The Byzantine Museum in Athens is located a short walk away from Syntagma Square. Inside, you can expect to find religious and other artworks dating from the heyday of the Byzantine period. Here's my guide to the Byzantine museum Athens, and what you can expect to see there.
Where to find the Byzantine Museum Athens
The Byzantine Museum, or to give its full name, The Byzantine and Christian Museum, is located at Vassilissis Sofias Avenue in Athens, Greece. The museum was founded in 1914, and moved into its present home at Villa Ilissia in 1930. This places it at a short walk away from Syntagma Square, and next door to the Athens War Museum.
The museum and individual exhibitions have undergone several transformations, with the last one major one being in 2004. This resulted in what we see today – A world class, well laid out and informative contemporary museum.
About The Byzantine Museum
The Byzantine Museum in Athens is home to more than 25,000 pieces of Byzantine icons, frescoes, pottery, sculptures, textiles, and manuscripts. It is considered to be one of, if not the, most important Byzantine museums in the world.
The priceless collection of Christian art and artifacts, is clearly laid out and well marked, with both Greek and English translations.
The Byzantine Period
By the way, for anyone that doesn't know, the Byzantine period lasted between 330 and 1453. This was effectively the eastern Roman Empire, run from its capital in Constantinople or modern day Istanbul.
The empire was mainly Greek speaking (or at least Greek was the common language), and the Orthodox version of Christianity was the official religion. The Byzantine Museum in Athens then is basically home to largely, but not exclusively, religious artefacts from this period.
Dave's Opinion on the Byzantine Museum in Athens
I spent a good couple of hours wandering around the Byzantine museum. Everything was well presented and labelled, although it helped to know a little about the Byzantine era before hand.
I think that my favourite areas, were the rooms containing the icons. Painted onto wood, they were double sided, and as you can see from the picture above, the detail was incredible.
Staff at the Byzantine Museum
My only criticism, is of the staff there.
Anyone who has visited a museum or ancient site in Athens or Greece, will know that there are always a dozen or so bored looking staff hanging around. When they are not chewing gum, or checking Facebook on their phones, it's their job to say ‘no flash' ‘don't touch'. I haven't got a problem with this, as everyone has a job to do.
In the Byzantine Museum though, they would give Stalin's secret police a run for their money. In some parts, they are literally looking over your shoulder and breathing into your ear! And they work like a tag team, handing over to the next person as you walk through. Chill out guys!!!!
I visited the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens as part of a continuing project at Dave's Travel Pages to visit every museum in Athens. I haven't visited them all yet, but I'm getting there! You can see the list of all the museums in Athens here – Museums in Athens.