimension to the visitor experience of the Acropolis Museum.

Throughout the ages the Acropolis has been an important landmark in the city. There is widespread agreement, the number awards the museum has received bears this out, that the state-of-the-art museum is the perfect showcase for the numerous objects that have been recovered from various temples and sanctuaries on and around the Acropolis. When excavations of the ancient Athenian neighbourhood are complete, visitors will be able to learn about the history and religious significance of the Acropolis, at the same time as understanding something about the daily lives of the people who lived in the shadow of the sacred rock from the 5th century BC to the 7th century AD.

Archaeology Travel Tip

During my stay in Athens, I am the guest of the Herodion Hotel, located in the very ancient neighbourhood the remains on which the Acropolis Museum is built. Besides the glorious view of the Acropolis, the hotel is literally a stone&rsquos throw from the Acropolis Museum and a block down from the the pedestrian walkway of Dionysiou Areopagitou Street &ndash the best way to access the city&rsquos most visited archaeological sites. When making a booking, request a room on the northern side of the hotel &ndash waking up to the Acropolis is magical!


The Acropolis Museum - History

Troubled history capped with success

When Melina Mercouri decided to turn her dream into reality and announced a competition to design a new museum for the Acropolis in Athens, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Ancient gods of Greece were determined to stop her. The plan to build a new museum was plagued by problems and delays. Architects and contractors went to court to fight for the lucrative contract to design and build the new museum local residents went to court to protect historic local buildings from demolition and just when work finally started on the winning design of Manfredi Nicoletti and Lucio Passarelli, an ancient urban development began to emerge from the ground being dug for the foundations. Construction work immediately ground to a halt.

The ancient site could not be destroyed. and so a new competition was organised to design the museum in such a way that the ancient site would be preserved and open to view. This competition was won by Bernard Tschumi, a Swiss-born architect now based in New York. His design involved carefully placed columns to support the building above the ancient settlement and included a glass structure, with views of the nearby Parthenon, which will one day house all the Parthenon Marbles when the British government is finally persuaded to return those in its possession to Greece.

With the new design chosen, time was running out to complete the New Acropolis Museum in time for the Athens Olympics of 2004. More delays meant that sadly that deadline was missed and it wasn't until 2007 that the building was finally completed. Next, all the exhibits from the old Acropolis Museum plus the many thousands of artefacts which had never been exhibited in that inadequate museum had to be transported to the new museum.

The New Acropolis Museum finally opened to the public on June 21, 2009. Nearly 4,000 objects were put on display (ten times more than the old museum) over an area of 14,000 square metres. The museum stands at the foot of the Acropolis, only 280 metres as the crow flies from the Parthenon. Within two months over half a million people had visited the new museum and the official website was visited by people from literally every country in the world.

On 8 November 2010, the New Acropolis Museum won the British Guild of Travel Writers' (BGTW) prestigious global award for the Best Worldwide Tourism Project for 2010. Yiorgos Nikitiadis, deputy minister of culture and tourism, received the award representing the Greek government. He thanked the organizers and noted the return of the Parthenon Marbles should now just be a matter of time!

The Museum's collections are located on three different levels. Entry to the first level is by a sloping ramp with a glass floor, giving views of the ancient urban settlement below.

The first level displays finds from the settlement and sanctuaries on the slopes of the Acropolis. The next level contains a large trapezoidal hall which houses the archaic finds. Also on the this level are artefacts from the other buildings on the Acropolis, apart from the Parthenon itself. These buildings include the Erechtheion, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaea.

Photo by Tilemahos Efthimiadis

The third level, the Parthenon hall, contains the Parthenon sculptures which were not taken to England by Elgin. Plaster copies of the sculptures hed in the British Museum have been placed in their approriate places in the frieze so that for the first time in 200 years visitors can see the frieze as it was before Elgin got his hands on it.

Unlike the British Museum, where the frieze sculptures are propped up against the walls of the room in which they are displayed, in the New Acropolis Museum the frieze is displayed as it would have looked on the Pathenon itself. In other words the frieze is displayed in the centre of the hall facing outwards (see photo right) and you walk round it like you would have walked round the Temple of Athena to see the frieze in its original position.

