Museums in Greece

Stoa of Attalos

The Stoa of Attalos was a covered walkway or portico in the Agora of Athens. It was built by and named after King Attalos II of Pergamon, who ruled between 159 BC and 138 BC. The current building was reconstructed in 1952–1956 by American architects along with the Greek architect Ioannis Travlos and the Greek Civil Engineer Yeoryios Biris. Typical of the Hellenistic age, the stoa was more elaborate and larger th ...
Founded: 159 BCE (1952-1956) | Location: Athens, Greece

National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistory to late antiquity. It is considered one of the greatest museums in the world and contains the richest collection of artifacts from Greek antiquity worldwide. The current location was proposed and the construction of the museum"s building began in 1866 and was c ...
Founded: 1866-1889 | Location: Athens, Greece

Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum, opened in 2009, focuses on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. It also lies over the ruins of a part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens. Nearly 4,000 objects are exhibited over an area of 14,000 square metres.
Founded: 2009 | Location: Athens, Greece

Archaeological Museum of Chania

The Archaeological Museum of Chania was established in 1962. to the house built probably in the 1500s. It served as a Venetian church inhabited by Franciscan monks, and became an important monument of the city. During the period of the Ottoman occupation, the building was used as a mosque and named after Yussuf Pasha, the conqueror of Chania. At the turn of the 20th century it became the cinema and after Worl ...
Founded: 1962 | Location: Chaniá, Greece

Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki

The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is one of the largest museums in Greece and the central museum of northern Greece. It holds and interprets artifacts from the Prehistoric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, mostly from the city of Thessaloniki but also from the region of Macedonia in general. The museum is housed in a building designed by architect Patroklos Karantinos and is an examp ...
Founded: 1912 | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is one of the greatest museums in Greece and the best in the world for Minoan art, as it contains the most notable and complete collection of artifacts of the Minoan civilization of Crete. The museum began in 1883 as a simple collection of antiquities. A dedicated building was constructed from 1904 to 1912.  Today Herakleion Archaeological Museum is one of the largest and most ...
Founded: 1883 | Location: Heraklion, Greece

Byzantine and Christian Museum

The Byzantine and Christian Museum was founded in 1914, and houses more than 25,000 exhibits with rare collections of pictures, scriptures, frescoes, pottery, fabrics, manuscripts, and copies of artifacts from the 3rd century AD to the late medieval era. It is one of the most important museums in the world in Byzantine Art. In June 2004, in time for its 90th anniversary and the 2004 Athens Olympics, the museum reopened ...
Founded: 1914 | Location: Athens, Greece

Museum of Byzantine Culture

The Museum of Byzantine Culture was opened in 1994. It was established with the aim of creating a centre in which aspects of Byzantine culture surviving in Macedonia in general and Thessaloniki in particular may be kept, researched, and studied. The museum has collections of sculpture, frescoes, mosaics, icons, and inscriptions from the Byzantine period. It has permanent exhibitions, rooms for temporary thematic exhibiti ...
Founded: 1994 | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum, established and endowed in 1930 by Antonis Benakis, houses Greek works of art from the prehistorical to the modern times, an extensive collection of Asian art, hosts periodic exhibitions and maintains a state-of-the-art restoration and conservation workshop. Although the museum initially housed a collection that included Islamic art, Chinese porcelain and exhibits on toys, its 2000 re-opening led to t ...
Founded: 1930 | Location: Athens, Greece

Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki

The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki presents the history of Sephardic Jews and Jewish life in the city. The collection of the museum was based on the documents, ritual objects, and photographic collections as well as the library that used to be housed at Vasileos Herakleiou 26. The building was built in 1904 by the Italian architect, Vitaliano Poselli. On the ground level are monumental stones and inscriptions that were o ...
Founded: 2001 | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Historical Museum of Crete

The Historical Museum of Crete was founded in 1953 and is housed in a neoclassical building of significant architectural merit. The museum’s permanent collections highlight the art and history of Crete from the 4th century AD to modern times. The collections are ordered chronologically and by subject matter, and are combined with visual material and multimedia. They include ceramics, sculptures, coins, jewellery, wal ...
Founded: 1953 | Location: Heraklion, Greece

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.