Byzantine & Christian Museum
The Byzantine & Christian Museum is housed in the lovely Neo-Classical Villa Ilissia in the Athens suburb of the same name; it was built in 1848 as the residence of Sophie de Marbois-Lebrun, the philanthropic US-born Duchess of Plaisance. Having had an architectural facelift in 2004, the museum has one of the best displays of Byzantine icons and mosaics on earth. Its priceless exhibits are laid out chronologically to trace the development of early Christian and Greek Byzantine culture from the 4th century onwards, drawing on more than 25,000 treasures from across the Greek world including religious statuary removed from ruined churches in Attica. Among the Coptic priestly vestments, pottery, the frescoes, armor and fragmented mosaics is a world-beating collection of more than 3,000 glittering Byzantine icons. Modern-day religious art in Greece is covered in a series of ever-changing temporary exhibits.
Allow at least two hours to visit this well-curated, well-lit gallery, with multi-lingual labeling and displays spread over several floors. It’s often crowded in summer so get there early in the morning. The Byzantine & Christian Museum sits next door to the War Museum of Athens and close to Aristotle’s Lyceum, the remains of one of the three major academic gymnasia of ancient Athens, which is a pleasant park for a stroll among olive trees and scented rosemary bushes. Further treasures from Greece’s Classical past are on show at the National Archaeological Museum.
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- Athens: Self-Guided City Experience
- Medieval Athens Walking Tour with Late Lunch and Wine
- Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Agora,Aristotle’s Lyceum, Byzantine Museum
- Private Half Day tour Ancient Agora & Aristotle’s Lyceum with Byzantine Museum
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