With nearly 4, objects exhibited over an area of 14, sq metres, it merits a good half a day at least. But I enjoy it every bit as much for the architecture and the glass walkways showing you that, not far beneath your feet and probably in the whole of central Athens , lie the traces of ancient times.
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Almost everywhere you stroll in this spacious museum you can gaze upwards to glimpse the Acropolis to be reminded of where everything you are seeing displayed originated. The connection is immediate and the context satisfying.
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If the heat does get too much, head south out of the city and two truly wonderful experiences await. In little more than half an hour you can be on the beach swimming in crystal waters off Vouliagmeni, a seaside suburb some 12 miles or so south of the city centre. A long sandy beach lined with bars and cafes makes it one of my favourite spots.
Superb modern architecture of steel and glass showcasing ancient history.
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Open daily. Simply sublime: the largest museum in Greece and one of the most important in the world.
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So large you can often escape marauding packs of tourists. Commemorates the bravery of communist resistance fighters during the Nazi occupation. Iro Konstantopoulou 16, Kaisariani Home-grown art plus foreign influences, all housed in a splendid family mansion.
This houses the collection of the super-rich super-collectors Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris who started amassing art in the Sixties. Music recitals and so much more in this elegant neo-classical building. Another 30 or so miles south-east is Cape Sounion. When the sun is beginning to go down, you should make for the awe-inspiring Temple of Poseidon, looking out over the Aegean Sea at one of the most spectacular sunsets imaginable. It was from here that I first caught sight of Makronisos, the once-notorious prison island that became the setting for some of Those Who Are Loved.
Within ten minutes' walk of the centre of Athens, there are three perfect small museums, and I love them all: The Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki, and the Theocharakis Foundation For The Fine Arts and Music, each of them with constantly changing exhibitions as well as permanent collections. Out of all of them, the Cycladic is my favourite. When I gaze on the mysterious, minimalist sculptures that are almost 5, years old and inspired Picasso and Modigliani, the notion of any gulf between ancient and modern melts away.
A more substantial collection is the National Archaeological Museum which houses some of the greatest of ancient Greek artefacts including a life- sized bronze racehorse galloping at full speed. It has a tiny figure of a boy-jockey perched precariously on top, urging the animal on, and is astonishing — all the more so when you realise it was crafted more than 2, years ago yet displays such powerful emotion.
In coincidentally close proximity to this bronze, is another more contemporary piece of metal which, at first sight, could be mistaken for a modern sculpture. Entry is free for a close inspection, but you can peer through the railings of the Polytechnic to see it, and I have done so many dozens of times as an act of homage. Lying on the ground are the old gates of the Polytechnic which were crushed by tanks during a demonstration against the military dictatorship in The death of many students helped bring an end to army rule and this is remembered every November 17 when schools shut for the day.
The Acropolis is always cited as the place where democracy was born, but these mangled gates are a reminder of the price that many Athenians paid to regain it.
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It somehow symbolises to me that Athens shouldn't be seen by visitors and tourists as a place just to inspect the ancient world. It is a city packed with reminders of modern history too, and new museums are now opening to remind visitors and Athenians of this.
I discovered one hidden away on my last visit to the eastern suburb of Kaisariani a taxi ride from the centre of town to prevent melting in the heat. Valtessiniko Studios. Hotel Alma. Vrionis Hotel.
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Taxes, fees not included for deals content. In the ancient world, Greece was once one of the foremost producers of wine. If only we were sitting here right now… Vinsanto on Santorini Island. By Frank Lee. This guide will give you a lay of the land and point out 12 Greek wines you should be sipping right now. Assyrtiko is one of the top wines in Greece, produced all over the country.
This is a lean white wine with passion fruit, flint, and lemon flavors, with subtle bitterness and saltiness on the finish. On central Peloponnese, close to Tripoli, grows Moschofilero, a lovely dry, aromatic white wine with flavors of peach, potpourri, and sweet lemon. As the wines age , they develop more nectarine and apricot flavors with toasted hazelnut or almond notes.
These wines offer a richer white wine style, almost like a cross between Viognier and Chardonnay , with peach, lime, and orange blossom and lemon oil all tied together with a soft, fruity finish. When made well, Savatiano offers flavors of sweet honeydew, green apple, and lime with tingling acidity, akin to Chablis. When oak-aged, Savatiano delivers more lemon curd, wax, cultured cream with lemon bread notes with a creamy mid-palate, with a structure and finish similar to White Burgundy.