5 Off-Radar Athens Museums to Visit
There is no denying that the Greek capital is filled with monuments, age-old landmarks and museums worth a visit, but if you find yourself in a bit of an “ancient marble” overdose, you’ll be glad to learn that there are fascinating museums to visit that have nothing to do with archaeology. Ethel Dilouambaka rounds up five Athenian museums that probably weren’t on your radar.
Located on the grounds of the Medical School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Museum of Criminology is one of the most underrated museums in the capital. Open to only an adult public and by appointment, the museum displays the history of crime in Greece, showcasing some of the most notorious cases from the 19th and 20th century. Organized in three main collections, such as the forensic medicine, toxicology and criminological collections, the museum serves unique research and teaching resources in various fields, including forensic sciences as well as several areas of sociology. If you are fascinated by the CSI tv show, you will surely relish this museum.
Mikras Asias 75, (grounds of the Faculty of Medicine – National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), tel: 210.746.2445, 210.746.2418, www.criminology-museum.uoa.gr
Athens Railway Museum
Are you a trainspotter in hiding? You are in luck. Athens has its own railway museum, the biggest of its kind in the country. Founded in 1978, the museum retraces the history of rail transport in Greece and includes a vast collection of items, including steam locomotives, old tramways and passenger cars, drawings models, instruments and tools and old uniforms. The recreational train in the courtyard is sure to go down well with the little ones but we are pretty sure visitors of all ages will be fascinated with this intriguing collection too.
Siokou 4, tel: 210.512.6295, www.ose.gr
Digital Museum of Plato
Dedicated to one of the greatest philosophers of all time, the digital museum of Plato is one of the newest additions to the Athenian museum scene. This super-modern and interactive venue is the first museum dedicated to philosophy in the country and is located on the archaeological site of Plato’s Academy in central Athens. Consisting of a series of physical exhibits and multimedia applications taking the visitor back to Plato’s era and focusing on his work, the museum is definitely a must-see, especially if you have a penchant for modern structures and buildings.
Alkmeonos 1, tel: 210.514.2138
Housed in a stunning neoclassical mansion built in 1878-1880 – the former residence of German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann who contributed largely to the excavations of the ancient sites of Mycenae and Tiryns – the Numismatic Museum of Athens is one of Greece’s most prominent cultural collections. It holds a vast display of ancient and modern coins, lead stamps and medals and allows visitors to discover the rich coinage history of Greece since the 6th century AD. The museum building is equally interesting and features many architectural elements worth exploring. End your tour at the museum’s café where you can take a refreshing break in the lovely garden if the weather allows it.
Panepistimiou 12, tel: 210.363.2057, 210.361.2834, 210.361.2872, www.enma.gr
Hellenic Motor Museum
If you are a vintage car aficionado or simply enjoy cars in general, you will certainly enjoy a visit to the Hellenic Motor Museum. This off-the-beaten track attraction is undeniably one of the most impressive automobile museums in the country and includes a collection of more than a hundred cars dating from the 19th and 20th century. Retracing the evolution of the automobile, the museum features rare and forgotten models as well as modern and contemporary specimens. Young and old will enjoy this high-octane display set in a distinctive building near the National Archaeological museum.
Ioulianou 33, tel: 210.881.6187, www.hellenicmotormuseum.gr