Byzantine and Christian Museum10-06-2013 18:58The Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens is one of the most important public institutions, established in order to collect, study, preserve and exhibit the cultural heritage of the Byzantine era. It is located on 22 Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, right next to the War Museum of Athens, in walking distance of the Evaggelismos metro station.
The museum collection consists of a Byzantine treasure of approximately 30.000 of works of art such as icons, sculptures, ceramics, ecclesiastical textiles, paintings, jewelries and architectural elements, wall paintings and mosaics. The permanent exhibition is divided in two main parts: The first is devoted to Byzantium (4th -15th c. AD) and contains 1200 artifacts and the second presents 1500 artworks of Post-Byzantine era, dating from the 15th to 20th century.
The history of the Byzantine and Christian Museum is closely related to the one of the Christian Archaeological Society founded in 1884. George Lambakis, secretary to Queen Olga, a founding member of the Christian Archaeological Society was the prime mover in amassing its collection. In 1893, the first exhibition of Byzantine and Christian collection was housed to a room in the National Archaeological Museum, where it would remain until 1923.
George Sotiriou, commissioner of Byzantine Antiquities since 1915, took over as director of the Museum in 1923, in the wake of the Asia Minor Catastrophe. Sotiriou organized the collections amassed by the Supervisory Committee in the preceding years and exhibited them to the public for the first time in 1924 in five rooms at the Athens Academy.
Soritiou’s prime objective remained the securing of a permanent home fit for a national museum. Finally, in 1930, the Museum moved into the premises that are its home to this day: the Villa Ilissia. The Villa Ilissia is one of the loveliest buildings ever erected in Athens during its early years as capital of the newly-founded Greek State. In 1837, among the newcomers to Athens was Sophie de Marbois-Lebrun, Duchess of Plaisance, wife to Charles Lebrun, son of the co-consul of Napoleon and Duke of Plaisance (or Piacenza). She soon distinguished herself at the imperial court as she has been involved in the political rivalries of Greece since 1831, sided against Capodistrias and forged close ties with the Mavromichalis family.
The Duchess purchased large areas of land in Athens and Mt Penteli and commissioned the architect Stamatis Kleanthis to construct a total of six buildings, in Athens and its environs, including the Castello Rhododaphni on Penteli and the Villa Ilissia, her winter palace, not far from the then Royal Palace (today House of Parliament).
The Byzantine and Christian Museum, apart from the interesting exhibitions of Byzantine collections, has also one of the loveliest cafés in Athens, located in outdoor premises of the museum, surrounded by gardens and trees.
“Brunch” is both a noun, a verb and way of life. It’s not only an opportunity to eat something nice, but also a way to catch up with friends in the middle of the day. In Athens city we love it for both reasons. We have even discovered an easily accessible spot, perfect for the citibreakers to enjoy a full breakfast or a brunch during their travel in the Greek capital.
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Touristorama has been travelling all around Greece and its islands for over a decade. This year, during our trip to Naxos, the biggest of the Cyclades complex, we discovered an interesting spot, perfect for your night out on the island… which is what we do best: finding the best places and then propose you should visit them! Prime is a Scandinavian Bar, located on a privileged position in Chora of Naxos, opposite the port. It’s been operating for 21 years and enjoys a great fame to both foreign and local tourists.
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