Greece remains one of the most beautiful countries on the planet, offering a number of exciting outdoor adventures for its travelers. However, tourists should not ignore the incredible culture that also exists in Greece. This country has a rich heritage that visitors can explore through a number of different museums. Specializing in everything from archaeology to art, Greece boasts some of the most celebrated museums in all of Europe.
Some of the must-see museums across the country include the following:
Archaeological Museum of Delphi
Located in Delphi, the Archaeological Museum of Delphi contains relics from the Delphic sanctuary, which formerly housed one of the most important Greek oracles. Here, visitors can see a wide range of sculptures and statues that were left at the sanctuary as donations. These pieces of art speak to the religious and political conditions of Greece through the entire Classical period. The museum presents the story of Delphi in chronological order and does a great job of explaining the context of each part of the permanent exhibit. This exhibit explores the various ups and downs of the sanctuary over the centuries, with a focus on the Archaic period. Visitors should be sure to check out the bronze Charioteer, as well as the digital reconstructions of the sanctuary.
National Archaeological Museum
The largest museum in Greece, the National Archaeological Museum has become one of Athens’ primary attractions. When it was first established, the museum held findings from archaeological digs in and around Athens, but it now holds interesting pieces from across the country. Altogether, the museum has more than 11,000 exhibits that look at Greek culture from the Prehistoric period up to Late Antiquity. Today, the museum has five main permanent collections that examine prehistoric art, vases, sculptures, and metallurgy from Greece, as well as antiquities from Egypt and the Near East. One of the major highlights of the museum is the Antikythera device, which people in the first century BC used to make astronomical calculations.
Archaeological Museum of Iraklion
Visitors to Crete should make time to explore the Archaeological Museum of Iraklion, which provides a comprehensive glimpse into Minoan culture. The museum has everything from bronze figurines to intricate gold jewelry. It also boasts some of the incredible frescoes that come from Knossos and feature various dancers and athletes that still speak incredibly well to modern culture despite being more than 4,000 years old. In addition to Minoan artifacts, the museum has pieces on display from Greek, Roman, and Neolithic peoples who inhabited the island.
Battleship Averof Naval Museum
To get more acquainted with modern Greek history, visitors can head to Faliro, a seaside suburb of Athens that is home to the Battleship Averof, which contains a naval museum. This unique floating museum allows individuals to explore most of the ship, which was built in 1909 and played a critical role in the Greek navy. At the museum, people get a glimpse of all the missions it took part in while learning about how the ship actually operated. Located in the same Faliro Bay complex as the battleship is the Trireme Olympias, a reconstruction of the ships the Greeks used in the ancient world. The reconstruction is meant to be as faithful as possible to the ships that were used more than 2,500 years ago.
Museum of Cycladic Art
Rated one of the top museums in Athens, the Museum of Cycladic Art looks at prehistoric artworks produced on the Cyclades, a string of Greek islands. Most visitors are struck by how modern the artwork here looks despite the fact that it is several millennia old. Cycladic art is defined by minimalism with smooth and elongated figures that have inspired artists like Picasso, Modigliani, and Henry Moore. Some art historians contend that the pieces in this museum represent the first attempts at artistically depicting a human face. Alongside the main collection, the museum often houses travelling modern exhibits and displays some Ancient Greek and Cypriot work.
A newer museum in Athens, the Acropolis Museum is architecturally stunning, five-story structure that displays many of the riches recovered from the ancient Acropolis. The museum features 36 of the 115 frieze panels that are on display in Greece, as well as numerous sculptures and statues. Interestingly, the path through the museum is designed to mimic the climb toward the Acropolis. On the ground level, the museum has a glass floor that provides views of current archaeological digs taking place at the Acropolis, which include excavations of an early Christian settlement and an ancient neighborhood.
Palace of the Grand Master
At the peak of the Castle of the Knights in Rhodes is the Palace of the Grand Master. This palace was first constructed as the residence of the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem and served as an administrative center for the government. Now a museum, visitors can see beautiful mosaic floors brought to the fortress from the island of Kos and a furniture collection representative of the 16th and 17th centuries. In addition, the interior yard features a number of Greek and Roman statues. A highlight of any visit to the palace is an exhibition that covers 24 centuries of the island’s history.