Visitors to the museum are able to see the Parthenon from the glass gallery. Moreover, the design of the Museum allows exhibits to be seen in natural light and incorporates a number of on-site excavations, including a large urban settlement dating from Archaic to Early Christian Athens, (see below). The contrast with the present display of the Parthenon Marbles in London could hardly be greater.

Work has begun on restoring the Caryatids, the statues of females (Kore), from the porch of the Erechtheion. Visitors can see the conservators at work, cleaning the Caryatids with advanced laser technology.

And of course there are plenty of facilities for visitors including a cafe, restaurant and museum shop. The museum also boasts an amphitheatre, a virtual theatre and a hall for temporary exhibitions.

Watch the short YouTube introduction to the New Acropolis Museum below.

Glass floor shows off Ancient Roman, Early Christian urban settlement

Professor Snodgrass, Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology, University of Cambridge, was part of a British team to visit the site of the New Acropolis Museum during its construction. Here he reports on the exciting plans to make the ancient urban development discovered during the digging of the foundations open to public view.

The new Acropolis Museum represents a notably fine and acclaimed design, destined to become world-famous. Furthermore, construction is being accompanied by an equally rare degree of sensitivity and respect for the ancient structures brought to light in the preparation of its site.

Photo by Maarten Dirkse

Together with the Vice-Chairman (Mr. Christopher Price) and the Secretary (Mrs. Eleni Cubitt) of the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, and Executive Director (Mr. David Hill) I was given a conducted tour of the site of the new Museum by the Director of the project, Professor Dimitrios Pandermalis. The main focus of the visit was on the archaeological excavations which will underlie the new building.

Besides being impressively preserved, these remains have the added interest of belonging mainly to the later Roman Imperial and Early Christian eras which, in Greece as in many Mediterranean countries, have been less fully studied than their predecessors. This makes it particularly fortunate that they are to receive such special treatment. A small sector of the site, in accordance with standard archaeological practice with well-preserved but fragile architecture, will be back-filled with loose earth. Another sector will be open to the air, but covered by a projecting canopy which forms part of the design of the new building. But the largest sector of all will become one of the showpieces of the Museum itself, viewed from above through glass panels in the floor of the ramp by which visitors climb up to the galleries. Bernard Tschumi's winning design for the building places it on a series of upright supports, and these will be carefully located so as to avoid piercing ancient floors or walls.

New Acropolis Museum website

The splendid website of the New Acropolis Museum is available in Greek and English. Click here for the English language version.


Acropolis Museum

The Museum of Acropolis is the newest architectural jewel of the city of Athens. Its building is a modern one covered mostly with glass that allows the natural sunlight to lighten the statues and relieves of Acropolis and a constant view to the actual sit of the Acropolis.

As the visitor approaches the building, he can see through the glass floor the ongoing excavation of houses and public buildings form the 5 th B.C. to the7 th A.D that stood at the feet of Acropolis. The exhibition starts at the ground floor. On both right and left side of the ramp are displayed artifacts that were discovered at the slopes of Acropolis. The show cases hold vases of various types that date form 3000 BC to 1 st century BC. The decoration of the vases varies. In some cases it is geometrical (7 th -9 th century B.C.), in others black figured (7 th -5 th century B.C.) and eventually red-figured (5 th -1 st century B.C.). There also some small statues and relieves that are votives to the small temples and sanctuaries that also used to be on the slopes of the Sacred Rock of Acropolis.

On the first floor right in front of the stairs and slightly to the right the exhibition holds fragments of the pediments of the temples that existed on the Acropolis’ rock prior to the Persian invasion. On the right side of this floor the archaic statues that stood as votives outside and inside of the temples are displayed. Kouroi and Korae, the distinct types of male and female statues of the era can been admired here. The visitor has the opportunity to witness the stylistic development in Sculpture of this period. Further down the exhibition, there are few samples of the Severe Style (490-450 BC) in Sculpture and the famous relief of the Mourning Athena. If the visitor wants to follow a chorological path through the museum, he should move to the second floor and not visit the left side of the floor at this point.

On the second floor there is a café-restaurant, a shop, a multimedia center and a terrace.

