This is post five of sixteen of our summer trip to Greece. Check out our other posts in the series here:
- Greece Lightning: Heading to Greece
- Acropolis for Breakfast: Staying at the Hilton Athens
- Starting at the Top: The Acropolis
- Oompa! Eating Athens
- Taking it Indoors: Athen’s Museums
- Athen’s Other Sites
- Room with a View: Staying in Santorini
- Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 1
- Santorini’s Spectacular Sights: Part 2
- Looking for Santorini’s Best Eats
- It’s All Greek to Me: Heading to Naxos
- There’s a Meat Town in Naxos!
- Shots! Shots! ShotsShotsShots! Heading to Mykonos
- A Delightful Day Trip to Delos
- The Trashy Side of the Greek Islands
- Bling Bling y’all! Upgraded at the Hyatt Regency Montreal
I have a mixed relationship with museums. I love walking through them, but scarcely read anything. This means that an average museum trip for Mrs. Selfish and I is usually less than 2 hours.
We’ve blazed through the Uffizi in Florence (where we almost missed the Birth of Venus), the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, and the Museum of Natural History in NYC, to name a few. Undoubtedly we missed much.
So when it came to Athens, I was debating whether or not we should even head indoors. With 3 full days in Athens, however, it became clear that we were running out of things to do, so we decided to head to the National Archaeological Museum and the Byzantine Museum. Good thing too, as both proved to be well worth the trip.
The National Archaeological Museum
Considered (by Wikipedia) to be one of the greatest museums in the world, the National Archaeological Museum has one of the largest collections of ancient artifacts I’ve ever seen.
I love me some Greek statues, so this was well worth the trip. It was also nice to actually see the statues in Greece, as opposed to other European museums where they were “on loan” or had been looted from Greece hundreds of years ago. Entrance to the museum was 7 euros per person.
Mrs. Selfish and I usually like to stupid poses of statues, but this trip was a bit of a fail since the guards seemed a little sensitive. I’ve actually never had anyone warn me off of posing, but perhaps Athens has a “do-not-mock-our-statues” law.
There was also a temporary exhibit on statues that had been recovered from a sunken Greek ship. Housed in an eerie deep blue room, I was struck by how well the statues had weathered hundreds of years of seawater.
The National Archaeological Museum also has a pretty slick Egyptian collection. Not nearly as large as the British Museum, but they had a collection of bronzes with different mythological figures I had never seen anywhere else before.
The Byzantine Museum
Next we headed to the Byzantine Museum. The museum has an epic collection of Byzantine and Christian art, with over 25,000 exhibits. Also, the building itself is gorgeous.
Entrance is 4 euros per person and is totally worth it. Unlike most Byzantine exhibits, which feature gold-plated saint after gold-plated saint, the Byzantine Museum in Athens features a range of works including statues, remnants of ancient buildings, garb, furniture, and bad-ass murals.
We didn’t even attempt stupid pictures here.
Even if you’re not a fan of Judeo-Christian art I’d say the museum is well worth a visit. This was one of the more impressive small museums we’ve ever visited, and I don’t even (typically) like Byzantine art.
Join us tomorrow for our last post on Athens, and then it’s on to the Greek Islands!