The New Acropolis Museum of Athens opened at 2009 and is worthy of the monuments’ history, that are housed there. It is located in Dionysiou Aeropagitou Street, before Herodeon and below the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis. It is the new historical and cultural jewel of Athens. The first Museum with sculptures from the Acropolis, was on the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis and was established in 1865. Many refinements and expansions had been done, however the building’s capacity wasn’t enough to include all the findings, that were being unearthed at the excavations over the years.
Furthermore, by virtue of the request of Greeks to have the Parthenon Marbles back (they were stolen by Elgin, are not house in the British Musevn and are called the Elgin Marbles), led to the decision that the construction of a new building was necessary. The Museum was built under the best standards, it is spacious and imposing, but the marbles werent’t returned, because it is claimed that the aim of the British Museum is to exhibit all the cultures of this world and that they are some of the most popular exhibits in the Musem.
The New Acropolis Museum – Athens
We arrived at the New Acropolis Museum and after walking down the steps, we reached the entrances, ready to absorb the history and get a picture of the daily life in the old times. We were already walking in the Museum’s courtyard, over an Athenian district, which we were observing through the glass floor. There is a district in the city of Athens, 3000 years old, with its streets, its houses, its squares, its water wells, its objects. It is an amazing eyeful and it is now open to visit. The Museum is hanging loose in pillars over an ancient city and we were walking over our history.
Skip the line tickets
In order to skip the queues at the ticked offices we suggest that you book your ticket online (skip the line) here.
If you want a guided tour to the New Acropolis Museum book here.
At the entrance, two big statues of women, the Winged Victories, welcomed us, calling us to tour around and live their life for a moment.
On our left and right side, we were looking at findings from the settlement and the temples, clay pots and daily life objects, giving us a picture of the daily life of the ancient times. The gradient of the street in front of us was increasing and we felt like we were walking up the Rock of the Acropolis, as we actually did some hours ago.
The Acropolis Museum – First floor
We entered the first floor and got lost among the numerous statues that were there and it felt as if we were living in the ancient era. Marvellous statues with perfect proportions, at which we were looking and were wondering, how did human hands achieve such perfection! Whose “divine” hands sculpted those marble pieces and gave life to them! And we were the lucky ones to be among them! A unique and extraordinary experience!
Did you know that the ancient Greek and Roman statues where coloured?
U.S. students showed that, when statues are lighted by UV light, from a specific angle, dye, colour and powder residues as well as paintbrush traces are discernible. The statues were coloured, but they lost their colour over the years. At the Museum of Copenhagen there was a statue exhibition of white marble and, next to them, exact replicas were placed, but coloured.
At the Acropolis Museum with kids
The Acropolis Museum, for anyone wishing to explore the subject, created an online digital game named “Color the Peplos Kore”, where children and adults can colour the statues from their computer. (play at home game)
You can also get from the Information Desk the Family Backpacks, which include various games and activities based on the exhibits, supported by colourful images of them, designed for children. The backpack’s activities require the cooperation of all the family members in order to solve all its challenges. You can read more about this experience here.
Young and old may sit in the library section of the museum and watchg the Caryatids from above, read books about ancient Greece and its culture. In addition when you go for a rest in the museum’s restaurant do not forget to visit the bookstore and buy children’s or adult books to learn the history of ancient Greece.
Everyone’s eye, as well as our’s, went immediately to the Caryatids, the kores of Erechteion, looming on a gallery, inviting us to admire them. They are placed in Π-shapre and of course they are five, instead of six.The sixth is the one stolen by Lord Elgin at 1801 and is exhibited at the British Museum.
What a grace, a beauty, an aesthetic, a harmony! The three of them are bending their right leg and the others are bending their left leg, giving us the impression that they are about to move. We also got that impression from the ruffles of their tunics sticking on their bodies as if there was a gentle breeze blowing. Such a perfection!
The Acropolis Museum – The glass hall
We went right ahead to the last floor of the Museum, the so-called glass hall. Oh, what great things we saw!The whole Parthenon was built on this floor !We could explore it, watch it and enjoy it as it was in the old times!
We were looking at the representation of the Parthenon in the dimensions of a real temple, surrounded by all the sculptures that have been saved till today. The pediments and the frieze with depictions of all the sculptures left and blank spaces at the rest of the parts. This connection of the original sculptures with the plaster replicas, its real dimensions and the direct touch we had with it, gave us the possibility of understanding the size of the temple.
The pediments are the triangle-shaped spaces on the temple’s narrow sides on the roof. At the frontal pediment the birth of Athena from Zeus’ head was illustrated and at the rear pediment the conflict of Athena and Poseidon about the claim for the city of Athens is depicted. The frieze displayed scenes of the Panathenaic Games and had 115 marble plaques in length of 160 meters. In the Acropolis Museum only 50 meters are exhibited, while the British Museum has 80 meters, and all the other parts of the frieze are exhibited in various museums around Europe!
The marbles have their own voice and they re crying out that they want to be reunited. Who knows, perhaps some day they will achieve it! We regretted to watch, though, that the Greek possessions of those works that are housed in the Acropolis Museum are very few. However, the whole monument of the Parthenon, was in front of our eyes and it was majestic. At the pediments and the frieze there the sculptures are placed, in the same way they are in the original temple.
But the most important of all is, that the original monument of Parthenon, is optically connected to the Acropolis through the glasses and it felt like we went back on time and lived next to the Parthenon 2,500 years ago. The hall had been covered with the afternoon sunlight and that orange-yellow light spreading everywhere, was amplifying our feelings in such a magical way, that somehow made us happy and pleased for what we have seen, lived and learned. A unique experience that I recommend you to live at any rate, when you visit Athens.
There are so many ways to make a tour to the museum such as simple entry (not recommended), guided tour, guided private tour by night, afternoon guided tour, alternative small group tour, with phone audio tour and more. Just decide which one fits you
Let’ s get some rest at the Acropolis Museum
If you want to get some rest, you can sit at the Museum’s café, on the ground floor, for a hot or cold beverages accompanied by a traditional pie or a “koulouri” from Thessaloniki (No tickets required).
Another recommendation is to have a meal at the Museum’s restaurant, on the second floor, at a balcony of 700 m2, with a view to the Acropolis. Have a meal and take delight in one of the dishes of traditional Greek cuisine (a free admission ticket from the Museum’s ticket offices is required).
Finishing our tour at the New Acropolis Museum of Athens, I have to admit that every tourist, foreign visitor, even Greeks, should make some time from their trip and their life, in order to visit the Acropolis Museum. It is really worth it!