The exhibition continues on the third floor, where is the Parthenon Gallery. Here, the visitor can admire the sculptures of the pediment and the relieves of the metopes and frieze of the Parthenon. They are placed in a manner that simulates their original position. Moreover through the surrounding windows the visitor can see the actual building of the Parthenon where the sculptures initially stood. Copies of the original statues that are today at the British museum are supplied in order the visitor to be able to understand better the whole synthesis of the sculptural decoration of the temple. On the east side stand the fractures of the east pediment. Behind those, the east metopes and the east part of the frieze is displayed. In the same way on the west side of the floor the west side of the decoration of the Parthenon is shown and the same arrangement is carried on the north and south part of the floor. The third floor also has a small room where a film about the history of the building of the Parthenon is presented. The films shows the gradual destruction of the temple through the ages and wars, its transformation to Church and then to mosque and eventually the subtraction of the Parthenon sculptures by Lord Elgin.

Following the chronological order the visitor should return to the first floor in order to admire the sculptural decoration and the famous Caryatides of the Erectheion, the temple which was built about the same time as the Parthenon. The temple of the Athena- Nike is the newest temple of that era. The frieze of the parapet of the Athena –Nike is famous for the beautiful Nike that laces her sandals and can be admired here. The left side of the first floor contains statues from the 5 th century BC. to the 5 th century A.D. As Athens decline begins (due to the Peloponnesian war) less and less works of art are created for the Sacred Rock of Acropolis.

Overall the Museum of Acropolis is a modern museum which combines a strategic architectural design, beautiful and important artifacts and modern technology. It is planned in a way that helps the visitor understand better the art and culture of the classical Athens. Moreover it is a museum with an obvious political message. As copies of the missing sculpture emphasize the lack of the originals subtracting something crucial form the experience the visitor is almost forced to wish to return of the marbles of Parthenon to Athens.

Every Friday the museum is open untill 10 o'clock at night and its' famous restaurant is on untill 12 o' clock at night. Enjoy a perfect evening!


Athens’ Acropolis Museum Reopens to the World

A view of the interior of the Acropolis museum, looking up at the Parthenon atop the Acropolis. Credit: Facebook/Acropolis Museum

The director of collections and exhibitions at Athens’ Acropolis Museum spoke to the press on Thursday, just before the nation reopens to tourists, saying that the Museum is looking forward to reopening its gates to the public on Friday, May 14.

Stamatia Eleftheratou, the world-renowned Museum’s Director, explained that the state of the art facility’s closure during the most recent lockdown actually provided the perfect opportunity to tackle major projects that needed to be done.

“This period gave us the opportunity to restore a number of ancient works and to exhibit some others but mainly to complete a large project, the Digital Acropolis Museum,” she told the press.

The Acropolis Museum Athens is open for visitors once again. Credit: Facebook/Acropolis Museum

“It is a diverse program, with many sectors, one of which was the creation of the new website, the launch of which coincided with the lockdown period, giving the Museum the opportunity to address, if not its physical, at least its digital audience, which is just as large,” she added.

Eleftheratou explained that “the new website of the Acropolis Museum is not a simple website. It is an entire world, which captures the life and activities of the museum. It is also the first museum website in Greece in which all the exhibits of the Acropolis Museum have been posted.

Acropolis Museum worker examining priceless artifact. Credit: Facebook/Acropolis Museum

“That is, the visitor can find for each exhibit a description, a rich bibliography and plenty of supervisory material, ie pictures and videos – where they exist,” she noted. This is an important distinction in an age in which some museums choose not to share all their holdings with the public in order to lure visitors to their shows.

The Acropolis Museum is a treasure trove of Greek history from prehistoric times through the greatest days of Greece’s Golden Ages. Built over streets in the ancient city, visitors walk over a reinforced glass floor and peer down into carefully-excavated streets and buildings, gazing back into the history of the city itself.

The head of a goddess believed to be Aphrodite. Found in 1857 in the Odeion of Herodes Atticus. The statue is probably a copy of a chryselephantine work of the 5th or 4th cent. BC and possibly depicts Aphrodite. The oxydisation of the eyelashes has produced the extant stains on the cheeks which have flowed down from the eyes as if they were tears. Credit: Facebook/Acropolis Museum

The immense museum, which reopened for visitors today, spans a total of 25,000 square meters (269,097 feet), 14,000 of which is exhibition space.

Aside from the permanent exhibition, visitors may also enjoy the temporary “Chisel and Memory” presentation, which shows the remarkable craftsmanship of the marble workers to the restoration of the Acropolis monuments.

