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Benaki Museum - A Private Collection Turned into a Glorious Review of Ancient Greek History

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

Join us for a visit to one of the pearls of the abundant museum scene in Athens. The Benaki Museum is definitely worth your visit!

The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture was established in 1930 by Antonis Benaki. In order to honour his late father, Benaki turned the original family house, a beautiful neoclassical building into a private museum and transferred over 37,000 Byzantine and Islamic works to the museum marking the beginnig of a fascinating museum that Benaki governed himself until his death in 1954.

The Benakis enlarged the original modest house when moving in in 1911 and they further enlarged it to turn the building into a museum. In 1989-2000, the collection of Greek art and material culture, and the Spyridon & Eurydice Costopoulos Gallery for temporary exhibitions received new buildings and the museum was left for Greek art over the millennia.

Benaki began his career as a collector in Alexandria he only decided to donate his collections to the Greek state after he settled permanently in Athens in 1926.

The museum is fully accessible. You will find the wheelchair entrance to the museum at the rear of the building. Go down to the Vassilis Sofias avenue following the alley on the left side of the building and once inside take an elevator to the exhibition levels. The museum is barrier free except for a couple of exhibition rooms on the café level that have steps leading to them. There are also few steps to enter the café but these can be easily bypassed with the chair lift. The accessible loo is located between the 2nd and 3rd floor that you can take a lift to.

There is a museum shop with tons of design items, replicas of antique objects and modern authentic ones. Definitely worth checking!

The restaurant of the museum in the intersection of the Koumpari Street with Vassilis Sofias Avenue is one of the well kept secrets in Athens, do not forget to check it. The menu and drink lists are very wide and definitely a good idea to visit. A glass of Greek wine or some local goodies in the terrace with a great view towards the National Garden will crown your lovely museum visit!

Visit and photos by Kirsi Viisainen and Nick Manning

Benaki Museum

1 Koumbari St.

106 74 Athens


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