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 completed in 1889.
The Prehistoric Collection consists of unique works of art representing the major civilizations that flourished in the Aegean from the 7th millennium to about 1050 BC. It includes objects from the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age, from mainland Greece, the Aegean islands and Troy. The most important exhibits are the treasures from the royal tombs at Mycenae, the Linear B tablets, the enigmatic Cycladic marble figurines and the superbly preserved wall-paintings from Thera with their large-scale compositions.
The Sculpture Collection contains a large number of unique pieces that present the evolution of ancient Greek sculpture from 700 BC to the 5th c.AD. The works come from sanctuaries, cemeteries and public buildings in Attica, Central Greece, the Peloponnese and the Aegean islands. There is also a significant number of sculptures from Thessaly, West Greece, Macedonia, Thrace and Cyprus.
The Bronze Collection is one of the world’s richest collections of original bronze works. Important groups also include vases of all types and tools, the weapons and finds from the shipwreck at Antikythera, including the famous device, a scientific instrument of the 1st century B.C. used for astronomical and calendrical calculations.
The Vases and Minor Arts Collection was assembled at the end of the 19th century. Today, about 6,000 objects are on display. The original core of the Collection (rooms 49-56) contains around 2,500 artifacts, which reveal the uninterrupted evolution of Greek pottery and vase painting from the 11th to the 4th century B.C., and is represented by the principal workshops.
The Egyptian Collection is of worldwide importance because of the wealth, quality, and rarity of its artefacts.
The compilation of the Cypriot Collection has total of around 850 artefacts, representative of all chronological periods of the Cypriot history and art, from the Early Bronze Age (around 2500 BC) to the Roman times (4th cent. AD).
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.