National Archaeological Museum of Athens
The Egyptian Collection
44 Patission Exarcheia area GR - Athens 10682 (Greece)
Phone: +30-1-8217717, 8217724
Near the Omonia Station on the Metro.
Hours: July 1st - Oct 31st 12:30pm to 6:45 pm
Mondays 8am-7pm Tuesday-Sunday Hours:
Nov 1st- March 31st 10:30am-5pm Mondays, 8:30am-3pm Tuesday-Sunday
Tickets: 2000 drachma general admission
1000 drachma for youths under 18, European Union senior citizens over 65, EU and many other university students. Free admission Sundays between November and March, and on some holidays. Unlike many other sites, the museum is open most holidays.
Often neglected in the rush to see the outstanding collection of Greek
antiquities, this museum also possesses a less-heralded but satisfying Egyptian Collection of 280 objects selected from over 4000 possessed by the museum. While most of the objects displayed are not exceptional, the sheer quantity is cheering and highlights include a charming rose granite statue of the royal scribe Rahotep from Sakkara, an array of scarabs and small objects, funerary equipment, and an early carving of a hippopotamus. There are also a few Fayum portraits, vases, and statues. Virtually all periods are represented by an object or two.
My own visit here several years ago was brief, and like most, I heard of it by accident and then flew up the central stairs after already
spending several hours viewing the magnificent collection of Greek art below. It was a bit of a "culture shock" in its truest sense, but it was also intriguing to be able to easily compare traces of possible Egyptian influence on the large, early statues of the kouroi downstairs and other objects throughout the museum. While the subject of Egyptian influence on Greek art and culture is a controversial one today, many of the ancient Greeks themselves were happy to claim an Egyptian connection, whether or not it was a well-founded one.
Of interest to some will be several Graeco-Roman period representations of the Egyptian deity Isis, in the Roman period rooms. The image of the sistrum-bearing Isian priestess Alexandra is particularly delightful.
To get the most out of your visit, keep an eye out for Tzachou-Alexandri's The World of Egypt in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens (Kapon Editions, 1995), as the standard guidebooks available for the museum generally omit the Egyptian collection entirely.
For information on Greek travel, please visit my Greece for Visitors
website at http://gogreece.about.com.
Last Updated: June 6th, 2011