Sunday, December 13, 2009

Athens' Fabulous New Acropolis Museum

My sister and I made a visit to the FABULOUS new Acropolis Museum in Athens yesterday. It really is quite wonderful. This is a picture of the two of us, believe it or not. I was up on the 3rd floor, and happened to pause to look through the glass floors (yes!) and there was my sister on the ground floor taking another look at the lovely ceramics that lined the entrance to the museum. Just another pic of random people looking down through the floors. Beyond the last people you see are more glass floors, which display the archaeological site exposed beneath the museum. You can read more about how they built the new museum here.
Look down from your chair at the ground floor cafe and this is what you see. The cafe was great, good food, cheap and great service. I had my first Greek coffee, and my sister had her first Greek frappe, and our server was so much fun. I could have a Greek coffee as long as I had a single only and had it sweetened, and drank it slowly. Similar story with my sis' coffee. Once in awhile our server would walk by and say, "drink slower!"... heh.
No pics are allowed inside but I had to sneak this one in (the marble bust/chest is Poseidon; to the left is a chunk of Athena's upper torso/head). This is in the Parthenon Gallery and is an exhibit showing what remains of the Parthenon Marbles - sculpltures which adorned the Parthenon. The missing pieces are in the British Museum, and there is an international effort underway to have them returned to Greece. The old excuse of Greece not having a place to display them properly and keep them safe has been blown away by this rooftop gallery in which you can walk the full perimeter of a space the size of the Parthenon and see all that has been recovered - with gaping holes for what is missing. It is a spectacular space as it is, but think how wonderful it would be if the marbles were returned. Read more here and here.
Another pic I snuck of the Parthenon Gallery, taken just behind the pic above, which shows the spectacular location of the musuem, right below the Acropolis. Truly stunning.
Downstairs, near the musuem entrance, they have a film showing and the people were perched on the coolest little clear coloured stools, kind of like toadstools.
This is the entrance to the museum itself. After the ticket booths, there is a long, gently sloping walkway (they call it the slopes of the Acropolis) with glass floors and lined with ancient ceramics found on the site.
A view of the Parthenon (the building) and the Acropolis (the entire hilltop site) from the 2nd floor restaurant. Would be a marvelous spot to have a drink on a sunny day... BTW, this is the opposite side of the Acropolis from what we see where we are staying.
Neat pic outside the museum as we were leaving. You can walk all around this open view to the ruins below. The Acropolis is just up those stairs, to the left.
And, yes, we were the last ones in the musuem, very politely kicked out as they closed the doors at 8:00pm. We had arrived around 4:00, so it was neat to see the building by both day and night. Oh, and it's 1E to enter the musuem until the end of the year, giving the locals a good chance to get to know their new treasure. I am sure it is already on lists of the top 10 museums in the world - or, if not, it soon will be. I imagine the Athenians, and all Greeks, are proud of this museum, as they should be.
We feel very lucky to have been here at this time, rather than a year ago, as this is a definite trip highlight.


Angela K. Nickerson said...

I am DYING to go! So glad to hear it is amazing. I can't wait to see it myself. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow How cool. The new museum must be facinating! I saw the "old" museum several years ago. I was amused by your comment about the coffee, and drinking slower. I have a habit of letting my (American) coffee cool slightly, then I gulp it down all at once. When I was in Greece, about the closest I could get (this was years ago) was Nescafe. The Greeks take a cup with a scoop of Nescafe, sugar, and just a dab of water. Then they work that water and coffee into a froth. (This could take hours, while they chat with their friends). Finally, when they have sat and stirred this coffee for seemingly hours, they pour the water and make the coffee. It is really an art - because it was totally foreign to me. My husband used to complain that I drank my coffee too fast. And I would ask for a second cup, which seemed totally out of order to the Greeks.
It seems like you are really enjoying your stay - especially now that your sister has arrived! I have a hundred stories I could tell you about my adventures in Greece - I'll check back again later, because I am really enjoying your tales.
Have a safe and beautiful Christmas!

Caitlin @ Roaming Tales said...

Interesting post. I haven't actually seen the New Acropolis Museum, though I've seen the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum.

I can see both sides on this issue. I agree that this modern museum is likely a good home for them. But I think there are many valid reasons, not excuses, not to return them as well. I wrote about it here: