The New Acropolis Museum stands starkly out from the landscape of Athens. It is a modern, black and glass building, with the top floor perched oddly askew. But for an up close view of the of collections of antiquities, there’s not a better way to do it.
And as it turns out, the top floor is askew for a logical and pretty cool reason: It parallels in size and orientation the Acropolis, which it views from the north widows.
As seems to be a very common occurrence in Athens, all new construction inevitably discovers old construction. It’s one of the reasons renovation and building take so long in the old city. There are constantly halts to investigate finds, to determine whether something found needs to be preserved and how to best do so. The solution for the Acropolis Museum was to build over top of the ruins discovered, but to do so with a see-through walkway and a large, covered opening in that walkway for direct viewing. So as you approach, try not to fall over something as you are staring at your feet.
As you know if you read my post on the Acropolis, I love the Caryatids. I took, I think, 40-some pictures of them. My husband is a wonderfully patient man.
However, the Caryatids at the Acropolis are actually replicas, while the originals have been moved inside the museum for safe keeping. So, a highlight for me was getting to be up close and personal with the real thing.
I took the picture above because the hair here reminds me so much of my daughters’. I wonder how they managed in Ancient Athens without the DevaCurl system? Below are three of the statues. All of the originals are displayed together, and I could photograph to my heart’s content.
There is also the Frieze off the Parthenon. It is wonderfully displayed, imbedded around a central interior wall, so that you can walk around and view them at eye level. Some of the scenes seem everyday, while others are mystifying. A few of my favorites:
And then there are the busts. It’s incredible to be able to be up close and eye level with them. It’s a view you don’t usually get of ancient sculpture. Following are my two favorite.
This first bust is believed to be a representation of Sauromates II, Kind of the Kimmerian Bosporus.
Below is the marble copy of a gold and ivory statue. It is a representation of a goddess, possibly Athena. The most striking feature, you can see, are what look like tear tracks down the face. That is actually the result of the oxidization of the statue’s bronze eyelashes. Even so, I find it arresting.
There are also two stores within the museum, with some surprisingly affordable replicas, as well as the standard kids gifts and fine jewelry/scarves/etc. There is also a cafe with outdoor seating on the terrace with a view of the Acropolis, and I think I could just sit there for hours, sip coffee, and take in the view.
For a handy traveler’s map of our favorite stops in Plaka, see our post: Map of Top Things to Do