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BYZANTINE COLLECTIONS

Then and now

THE MOST IMPORTANT BYZANTINE EXHIBITS IS ATHENS AND THESSALONIKI

ATHENS 

Benaki Museum
  Its extensive collections that cover several cultural fields make the Benaki Museum one of the most interesting Greek museums. Although not representative of all the different artistic tendencies and movements which flourished during the thousand-year Byzantine Empire, its Byzantine collection in the main building is exceptionally rich. Household vessels from the early Byzantine period (4th to 7th centuries AD) help to create a picture of the domestic surroundings of late antiquity.
 The important collection of decorative silver plates dating from the late 6th and early 7th century clearly preserves the subject matter of the artistic tradition of Greco-Roman antiquity and the manner of depicting the human figure. Likewise, the Museum’s collection of ceramic platters offers a rich selection of decorative themes. Several ecclesiastical vessels, censers and chalices, dating to the early Byzantine period, as well as other groups of objects cast light on contemporaneous trade, crafts and scientific advances. The entrancing collection of Byzantine jewellery includes golden necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings. Crosses, reliquaries, amulets and miniature steatite icons are indicative of the rich production of small-scale works of art in Byzantium, while superb censers and processional crosses are representative of ecclesiastical vessels and furnishings of the middle and late Byzantine periods.
 Finally, it is worth noting that the general public has always reserved its greatest affection for the Benaki Museum’s collection of Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons. (1 Koumbari Str & Vassilissis Sofias Avenue, tel. 2103671000, www.benaki.gr - Metro: Syntagma / Evangelismos)


 

Byzantine and Christian Museum

  The Byzantine and Christian Museum is one of Greece’s national museums. Its areas of competency are centred on – but not limited to – religious artefacts of the Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, post-Byzantine and later periods which it exhibits, but also acquires, receives, preserves, conserves, records, documents, researches, studies, publishes and raises awareness of.
 The Museum has over 30,000 artefacts, dating from the 3rd century AD to the 21th century AD: icons, wall-paintings, manuscripts and works on paper, works of minor arts, ceramics, textiles, paintings, mosaics, copies. Their provenance encompasses the entire Greek world, as well as regions in which Hellenism flourished. These have all been recorded, categorized by date and subject and digitized using modern electronic documentation systems. Those which are not on display in the permanent exhibition are kept in ideal conditions of humidity and temperature in modern archaeological storage rooms. The size and range of the collections and value of the exhibits makes the Museum a veritable treasury of Byzantine and post- Byzantine art and culture. (22 Vassilissis Sofias Avenue, tel. 2132139607www.byzantinemuseum.gr - Metro: Evangelismos)


 

THESSALONIKI

Museum of Byzantine Culture

 The Museum of Byzantine Culture opened in 1994, in an edifice designed by the awarded architect and artist Kyriakos Krokos. The permanent exhibition, presented in eleven halls, showcases original exhibits accompanied by informative material and new media installations in order to unfold the various aspects of the Byzantine and Post- Byzantine culture. The Museum also includes conservation laboratories and archaeological material storerooms, an area for educational programs, a separate wing for temporary exhibitions, a multi-purpose hall, two auditoria, a museum shop and a cafe-restaurant.
 Its educational, cultural and publishing activities mark an exemplary center of preservation, research and promotion of cultural heritage. It is noteworthy that the museum was awarded the Council of Europe Museum Prize for 2005, a distinction given to a Greek public museum for the first time.

The meticulous work required for an artifact to be preserved and displayed in the museum is currently the subject of the temporary exhibition “Struggle against time, Conservation of Antiquities in the Museum of Byzantine Culture”, until March 27. (2 Statou Avenue, tel. 2313306400 , www.mbp.gr)



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