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Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Day at The National Archaeological Museum

After taking a day to get oriented and change hotels, we woke up to find it raining in Athens. That meant it would be a museum day. A quick look through our guidebook and some checking on the Internet suggested The National Archaeological Museum. It's located not much over a half mile from the hotel and is one of the top ranked Museums in the world. We never bring umbrellas to Cairo, so we picked up two of them at a nearby sidewalk kiosk.

The museum is located in a nice setting.

Unlike the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, photographs are allowed. The exhibits are well organized and pieces are well labeled.

Sculpture is the specialty of the house. Marble and bronze, they have it all. Much of the work depicts the Greek Gods of mythology. The quality is outstanding, especially in the bronze works. Here is a sampling of Zeus in bronze and Aphrodite in marble. (Remember, you can click on any photo to enlarge it. This will take you to my Flickr photo stream where you can enlarge it further and possibly find other photos that are not show here.)

There is something for everyone here. Check out the hubcaps on this chariot.
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And here is something, apparently, to keep the kids in line.


This floor lamp demonstrates the adage that everything old is new again.
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While much of the exhibit is organized by century and medium, some of it is gathered in galleries dedicated to where the pieces were found. For instance, The Ambelokipoi Hoard. This collection of objects was found in 1964 when a utility crew was laying water lines.

Another interesting specialty collection is The Stathatos Collection. Here is some jewelry Helen Stathatos acquired while shopping in Egypt. Linda has some similar ear rings, but not so old.
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The museum has a very nice collection of Egyptian art besides what Helen Stathatos picked up.
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I have always enjoyed the wooden works in the Egyptian Museum, mostly because they are both old and well preserved. The Egyptian climate is one of the few where something like this can be expected to survive a few thousand years. The several pieces here are very nice.
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There is only one set of Canopic jars, another of my favorites from Egypt.
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But this museum does a great job of explaining "everything you wanted to know about Canopic jars, but were afraid to ask!"

They also explain Scarabs in one easy lesson.

And who can resist going back for a second look at one of the museum's masterpieces, the statue of Aphrodite, Pan and Eros.

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