Exploring Athens: The Panorama of Byzantine Athens

The panorama of Byzantine Athens

The Byzantine Museum built in 1848, was originally the mansion of the duchess of Piacenza. It is worth a visit, as it contains the largest collection of portable Byzantine icons in the world and is easily accessible. In the same area, the National Art Gallery is located, with a collection of -mainly- Greek painters.

byzantine athens

3. The Eleftherias Park

Eleftherias Park is not only one of the biggest parks in Athens but also a place that keeps alive the memory of recent Athenian history. From there, the Museum of Eleftherios Venizelos, dedicated to the eminent Greek statesman, the Museum of Anti-dictatorial and Democratic Resistance and the Art Centre of Municipality of Athens can be visited. Next to the park is the Athens Concert Hall.

5. The Hilton Hotel

The Hilton Hotel (corner of Vassilissis Sophias and Vassileos Alexandrou Avenues) was built in 1958-1963 by a group of architects, including Emmanuel Vourekas, Prokopios Vasileiadis and Spyros Staikos. Its style imitates the luxury hotels of that time. The linear designs on the wall facing Vassilissis Sophias Avenue are by the eminent Greek artist Giannis Moralis and refer to the Greek antiquity.

6. The National Art Gallery

Opposite the Hilton Hotel is the National Art Gallery, which was founded in 1976 and offers a complete picture of Modern Greek art. Its collections include 9.500 paintings, sculptures and engravings by significant painters such as Nikiophoros Litras, Konstantinos Volanakis, Nikolaos Ghyzis, Konstantinos Parthenis, Giannos Tsarouchis, Giannis Moralis, Nikos Chatzikyriakos- Ghikas and many more. There are also temporary exhibitions, usually held in collaboration with foreign museums.

8. The War Museum

The War Museum, inaugurated in 1975, is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city due to its strange shape that reminds of late 1950s postmodernism: it looks like a cubistic mushroom, as the first floor is wider than the ground floor. It is dedicated to the history and practice of warfare and displays war memorabilia from ancient to present-day Greece.

10. The Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens

The Byzantine and Christian Museum (22 Vassilissis Sophias Avenue) is housed in the impressive Ilissia Mansion, built in 1848 for the duchess of Piacenza. The museum is dedicated to the art and architecture of Christian and Byzantine time, from 4th century AD to the mid-19th century. Its collection includes sculptures, paintings and miniatures from the Greek mainland, the Balkans, Asia Minor and Egypt.

15. The Gennadius Library

The Gennadius Library (61 Souidias Street), one of the richest and most well-organized libraries of Athens, opened in 1926 with 26.000 volumes. Today, it numbers more than 100.000 volumes and keeps growing. It is an impressive building complex of classicist style, which is surrounded by a big garden. Its collection covers domains such as history, art, literature, philosophy and has many significant archives, valuable to the study of Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek history. The inscription on the frieze of the facade reads "Greeks are called those who share in our culture" (Isocrates).