One of my May 2010 photos shows the entrance plaza to the museum
Open-air platforms outside the museum entrance let visitors peer down on the remnants of a large urban settlement, dating from Archaic to Early Christian times, that was discovered on the site prior to museum construction …
… while glass floor panels offer additional intriguing views of the ruins as visitors stroll across the plaza on their way to and from the museum entrance
Magnificent museum: If you’re a fan of archaeology and architecture, make sure you include the Acropolis Museum on your list of attractions to visit in Athens — you definitely won’t be disappointed.
The magnificent museum, which opened in late June 2009 at the foot of the Acropolis in the historic Makriyianni area of Athens, is a must-see marvel of modern architecture housing many of Greece’s most important and historic artifacts and archaeological treasurers. And admission is an absolute bargain, at only €5 per person!
Architecture enthusiasts will enjoy the Acropolis Museum’s simple but dramatic design, a collaborative work by Bernard Tschumi Architects of Paris and New York along with Michael Photiadis & Associates Architects of Athens. The contemporary building features three distinct sections. The base rises on pillars above the ruins of an ancient settlement that archaeologists discovered on the museum site. This part of the museum includes the entrance, a gift shop, an auditorium, space for temporary exhibits, and administrative and support facilities for the building. In the middle section are galleries accessed by a glass ramp above the archaeological excavations, while the top section features the impressive Parthenon Gallery. As the Acropolis Museum project page on the Bernard Tshumi Architects website explains, the rectangular Parthenon Gallery is “arranged around an indoor court,” and “rotates gently to orient the marbles of the Frieze exactly as they were at the Parthenon centuries ago. Its transparent enclosure provides ideal light for sculpture in direct view to and from the Acropolis, using the most contemporary glass technology to protect the gallery against excessive heat and light. “
Five major permanent galleries
For archaeology and history buffs, the big draw will be the museum’s astounding ancient treasures displayed in five major collections: the Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis; the Archaic Gallery; the Parthenon Gallery; the Propylaia, Athena Nike and Erechthion Gallery; and a gallery displaying finds that date from the 5th Century B.C. to the 5th Century A.D.
You don’t even have to enter the museum to view its historic displays: the fun begins on the plaza outside the building entrance, where several open-air viewing platforms allow visitors to overlook the ancient settlement that was discovered and unearthed prior to the museum’s construction. And much of the plaza floor itself consists of reinforced glass panels that let visitors peer down on the ruins while they walk across the terrace.
Below are photos we took of the museum’s intriguing exterior during our first visit in May 2010, along with a link to an online album containing additional photos. Unfortunately, photography is not permitted in the Acropolis Museum’s exquisite galleries. Happily, the museum’s media relations department has given me permission to publish gorgeous photos, taken by Athens-based photographer Nikos Daniilidis, showing the building’s stunning interior and some of its extraordinary, spectacular collection. Additional building photos can be viewed on the Bernard Tschumi Architects and the Michael Photiadis & Associate Architects websites.
Be sure to visit the Acropolis Museum either before or after you climb the Acropolis to view the Parthenon — it’s situated just a short walk to the southeast of the Acropolis on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, close to the Acropolis metro stop.
The museum’s south facade. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
I snapped this photo of visitors peering at ruins beneath the glass floor on the museum’s entrance terrace
Open-air viewing platforms let visitors observe the ruins of an ancient settlement that once occupied the museum site
Two tourists check out the ruins below the museum entrance
Looking across the ruins toward the steps leading to the pedestrian walkway along Dionysiou Areopagitou Street
Another view toward the entrance steps. The Acropolis is only partially visible behind the building at upper left, but there are excellent views of it from inside the museum as well as from the outdoor terrace for the museum restaurant.
Another observation area above the ruins outside the museum
A closer look at the village remnants beneath the museum entrance
The stunning Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
Statuary in The Archaic Gallery are positioned so visitors can get up close and personal as they examine the treasures. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
The Hekatompedon from 570 B.C. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis
Statue of Antenore Kore dates from 525-510 B.C. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
The Rampin Horseman from 550 B.C. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
A bust of Alexander the Great, found in 1886 near the Erechtheion. It could be an original sculpture by Leochares or by Lysippos, and dates from around 336 B.C. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
Statuary in the bright & soaring Archaic Gallery. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
The two terracotta Nikes in the Gallery of the Slopes date from sometime in the 1st to 3rd Centuries A.D. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
The Kore Acr. 684, in the Archaic Gallery, dates from approximately 490-480 B.C. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
The Caryatids from the Erechtheion hold court in the impressive Erechtheion Gallery. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
A wide-angle Nikos Daniilidis photo of The Parthenon Gallery. The gallery windows visible at rear left offer breathtaking views of the Acropolis and the Parthenon
The frieze of the Parthenon Gallery. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
A detail showing part of Block VI of the east frieze the Parthenon. It depicts the gods Poseidon, Apollo, Artemis and Aphrodite. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
The metopes of the Parthenon. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
Nikos Daniilidis captures a stunning twilight view of the Parthenon (right rear) through the windows of the Parthenon Gallery
Another evening view of the Parthenon Gallery. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
The Acropolis Museum entrance at night. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
Acropolis Museum entrance at night. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
Archaeological ruins beneath the entrance. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
Ruins beneath a glass floor inside the Acropolis Museum. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.
Museum exterior captured at twilight. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis.