The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture

The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture

The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture Journey Through Time

The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture, nestled in one of the most picturesque neoclassical buildings in Athens, is a true gem for history enthusiasts and art lovers alike. Located near the National Garden and the Hellenic Parliament, this museum offers a rich tapestry of Greek heritage, showcasing a vast collection of artifacts that span from prehistory to the 20th century.

A Historical Treasure Trove

The museum’s origins date back to the vision of Antonis Benakis, who, along with his three sisters Alexandra, Penelope, and Argine, donated their extensive collections to the Greek nation. The museum’s building itself has undergone several transformations since its inception. Initially, it was a modest edifice until it was purchased by Antonis’s father, Emmanuel Benakis, in 1911. Anastasios Metaxas, a prominent architect, designed the first significant expansion, adding a Doric porch in marble and an external staircase leading to the Vass. Sofias Ave. entrance. These additions gave the building its grand neoclassical façade, which visitors admire today.

A Comprehensive Collection

The Benaki Museum’s collection is meticulously curated to provide a comprehensive overview of Greek culture. The exhibition is arranged chronologically, guiding visitors through the ages, from prehistoric times to the 20th century. This journey through time is housed in a series of galleries, each dedicated to a specific era or theme.

Prehistory to Modern Greece

On the third floor, galleries 33-36 have been refreshed and enriched with new exhibits that tell the compelling story of modern Greece. These galleries cover the period from just before the Greek Revolution up to the Second World War, offering a fascinating glimpse into the nation’s recent history.

Diverse Collections

The museum’s holdings are not limited to Greek artifacts alone. In 1930, the building was further extended to accommodate Antonis Benakis’s extensive collections of Greek and Islamic art, as well as a remarkable array of Chinese ceramics. Over the years, further expansions in 1965, 1968, and 1973 were necessary to house the ever-growing collections, culminating in the significant refurbishment from 1989 to 2000.

Architectural Beauty

The Benaki Museum is a marvel of architectural evolution. From its original modest structure to the grand neoclassical masterpiece it is today, the building itself is a testament to the dedication of the Benakis family and the cultural importance of their collections. The extensive renovations and expansions have seamlessly blended historical and modern elements, creating a space that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Visiting the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture

The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture is more than just a repository of artifacts; it is a dynamic cultural institution that offers a variety of experiences for its visitors. The museum features the ‘Spyridon & Eurydice Costopoulos Gallery’ for temporary exhibitions, ensuring there is always something new to explore. Additionally, the museum’s library, which contains rare publications, is open to the public by appointment, serving as a valuable resource for researchers and scholars.

Opening Hours

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00 – 18:00
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 10:00 – 00:00
  • Sunday: 10:00 – 16:00


  • Address: 1 Koumbari St. & Vas. Sofias Ave., 106 74 Athens


Tickets for the Benaki Museum can be purchased here.


The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture stands as a beacon of Greek heritage, offering visitors an unparalleled journey through the nation’s rich and varied history. From its impressive neoclassical architecture to its extensive collections, the museum provides a deep dive into the artistic and cultural achievements of Greece. Whether you are a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply a curious traveler, the Benaki Museum promises a memorable and enlightening experience that captures the essence of Greek culture and history.

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The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture

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