A Treasure House in Athens
The National Museum holds more masterpieces of ancient Greek art and sculpture than any other museum in the world. Its unrivaled collection of Cycladic, Minoan, Mycenaean, and Classical Greek art is an essential part of any introduction to Greece.
The star of the ground-floor sculpture rooms is the virile bronze of Artemision Poseidon, circa 5th century B.C.—the perfectly balanced body of an athlete about to launch his trident. Other magnets are the room dedicated to stunning ancient and Byzantine gold jewelry, the funerary mask of a bearded king once thought to be Agamemnon but now believed to date to the 15th century B.C.
Save some of your strength for the outstanding Thira collection on the first floor, a range of pottery and artifacts rescued from the island of Santorini (Thira), dating to a Minoan civilization contemporary with that of Knossos on Crete. The Thira collection is known for its well-preserved frescoes, some of which have been returned to Santorini, where a new museum is being completed.