National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Attica, by Y.Skoulas, courtesy of GNTO, www.visitgreece.gr
Three-thousand-years-old cultural riches are housed in approximately 800 national and private museums scattered throughout Greece, featuring from Neolithic settlement finds to examples of modern art.
The Archaeological Museums, the most important of which are located in Athens, Olympia, Delphi, the island of Delos, Santorini, Herakleion, Pieria (Archaeological Museum of Dion) and Thessaloniki, offer a journey into antiquity going back to the birth of ancient Greek art. Nevertheless, hidden treasures housed in smaller museums present great interest also, such as the archaic statues collection in the museum of Paros, the small idols collection in the museum of Nafplion and the golden funeral boxes with the gold-leaf crowns of King Phillip of Macedonia in Vergina.
Museum of the Royal Tombs of Aigai, Vergina, Imathia
The Byzantine Museums house splendid icon collections, marble sections of early Christian churches, fine samples of sacerdotal vestments, silver and gold church vessels, as well as a wealth of mosaics and manuscripts. In addition to the major museums in Athens, Thessaloniki, Veroia, Ioannina and Zakynthos, the new church museums in Alexandroupolis, Sparta and definitely the Monastery of St. Loukas near Delphi are well worth a visit.
Byzantine Museum of Makrinitsa, Magnesia, Thessaly
The Folk Art Museums offer hospitality to creations of popular culture crafted by simple folk since the 18th century. Artworks of jewelry, wood-carving, needlework and weaving are often exhibited along with traditional costumes, wooden farming tools, folk art paintings and items of daily-life use. The Peloponnesian Folk Art Museum at Nafplion is a fine example, while a significant collection of folk art is housed at the Benaki Museum in Athens.
Silversmithing Museum, PIOP, Ioannina, Epirus
The relics of modern Greek history are exhibited in a multitude of small or large History Museums, with the largest one located in Athens exhibiting substantial collections of arms used during the Independence War against the Turks, accessories of the uniforms worn by the Freedom Fighters, banners, flags and paintings inspired by that struggle.
The long affair of the Greeks with the sea, dating back to the arrival of the first Greek tribes in the region, is better understood through the exhibits at the Marine Museums.
The Open-Air Water Power Museum, PIOP, Dimitsana, Arcadia, Peloponnese
Other museum categories operating in Greece include the Natural History Museums, Science and Technology Museums, Art Workshops and Cultural Centres.
Of particular interest are the Museum of National History of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos Island, the Open-air Water Museum in Edessa, the Open-air Hydropower Museum in Dimitsana, Peloponnese, the Open-air Museum of Mining Art at Dionysos, Attica, the Olive Oil Museum in Sparta, the Raw Silk Museum in Evros, northern Greece, the new museum "Paleopolis" located in the Mon Repos estate (former summer residence of the Kings of Greece), Natural History Museum in Paranesti, which is included in the environmental education programs of the Greek ministry of education and the Fossils Collection Museum at Epidavros in Peloponnese.
Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, Lesvos Island