Housed in the former villa of a famous French duchess, the Byzantine Museum is dedicated to Athens' Byzantine history.
In this complete guide to the Byzantine Museum in Athens, you'll learn all about the exhibition, history, and helpful information about how to get there, tickets, and tours.
What Can I Do at the Byzantine Museum?
The Byzantine and Christian Museum, or Byzantine Museum for short, is a treasury of Byzantine art and culture.
Touring the historical museum rooms, visitors can get a glimpse of the defining epoch when Greece was part of the Byzantine Empire.
Important exhibits related to Byzantine history and Christian art are presented. The rich collection consists of around 25,000 artifacts spanning the period between the 3rd and 20th centuries AD and originating from all over the Greek world.
Exhibits such as ancient icons, impressive mosaics, frescoes, jewelry, sculptures, Byzantine gold and silver coins, early Christian art and armor can be seen.
The centerpiece, however, is the treasure of Lesvos, which was buried by the islanders in the 7th century to protect it from pirates.
Temporary exhibitions are regularly presented in the museum. A current overview and preview can be found on the museum 's official website.
The gardens of the Byzantine Museum are considered a small oasis in the middle of Athens. In addition to seating between fruit trees, herb gardens and a well cistern, there are also three small exhibitions of historical and archaeological interest.
The idyllic garden, important artifacts and monastery-like building make the Byzantine Museum stand out among the museums in Athens.
Café-Restaurant in the Museum
In the garden of the museum there is a café-restaurant, which invites you to linger in its peaceful ambience.
The museum also has a museum shop where you can buy various souvenirs.
Admission, Tickets and Guided Tours
How Do I Get to the Byzantine Museum?
The Byzantine Museum is located in the center of Athens near Syntagma Square.
It is a 15-minute walk from Syntagma Square to the museum. If you want to travel by public transport, it is best to take the Metro 3 to the “Evangelismos” station. It's very easy with the Hop on Hop off bus tour , which stops in the immediate vicinity of the Byzantine Museum with its station A7 "Benaki Museum".
Visitors arriving from Piraeus cruise port can go to the nearby Piraeus Metro Station and board the M1 line. A single ticket is sufficient for the journey to “Monastiraki” station. There you change to the M3 and travel one stop to “Evangelismos”. The museum is a 5-minute walk away.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
The regular opening hours of the Byzantine Museum are from Wednesday to Monday from 08:00 to 20:00 and on Tuesday from 13:00 to 20:00. The current opening hours can be found on the official website of the museum.
The Byzantine Museum is housed in Villa Ilissia, which was once the homes of Sophie de Marbois-Lebrun, Duchess of Plaisance. It is located in the center of Athens, close to Syntagma Square and other sights such as the War Museum and Aristotle's Lyceum. The exact address is: Leoforos Vasilissis Sofias 22, Athina 106 75, Greece
You can reach the Byzantine Museum from Syntagma Square with a 15-minute walk. If you are traveling by public transport, it is best to take the Metro 3 to the “Evangelismos” station. It's very easy with the Hop on Hop off bus tour, which stops in the immediate vicinity of the Byzantine Museum with its station A7 "Benaki Museum".
Visitors arriving from Piraeus Cruise Port can go to the nearby Piraeus Metro Station and board the M1 line. A single ticket is sufficient for the journey to “Monastiraki” station. There you change to the M3 and travel one stop to “Evangelismos”. The museum is a 5-minute walk away.
There are entrance fees to enter the Byzantine Museum. However, among others, children under the age of 5, EU citizens under the age of 25 and visitors with disabilities enjoy free entry to the museum. A complete and detailed list is available here.
In addition, entry to the Byzantine Museum is free on the first Sunday of every month (November to March), March 6th, April 18th, May 18th, the last weekend of September and October 28th.
History of the Byzantine Museum
The foundation of the Byzantine Museum in 1914 is due in large part to the Christian Archaeological Society of Athens (ChAE), which strongly advocated a museum of this type.
The Byzantine Museum only moved to its current location in Villa Ilissia in 1930. The palazzo-style villa, built in 1840, once served as the Athens residence of the French Duchess Sophie de Marbois-Lebrun, Duchess of Plaisance.
For the duration of the Second World War, the museum had to close its doors. In 1946 it could be reopened to the public.
In order to provide space for the more than 25,000 exhibits, a wing with an area of 12,600 m² was added in 1993.
Today, the Byzantine Museum is considered one of the most important museums of its kind.
August 3, 2023