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The National Archaeological Museum: the pride of the Greek people

art & culture

It would be unthinkable to miss this museum, which has the largest collection of Greek antiquities in the world.

The wealth of this museum would seem obvious, but it has not always been the case, as it was only founded in 1829, a year after the Greek parliament forbade looting and export of its ancient treasures. Remember that the piece of the Parthenon frieze in the British Museum was stolen from the temple in 1801 by the British Ambassador at the time, who then resold it to his government.

The present museum was built in 1874, but when it opened it proved too small to accommodate all its treasures, hence its successive enlargements. Today, the extensions are made underground, particularly beneath the pedestrian streets of the neighbourhood. If you do not have a whole day to devote to it, which is what it deserves, focus on two of its wonders: the golden funeral mask of King Agamemnon and the Antikythera Mechanism.

This ancient analogue computer, which dates from the 2nd century BC, describes the lunar and solar cycles with a watchmaker's precision and is the source of clock movements that we know today.

National Archaeological Museum
28is Oktovriou 44
106 82 Athens

+30 213 214 4890

www.namuseum.gr

 See the Travel Guide to Athens