The National Archaeological Museum in Athens has wide collections of artifacts from various times in Greek history. It’s very overwhelming to see them all, especially when you don’t have much time to spare. So I’m breaking down 14 artifacts that you must see when inside. This is, for me, a very subjective list, of course! You’re welcome to add yours to the comment below this post.
1. Golden Age of the Mycenaean Civilization
As soon as you enter the museum, you will find the relics from Mycenaean civilization. The golden face masks command attention and the rest of the golden pieces of jewelry are fascinating.
2. Wall-paintings from the Acropolis of Mycenae
I’m a fan of old wall paintings so I included this here. The colors are still so vivid and are pretty impressive despite its missing pieces. This wall painting was found at the palace in the Aegean in Minoan Crete. Don’t miss seeing the other wall paintings, too. You will find that most of them are done in earth colors and depict religious rituals from the ancient royal palace.
3. The Young Jockey on the Galloping Horse
The bronze sculpture of a young boy on a galloping horse is massively life-size. The boy’s face reveals his passion for the sport. Though some parts of the statue are missing, we can easily tell that his left hand must have held the reins. At first glance, I thought he was giving a middle finger! 😀 And his right hand, undoubtedly, had a whip that caused the horse to gallop.
4. Perseus or Paris?
This statue is a mystery that the museum call this as “Statue of a Youth.” However, they also acknowledge that this could be Paris holding the ‘Apple of Strife” which he was ready to award to Aphrodite, the “fairest of them all.” On the other hand, this could also be Perseus holding the head of Medusa. Now, look at his right hand, do you think he’s holding an apple or a head full of snakes? ‘)
5. Emperor Augustus Statue
Oh well, this is the Emperor on a horse that is missing. His hands are formed and raised to signify an official greeting. That’s all. 😀
6. Statues of Kouros
Kourous, in Ancient Greece, means a boy, a young man, or youth with a noble rank. They are free-standing statues that depict naked young males. You can find these statues in many museums anywhere in Greece, especially in ancient, historical destinations.
7. Take a Wild Guess – Is this Zeus or Poseidon?
Look at the photo below and take a wild guess: Is it Poseidon or Zeus? Until now, the question is still open for debate. However, if you read the museum description, they seem to think that it’s probably Zeus!
8. Life-size Statue of Athena
This statue of Athena is said to be the best-preserved statue of the goddess of war and wisdom. Go around it and you can still see the minute details of this marble sculpture.
9. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Beauty, on a Marble Disk
Though incomplete, the statue still shows grace and beauty. From the eyebrows to the nose, lips, and chin – everything screams perfect beauty. No wonder Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty. In Greek mythology, she’s a goddess who was born from the sea foam.
10. The Young Athlete
The man depicted here is unknown. But by the look of the band on his head, he is a young athlete who just won a competition.
11. The Spring and Antelope Frescoes
Despite its age, these frescoes are still very impressive. The colours are as vivid as it was first painted.
12. Kerameikos Tombs
I know it’s weird to look at skeletons of the human body, but if you take a quick look, you’ll notice that these skeletons are in a fine condition. They were found in a cemetery in the Kerameikos area in Athens.
13. The Olympiad Dial
This is so fascinating that I couldn’t explain it here. When you have the chance, read each of the descriptions you’ll find. And yes, it says something related to the Olympiad.
14. Attic Clay
If clay pottery is your thing, then this section of the museum is your paradise. Check out the one in the photo below. You can’t miss it. Look at both sides of the tube-like object and you’ll see scenes of the mythic weddings. And on the front side of it, a bust of Aphrodite stands out with grace and beauty.
Hotel in Athens With a View of the Acropolis
If you want to stay in the heart of ancient Athens with a fantastic view of the Acropolis and the Parthenon from your room window, then, A for Athens Hotel in Monastiraki is your best bet. You can book it via Booking.com, Expedia, and Booking.com. The hotel also has a rooftop bar and restaurant with a breathtaking view of the ancient sites nearby. Remember that Monastiraki area is where you can walk to all the ancient sights you want to see in Athens.
If you’re a budget traveler, there are a couple of hostels in this area, too. Try City Circus Athens Hostel and Bedbox – both are nice hostels to stay in. You can book either of them via HostelWorld and Booking.com.