In Athens, it seems finding an archaeological monument or a site of ancient historic significance is as simple as tripping over your own feet. If you are pressed for time, a visit to the National Archaeological Museum offers a plethora of finds from all over Greece with more than 11,000 exhibits dating from prehistoric times to late antiquity.
Of course, as Greece's largest museum, and a world-renowned museum at that, a visit to the National Archaeological Museum is a must visit on any itinerary. Originally established in the 19th century to protect recovered archaeological treasures from Athens, the museum expanded to house antiquities from all over Greece to preserve and display their unique value. This important museum is a treasure trove of artistic Hellenic highlights showcasing the panorama of Greek antiquity. The sheer scope is mind boggling! The huge neoclassical building is home to five permanent collections: the Prehistoric Collection; Sculptures Collection, Vase and Minor Objects Collection and Stathatos Collection of minor items from all periods.
One of the museum's most important and popular exhibits is the Mycenaean Antiquities from the 19th century excavations of the royal tombs which include silver cups and embossed gold goblets dating from around the 15th century BC and miniature carvings. There's also wall paintings from Thera and restored frescoes of Minoan Santorini depicting daily life. Also of interest are the stelae from the 8th to the 5th century BC – stone or wooden slabs erected for funeral purposes and decorated with the names and titles of the dead including one for the warrior Aristion signed by Aristocles.
Other attractions of note include examples of Geometric and Archaic art, the collection of ancient statues and Hellenistic bronze dating back to the 2nd century BC excavated from the sea. To visit the National Archaelogical Museum, the closest metro station is Victoria then a 10-minute walk down Oktovriou to the museum. Admission for adults is €7 and children under 18 can enter for free.