Friday, December 02, 2005

Home of the Muses

Yes, I meant a museum actually. Those who know me well might be smirking at this choice of topic. As everyone knows, I only get up early if it is to catch up the opening hours of a museum (and it's not an easy thing in Athens, given that the state museums close at 2 pm) Anyway, since our topic is museums, why not have a quick review? (entirely my own)

Best: Benaki Museum. Benaki, named after a Mister Benakis, is an unbeliavably rich museum having a collection span from Cycladic art to Greek regional costumes. Open until a surprising 17.00 on most days, it's free and open till midnight on Thursdays!

Most Depressing: National Archaelogical Museum. Even though a state museum, given the amount of material to be seen, open till 19.00 everyday. A must when visiting (or living in) Athens. Putting aside the obvious fact that it is one of the best archaelogical museums in the world; how come it is also the most depressing? My answer is: three whole exhibitions solely for funerary steles with little girls with doves, little boys with puppies and hand-waving mothers. Greeks certainly took death rather tragically.

Most Fun: The War Museum. Tons of portraits picturing men in white skirts and pompons. Watch out for my main man, Kolokotronis (on the right). Not to be missed is a WAR flag in the entrance with a smiling sunshine embroidered on it. I'm not joking.

Most Elusive: National History Museum. After five or more attempts, I have yet to see this jealously preserved museum. Some questions are: Where exactly is it? What times do they open if at all? and Is there actually anything worth to see after all?

Although it doesn't go under any special selection, the Byzantine Museum is one of the first to be seen in Athens too. Reconstructed completely, the museum was Europe's best a few years ago. Even if you're not too keen on Byzantine art, it's worth seeing even if only for the organization of the items and how a museum should be designed. They have a cool gift shop too. (I know that I totally destroyed the intellectual level of my post with that last comment. Ah well)