Benaki Museum of Islamic Art

Benaki Museum of Islamic Art

Benaki Museum of Islamic Art: A Cultural Journey in Athens

The Benaki Museum of Islamic Art, nestled in the historic Kerameikos district of Athens, offers a captivating glimpse into the rich and diverse world of Islamic art. This remarkable museum is part of the prestigious Benaki Museum network and houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Islamic art in Greece. Located at the intersection of Agion Asomaton and Dipylou streets, the museum’s complex of neoclassical buildings provides a fitting backdrop for the treasures it holds.

Historical Context and Architectural Significance

The museum is situated in a historically rich area, surrounded by major archaeological sites such as the ancient Agora, the Doric temple of Hephaestus (commonly known as Theseio), and the Museum of the ancient Kerameikos necropolis. This setting not only enhances the cultural experience for visitors but also underscores the historical continuity of Athens as a center of art and culture.

The museum complex consists of two main structures: a three-story house and a two-story house, both of which have been meticulously preserved and renovated. These buildings were donated to the museum by the late Lambros Eftaxias, who served as the Honorary President of the Museum Board of Trustees. In 1989, the facades of these buildings were listed for preservation, recognizing their architectural significance.

Restoration and Preservation

The restoration of the buildings was carried out under the guidance of architect P. Kalligas and civil engineer G. Sparis, with the support of the Directorate of Special Works of the Ministry of the Environment, Town Planning, and Public Works. The restoration aimed not only to reinforce the structural integrity of the buildings but also to enhance their ornamental features, aligning with the broader program for the redevelopment of the Kerameikos district.

During the restoration, a fascinating discovery was made: a section of the ancient city wall of Athens and an ancient tomb were uncovered at the foundation level of the houses. In collaboration with the 3rd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, it was decided to preserve these archaeological finds in situ. The museum’s design was modified to integrate these ancient remnants, allowing visitors to appreciate the historical layers of Athens up close.

The Collection

The Benaki Museum of Islamic Art boasts a vast collection that spans from the 7th to the 19th century, showcasing the artistic achievements of Islamic civilizations across a wide geographic area, from Spain to India. The collection includes ceramics, textiles, metalwork, jewelry, and manuscripts, reflecting the diverse cultural expressions of the Islamic world.

Visitors can explore beautifully crafted ceramics from the Abbasid and Fatimid periods, intricate textiles from Persia and Central Asia, and finely detailed metalwork and jewelry that illustrate the skill of Islamic artisans. The museum also features a remarkable collection of illuminated manuscripts, providing insights into the intellectual and artistic traditions of the Islamic world.

Visiting the Museum

The Benaki Museum of Islamic Art is a must-visit for anyone interested in exploring the richness of Islamic art and culture. The museum offers a serene and educational environment, where visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty and complexity of the exhibits.

Opening Hours

  • Thursday to Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00
  • Monday to Wednesday: Closed


  • Address: 22 Ag. Asomaton & 12 Dipilou St., 105 53 Athens


Tickets can be purchased online for a seamless experience. Buy tickets here.


The Benaki Museum of Islamic Art offers a unique opportunity to explore the artistic and cultural heritage of the Islamic world within the historic heart of Athens. Its extensive collections and thoughtful integration of archaeological findings make it a standout destination for both locals and tourists. Whether you are a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply curious about different cultures, the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art promises an enriching and unforgettable experience.

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Benaki Museum of Islamic Art

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