Acropolis Museum is a world-famous archaeological museum in Athens, Greece. Built to house artifacts excavated from Acropolis of Athens, one of the most important historical sites in the world, the museum is considered one of the largest archaeological museums in Europe.
The museum opened to the public in 2009 and has since welcomed millions of visitors from all over the world. If you are planning a trip to Greece, put Acropolis Museum at the top of your must-see list.
History of Acropolis
Acropolis of Athens is a historic site on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens. The word Acropolis comes from the Greek ἄκρον (akron, “highest point, tip”) and πόλις (polis, “city”). It was also known as Cecropia, after Cecrops, the mythical snake-man who is said to have founded the city.
The oldest remains of Acropolis date back to the Bronze Age (ca. 3000 BC), when it was inhabited by the Mycenaean Greeks. The area was then occupied by the Dorian Greeks from the 11th century BC. During this time, many important structures were built, including the Parthenon temple and the Propylaea causeway.
Acropolis was sacked by the Romans in 86 BC and then fell into decline. It was revitalized during the Byzantine period and once again became an important pilgrimage site for Christians.
After the Fourth Crusade (1204 AD) it was occupied by Frankish knights, but was recaptured by the Byzantines in 1261 AD. The Ottomans captured Athens in 1456 AD and held it until 1833 AD, when it came under Greek control after declaring independence from the Ottomans.
Acropolis Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Athens. Located on the southern slope of Acropolis, the museum houses artifacts from the Greek Bronze Age to the Roman period. The foundation of the museum is also an archaeological site and excavations are ongoing here. When you visit the lower level of the museum, you can examine this archaeological site thanks to the glass floor.
One of the most important historical sites to know is the Parthenon. The Parthenon is a temple located on Acropolis of Athens. It was built in the 5th century BC and dedicated to the goddess Athena. The Parthenon is considered one of the most important buildings in the Western world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some areas of the museum are dedicated to the Parthenon. There are original sculptures from the temple. The 1st and 3rd floors of the museum are the areas where sculptures and historical objects are exhibited.
On the ground floor and the 1st floor you can see the Archaic Gallery and Erechtheion and Athena Nike temples, as well as sculptures excavated from Acropolis. The 3rd floor is entirely dedicated to the Parthenon. First you will be greeted by a video show.
Make sure you watch this video so you can have an idea about the rest of the artifacts. The marble reliefs you will see afterwards, depictions of historical events such as Greek mythology, the Trojan War, the Amazons are quite impressive. The 3rd floor is designed to be parallel to the original Parthenon. It was built at the same angle with a similar size.
Highlights of Acropolis Museum of Athens
Acropolis Museum’s collection is one of the most important in Greece and offers visitors an excellent overview of the history of Acropolis. The museum is also well designed and easy to navigate. You should allow 2-3 hours to explore the artifacts on display.
Parthenon Marbles: Acropolis Museum houses the world-famous Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles. These marble statues were originally part of the Parthenon temple on Acropolis hill.
They were dismantled by the British diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th century and have caused controversy ever since. The museum has a special gallery for the Parthenon marbles on the 3rd floor, where missing or damaged pieces are on display along with castings.
Archaic Gallery: The Archaic Gallery is another must-see at Acropolis Museum. It houses an impressive collection of sculptures and reliefs from the Archaic period (600-480 BC). Portrait of Alexander the Great, Kritios Boy, Peplos Kore, Antenor Kore are in this section.
What do you need to know before visiting Acropolis?
There are a few things to keep in mind before going to Acropolis Museum. Knowing these, you can act more efficiently.
- Acropolis Museum is located on the south side of Acropolis on the Hill, so there is no need to walk all the way up the hill. It is about 200 meters south of the historical hill.
- There is a lot of history and culture inside the museum, so be prepared to spend a few hours exploring.
- As in many museums, you cannot bring backpacks into the museum for security reasons. There is a deposit section for backpacks and if you come with a backpack you have to leave it in the deposit section.
- Visitors can choose comfortable clothes that they can walk in. Since the museum is big and there are many places to visit, you can make it easier to visit if you come with comfortable shoes. Keep in mind that the weather in Athens can be quite hot during the summer months. If you are visiting during this period, make sure to wear light and airy clothes that will help keep you cool.
- If you are going up to Acropolis, you can prioritize this museum. It is more important to go to Acropolis after getting enough information to understand the artifacts above.
- Photography is not allowed everywhere in the museum. Except for the Archaic Acropolis Gallery, photography is free.
- The museum is surrounded by glass. Therefore, while visiting the museum, you can also observe Acropolis.
How to avoid the queue at Acropolis
While the museum is definitely worth a visit, it can be quite crowded, especially during the summer months. If you want to avoid the queues at Acropolis Museum, you can pay attention to these two points.
- Buy your tickets online in advance. This way you don’t have to wait in line to buy tickets at the museum. Sometimes the queues can be so long that you don’t have to wait for your turn in the heat and waste precious time standing in line.
- Try to visit early in the morning or late in the evening. The museum is usually less crowded at these times. The most crowded hours are usually between 12-14 pm.
Where is Acropolis Museum and how to get there?
This museum, which exhibits artifacts excavated from Acropolis, known as the most famous archaeological site in Athens, is located just south of Acropolis, very close to it. Since it is centrally located, there are many transportation options. If you are in the neighborhood, you can easily reach it on foot, but if you are far away, you may need to prefer public transportation.
- Getting to Acropolis Museum by bus: Many bus routes pass near Acropolis. If you want to get here by bus, the nearest stop is Makrigianni.
- Getting to Acropolis Museum by tram: Trams are one of the best ways to get around Athens. They are cheap, frequent and convenient. Leoforos Vouliagmenis is the nearest tram stop to the museum.
Acropolis Museum in Athens is a must-see for anyone interested in Greek history or culture. The museum houses the best preserved artifacts from Acropolis and its collection is unrivaled. The museum also offers a great view of the Parthenon, making it one of the ideal stops for Athens tours.