Museum Of Islamic Art
- by XpatAthens
- Wednesday, 04 March 2015
Living in the Thiseio area, I often walk by the Museum of Islamic Art – but of course I never go in. Something about not noticing what’s in front of your face… The Islamic Art Museum is part of the Benaki Museum complex, and is located at 22 Ag. Asomaton Street, very near the Kerameikos archaeological site. I wandered in the other day with an ‘I really should go in…’ attitude, unsure of what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised at what I found.
This is a collection of daily items from different countries and vastly different time periods – showcasing the variety and range of Islamic arts and artifacts. And this is why I liked it (and in fact, why I have liked the Benaki Museum ‘concept’): the everyday nature of the museum’s collections gives a real feeling that we are viewing history as it was – rather than the monumental/religious/political history of other types of museums. Don't get me wrong – I like the monumental – but Benaki is a more subtle experience.
The site itself comprises two beautifully restored neoclassical homes – one of which is built upon an (untouched!) section of the ancient city wall of Athens…
When I came home, I looked up the Benaki museum online and found that it is in fact a huge collection across numerous buildings, stretched really across the entire city. The locations range from the gorgeous main building on Vasilissis Sofias Street, to the modern complex at 138 Pireos Street, the Mentis textile workshop museum on Polyfemou Street, the historical archives collection at Delta House in Kifisia and the Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery on Kriezotou Street. And that’s not the entire list!
My best friend Mr. Google also tells me that, thanks to the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Benaki museum will offer FREE entry every Thursday from March 5 2015, for one year (free entry to the main building, Pireos building, the Islamic art building and the Hadjikyriakos-Ghika gallery).
The Benaki Museum is a city unto itself, and offers a rare glimpse into the life of the past – from Greece and beyond. Take advantage of this great opportunity to check out these important collections.
Benaki Museum of Islamic Art
22 Ag. Asomaton
Regular adult entry: 7€
Until next week,
In this weekly space, keep up with ‘Jack’ as he navigates daily life in Athens… Anecdotes, stories, hits & misses, the good, the bad and, well, the rest…