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“mini palace!”
Review of Athens City Museum

Athens City Museum
Reviewed 25 November 2012

not so grand from the outside compared to northern European palaces and grand houses but inside it was very interesting. oldest large oil painting of Athens in the 17th century and lots of early 19th century furnishings from the time Greece's Bavarian king and queen were in residence. not far from syntagma square.

3  Thank MeandSally
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 November 2012

This relatively unknown museum is a favorite spot of mine in Athens, and I have been to visit it on several trips. Let me emphasize that it is not for everyone. Read your guidebook before you go to determine if it suits your interests. This museum consists of two residences next to one another. The first was used by Greece's first king and queen after independence was won (1831-1838) until their palace was finished. In that sense it was a “palace,” but what you will see is a comfortable upper class home, not a palace on the northern European mold. To the left as you face it is a second which has since been joined to the royal residence but which had not been built at the time they lived there.

This museum has two strong points. The first is the furnishings which are a mix of styles, not just from the royal period but for intervening years as well. I know little about this and cannot comment on it. The other is the collection of paintings, prints, and etchings of Athens itself. That’s what takes me back each time to study. Looking at the results of explosive 20th century growth, it is hard for the visitor to realize that at the time of royal residence, the Acropolis was not yet in Athens. The city had not yet engulfed it, and it sat a short distance outside. The art is more distinguished for what it depicts than for who created it, but it helps the visitor understand the city of Athens as it existed in the past. The story in art actually begins well before these mansions were built; they merely happen to contain it. There are three pieces of art which I particularly recommend.

The first is a painting by French artist Jaques Carey. It has a long official name, but it is often called "Athens in 1674." It depicts a French ambassador’s visit to Athens en route to Istanbul. It’s about 10 by 20 feet and depicts the walled town, outside which sits the Acropolis and the still intact Parthenon. It is one of the few depictions of the Parthenon before Francesco Morosini, Doge of Venice, shelled it when his troops attacked the city in 1687. (The Ottomans gunpowder stored in it didn’t help either.) Until then, the Parthenon was still largely intact. It is also important for the local dignitaries it portrays. The second is a painting by Nicolaos Gysis, one of Greece’s premier 19th century painters, and is titled "The Carnival in Greece." It’s not historically significant; it’s just great fun to spend time with. The third piece is a large model of the city made in 1842, which helps put the layout of 170 years ago into perspective.

I agree with other comments which regret the scarcity of English explanations in the museum. I don’t think the recorded self-tour has ever been available when I have visited. There are two publications which are bilingual and can help. The first is "The Museum of the City of Athens." It’s not bad and relatively affordable. The other is better but I seem to recall that it is expensive: "Great Travelers in Athens." It contains a lot of the paintings and prints in the museum. Incidentally, the museum website does not show either of the publications, and the publications that it does show were not available at the museum Admission was three Euros.

This is not someplace you go to share the excitement or be overwhelmed with the contents. The times I have been to this museum I have had it all to myself, or so it seemed. If you are willing to take the time and examine the paintings closely, you can tell a lot about the city’s past. As I said, it’s a favorite of mine, but not one I’d recommend for everyone.

9  Thank Olearius
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 September 2012

new, moderate, informational, good value for money to visit. Take time to read and explore. Good background and insight of siviliation years gone by

2  Thank jjacobs4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 September 2012

It is one of the oldest buildings in Athens and it provides you with a sense of the 'older' Greece through a number of paintings and furniture.
Price of entrance was less than 5 euros

4  Thank Adri_al88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 July 2012

This was a wonderful trip .... so much history....had a great time.

1  Thank Sheila L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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