My last time in Athens, the Acropolis Museum was an over-crowded, no-nonsense building meters away from the Parthenon. It really didn't capture the magnitude and importance of the monument it wanted to show off. In 2007, that all changed with the opening of a more fitting structure that had been in planning since the 1970s.
The new museum is substantially more airy and filled with modern design elements. When construction first started, the builders discovered something amazing - a settlement dating back to the Archaic era. While this caused construction delays, eventually it was incorporated ingeniously in the final design - they covered the settlement with a ceiling of glass and built the museum on top. It then became a working archeological site.
It felt tense walking over the transparent walkway but it also felt amazing to be hovering over an excavation site while archeologists worked.
Once inside, we went straight to the top floor and worked ourselves down.
For some unexplained reason, they were only allowing photographs on the top floor. Unexplained because I asked why, and they couldn't give a proper answer other than 'it's not allowed'. ):
We were able to see ongoing restoration works of the friezes and sculptures, and some of the finished artifacts. One of the guides told us that once finished, the works would be placed back on the Parthenon. Considering the relative security and controlled environment of the museum, one would think it better to leave them here.
The last pic shows representations of what the west pediment statues would look like. It shows Athena offering an olive tree, while Poseidon offers a spring of water from the ground, in their competition to be the patron of the city. Athena wins, hence the city is called Athens.
Questions remain as to which branch of FitnessFirst Poseidon went to and why he was sculpted buck naked.
I wish I could have gone as well to the National Archeological Museum but one great museum was enough for this trip. Will have to pray to the gods for another chance to come back. Maybe next time, they'll let us take photographs. (:
Next, discovering Greek fro-yo...
Labels: Greece, Museums, Travel