Benaki Museum

The private museum
in the city’s chic
neighbourhood of Kolonaki (1
Koumbari, 210 3671000) is housed
in a beautiful 19th century neoclassical
mansion, donated by Greek
benefactor Antonis Benakis.
The first floor is dedicated to the
Palaeolithic and Bronze Ages, the
Cycladic, Mycenaean and classical
eras. There is a vast collection
of tools, marble vessels, golden
jewellery and painted pottery,
glassware, ceramics, funerary
stelae, murals, Fayum portraits, as
well as a large collection of Roman
statues. There is an excellent
collection of Byzantine icons and
mosaics as well as beautifully
knitted religious fabrics. The first
floor offers a glimpse of 17th-18th
century Greece, with a collection of
traditional festive and bridal attires,
embroideries, jewellery, woodwork
and items of daily use from Crete,
the Dodecanese, Cyclades and
Cyprus. The wooden Cretan
loom is a masterpiece, as well
as the wooden chests and
the intricate golden jewellery.
Don’t miss the reconstructions of
the interiors of regional noblemen’s
houses from the 18th century. The
second floor showcases musical
instruments and books, while
the third is dedicated to postrevolutionary
(post-1821) Greece.
There are manuscripts by poets such
as Dionysios Solomos, paintings,
furniture, personal items of
philhellenes like Lord Byron and
items of the first royal families. You
can also find paintings by famous
20th century Greek painters like
Egonopoulos, as well as items of
Nobel Prize-winners Seferis and