Opened in 2009, the new Acropolis Museum faces the monument from the very heart of the picturesque Plaka district. It is ten times larger than the previous museum, which was built on the hill of the Acropolis itself.

Stunning natural light is a focal element of its architectural design, with its creators aspiring to create a simple and precise museum with the mathematical and conceptual clarity of ancient Greece.

As explained on the Museum’s website, the visitor’s route through the building forms “a clear three-dimensional loop, affording an architectural promenade with a rich spatial experience that extends from the archaeological excavations to the Parthenon Marbles and back through the Roman period.”

On weekends, visitors are also given the opportunity to wander through the archaeological excavation which stretches underneath the Museum. Guided tours through the daily life of the people who lived around Acropolis Hill for over 4,500 years begin at 11 a.m. in English and 1 p.m. in Greek.

Eleftheratou noted that “Additionally, our website has a web-page that is addressed specifically to children, with rich activities and imaginative videos and games. In addition, a series of digital applications, interactive and video, was created, which the visitor can view not only in the physical space of the Museum, but also on the internet.”


The Museum’s Collection

The Acropolis Museum collection features sculptures that have been discovered in the Acropolis area. Visitors first start out by walking up a ramp. This is to represent the ascension of Acropolis Hill. Ancient daily life objects are displayed on each side of the ramp.

The first gallery has many archaic statues that date back to the fifth and sixth centuries BC. The Moschophoros, or calf bearer, is a very famous statue on site that was created in 570 BC. It represents Rombos who is planning to sacrifice a young calf. The center of this gallery displays the Boy of Kritios statue, and it represents the change from archaic artworks to classical artworks. There is also a wonderful relief of the young, mourning goddess, named Athena.

The next floor displays the reliefs and sculptures from the Parthenon. A large relief of the Parthenon frieze is shown on this floor. It is over one hundred and sixty meters long. There are over six hundred figures depicted in this frieze. It shows a Panathenaic festival that was held to honor the goddess Athena. The reliefs are exhibited in the exact order as they were once shown on the Parthenon. Many metopes are also displayed, which are relief sculptures that were created for the exterior of the Parthenon.

The last gallery exhibits parts of the Propylaea, and the Athena Nike temple. Additionally, the sections of the Erechtheion are displayed that include the Caryatid sculptures, which supported the structure’s south porch area. Visitors can watch conservators perform restoration work on the Caryatids. On the third floor, there is an outdoor terrace that provides a wonderful view of the area.


The Evzones on Sunday

The Presidential Guard marching in to lower the Greek flag at sunset. Photograph: Why Athens | The Acropolis of Athens

If you are lucky enough to be visiting the Acropolis on a Sunday, and have the resolve to be the first to climb the rock at 8am or the last to leave at its closing time at 8pm (during summer), you will catch a glimpse of the Greek Presidential Guard (Evzones) making their way to the Greek flag on the belvedere. Each Sunday, the Evzones raise the flag in the morning and lower the flag at sunset, accompanied by members of an Athenian marching band playing the national anthem.


Exhibitions

The Acropolis Museum houses a large collection of relics excavated from the archaeological site of the Acropolis. The remains of the Ancient City are located all along the bottom of the museum, underneath the glass floor. The exhibits also display numerous sculptures and classical period artefacts from the various temples on the Acropolis and fragments of the religious buildings, like the Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike and Erechtheion.

The Parthenon room, on the top floor of the museum, visitors will find items of greater value, once belonging to the Parthenon. Some of the highlights of the museum include the Caryatids, beautifully sculpted columns in the shape of a female figure.


The opening of the Acropolis Museum at its new premises in the summer of 2009 marked more than the inauguration of an emblematic building to house the Greek capital’s most precious antiquities. It was both a declaration to the world that Greece was ready to embrace its role as a guardian of world heritage and a powerful argument to back its long-standing claim for the Parthenon Marbles to be returned from the British Museum. In the six years since its opening, the museum has now received eight million visitors from around the world and has consolidated its ranking among the finest repositories of art in the world.

Just a stone’s throw from the Acropolis, it is a modern, architecturally simple yet imposing structure, designed by Bernard Tschumi and Michael Fotiadis to showcase its treasures and build a visual bridge that brings the ancient citadel almost within reach of the visitors inside. It is 10 times larger than its predecessor, with 14,000 square meters of exhibition space, and is both extremely visitor-friendly and innovative, making optimum use of technological advances and adopting solutions that break away from the stereotype of a traditional museum.

“ The opening of the Acropolis Museum was a declaration to the world that Greece was ready to embrace its role as a guardian of world heritage. ”

General view of the South Slopes Gallery

General view of the South Slopes Gallery

“ The arrangement of the exhibits in the Acropolis museum is a departure from the usual chronological museum set-up, allowing a meandering visit through galleries with different interconnected themes. ”

In the Gallery of the Acropolis Slopes on the ground floor you can catch a glimpse of life in Ancient Athens through finds from the different historical periods of the settlement that grew on the slopes of the Sacred Rock: fragments of houses and workshops, streets and squares, wells and cemeteries, along with thousands of artifacts used in people’s daily lives.

In the Archaic Gallery on the first floor, you can experience the exhibits from all sides, just as they would have been seen by visitors ascending the Acropolis almost 26 centuries ago. The focus here is one of the most important periods in Athenian history (7th century BC – 479 BC), defined by the development of the city-state and successive changes to the political system (by Solon, Peisistratos and Cleisthenes), which eventually led to democracy.

In the stunning Parthenon Gallery on the third floor, walls of glass afford views of the temple and of Athens. The temple was designed by the architects Iktinos and Kallikrates, after Pericles in 447 BC launched an unprecedented construction program in order to build a new temple dedicated to Athena, opposite the entrance to the Acropolis sanctuary, in commemoration of the city’s victory in the Persian Wars.

General view of the Archaic Gallery, with its unique collection of Archaic-era sculpture

General view of the Archaic Gallery, with its unique collection of Archaic-era sculpture

The Parthenon’s sculpted frieze and metopes are arranged in sequence so they can be viewed as they once were. They are the work of Pheidias and others under his supervision, including his students Agorakritos and Alkamenes. They were carved from Pentelic marble, further embellished with metal attachments and paint, and were completed over the course of 15 years. As the subject of the frieze, many scholars believe, Pheidias chose the Procession of the Greater Panathenaia, a 12-day festival held every four years, which included special rites, sacrifices, athletic contests and musical competitions.The south frieze depicts the horsemen, chariots and sacrificial procession. On block No. 8 you will notice that there is only one rider and one horse, while all the rest have at least two. What might this mean? Some experts speak of a “climax” of the work. According to this theory, it was either Pheidias himself being depicted (in self-portrait) or Pericles.

Useful Tips

• Archaeologists and museum staff are on hand to answer visitors’ questions daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can recognize them by their round badges, which state their official capacity

• The museum frequently organizes presentations and encourages families to learn about its exhibits through specially devised games.

The excavations below the entrance to the Acropolis Museum, where a late antique, early Byzantine neighborhood (7th-9th cents AD) has been revealed. The circular building was a tower/hall (7th cent. AD) with a central well

The excavations below the entrance to the Acropolis Museum, where a late antique, early Byzantine neighborhood (7th-9th cents AD) has been revealed. The circular building was a tower/hall (7th cent. AD) with a central well

Winding back down to the museum’s first floor brings you to the gallery dedicated to three important buildings: the Propylaia, a new monumental gateway to the sanctuary designed by the architect Mnesikles the Temple of Athena Nike, completed in the 420s BC on plans by Kallikrates and dedicated to the goddess who had helped the Athenians in times of war and lastly the Erechtheion.

The Erechtheion was a marble building of complex design and an outstanding example of the Ionic order, erected between 421 and 406 BC, at the time of the Peloponnesian War, to replace the older temple of Athena Polias. On its south side, six female figures – the famous Caryatids – were used to support the roof of the porch. Many explanations have been offered for the Caryatids. One of the most commonly held ideas is that this porch served as a monument for the tomb of Cecrops, legendary king of Athens, which lay beneath it, while the six maidens were libation bearers whose role it was to ritually honor the great ruler. Only five Caryatids are on display in the Acropolis Museum. The sixth was taken away by Lord Elgin and currently is in the British Museum.

“ Only five Caryatids are on display in the Acropolis. The sixth was taken away by Lord Elgin and currently is in the British Museum. ”


Watch the video: HACC - Acropolis Museum, Φώς. Fos Acropolis Tour Event (May 2022).


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