The National Glyptotheque Museum in Athens houses a collection of modern Greek sculpture. Based in a unique location on a former ‘Army Park', it is something of a hidden oasis right in the middle of Athens. Read on to find out about what you can expect to see, and why it makes a good place to spend a pleasant afternoon.
One of the things which has made this project of visiting every museum in Athens so interesting, is that the story I uncover is never just about the contents of the museum. The buildings they are housed in also have a history of their own, and this is certainly the case with the National Glyptotheque Museum in Athens. It is located in the grounds of an old army camp, and the two main museum buildings were actually former royal stables.
The first building houses the modern Greek sculptures which make up the collection of the National Glyptotheque Museum. The second building houses a collection of artworks from the National Art Gallery. This is where things become a little confusing, in true Greek style! Officially, the National Glyptotheque Museum is an annex of the National Art Gallery. However, as the National Art Gallery main building is currently closed, they have used one of the buildings on the Glyptotheque site. Confused? I think many people are, which is probably why some of these museums are so little visited by the general public.
Entry to both the sculpture and the art collections is available on the one ticket, but here, my pet hate comes into play. No photos allowed! I really, REALLY don't understand why museums and art galleries do this. Is the point of a museum to display exhibits to the public or not? As a consequence, I have no photos of the inside of the National Glyptotheque Museum in Athens to show on this page.
Fortunately, I could take some photos of the sculptures and modern art installations in the grounds of the former army camp itself though. It also gives me a chance to write about my other observations after visiting the National Glyptotheque Museum in Athens. Namely, this is a lovely quiet oasis in the middle of Athens! I've always wondered where parents teach their kids to ride a bicycle in Athens (which is notoriously bicycle unfriendly). Well, it would appear that this is the place! There is plenty of space for kids to learn to ride their bikes, for people to walk dogs, and even to have a picnic. I get the feeling that the grounds surrounding the National Glyptotheque Museum are something of a hidden secret to the locals of the area!
This building used to be the Army bakery. The long-term plan is that this will be renovated and turned into another museum building.
The National Glyptotheque Museum in Athens is definitely worth visiting as much for the grounds as the museum itself. It is a lovely place to spend a quiet afternoon, and feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of central Athens.
National Glyptotheque Museum
Army Park, Goudi
Entrance from Panagiotis Kanellopoulos Avenue (Katechaki Avenue)
Metro Station: Katehaki
Tel. 210 7235857, 210 7235938 Fax: 210 7224889