Impressions from the Museum of Islamic Art in Athens

I have to admit I had low expectations from the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art at the Kerameikos / Psirri area. I mostly went there to cover it for the blog and to check out the nice view I had read it had from the top floor terrace. 
Benaki Museum of Islamic Art - Athens, Greece
In short, I was pleasantly surprised and had quite a good time looking at the exhibits together with a most interesting temporary photo exhibition from a Greek / Norwegian archaeological expedition in Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan (archaeologists Alexandros Tsakos and Henriette Hafsaas-Tsakos). It's not really the photos themselves as much as the accompanying texts that provide a rare insight into the lives of the people inhabiting the area around the Nile. The photo exhibit runs till 19 February 2012.

"Gaddafi's egg"at the photo exhibition in the Museum of Islamic Art
The exhibits of the museum are spread out in its four floors. You start from the 1st floor (2nd floor for Americans...) and move upwards in chronological order. The exhibit runs from the 7th century CE to 19th century CE and covers the whole geographical area from Morocco to the Indies. Each floor starts with a large explanatory map, showing the spread of the Islamic world in each era and a short text explaining the major forces of that period.

Pottery items - Museum of Islamic Art, Athens, Greece

Clay pots. The circular items in the middle row are taps to keep dust and  insects from entering the pot

Oil-lamps. No reference made to Alladin!
Ivory chess boards from Egypt, 14th-17th century - Museum of Islamic Art, Athens, Greece

Turkish books from 18th-19th century CE - Museum of Islamic Art, Athens, Greece

Jewelry - Museum of Islamic Art, Athens, Greece

Guns and daggers - Museum of Islamic Art, Athens, Greece.
This must be the flashiest gun I've ever seen!
...So, in a few pictures you can see that there's a little bit of everything for every taste found here and the visit to the museum will be more than worth your visit. Before you leave, don't forget to visit the basement, for a close look at the ancient fortifications of Athens, a segment of which was uncovered right at the building's foundations and is preserved for visitors. As for the terrace with the nice view I mentioned at the start? Well, take a look for yourselves, and hope that you get here on a beautiful, sunny day unlike myself :)

The terrace of the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art at Kerameikos - Athens, Greece

Address: 22 Agion Asomaton St. & 12 Dipylou St., Athens [Thission Metro Station]
Opening Hours: Tue, Thu-Sun: 09:00-15:00. Wed: 09:00-21:00. Also, see here.
Closed on: Mondays and Jan. 1, Jan.6, Clean Monday, Mar.25, Orthodox Easter Sunday & Monday, May 1, Holy Spirit Monday, Aug.1, Oct.28, Dec. 25-26.
Ticket Prices: 7€. Reduced admission 5€ for >65 and adults accompanying children.  Wed: free (optional 1€). Free for disabled persons and an escort, students and <18.
Photography: Non-flash photography is allowed
Public Transit: Buses 025, 026, 027 (Pireos Bus Stop) and 035, 049, 227, 812, 815, 838, 856, 914, A16, B18, Gamma18 and Trolley-bus 21 (Thermopylon Bus Stop / Asomaton Bus Stop). Also, Thissio Metro Station (Line 1) (400m walk) and Keramikos Metro Station (Line 3) (700m walk).
Accessibility: An elevator provides access to each floor. WCs in the basement are large but not equipped with holding bars.

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1 comment:

  1. I love Islamic art and I also like to hear or read about Islamic artwork. Now, I am very inspired to know about this wonderful museum and I wish to visit here physically.


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