Piraeus Archaeological Museum

The ground of Attica around Athens has been sheltering a plethora of important ancient artifacts that have been slowly excavated in the last century. Most of these are now exhibited in the major museums in Greece the largest of which is the National Museum of Athens. This is complemented by The Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, which harbors ancient finds from the city of Piraeus itself, the coastal area of Attica, and the Saronic Gulf islands, including artifacts from the bottom of the surrounding sea.

During Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic times, Piraeus provided the political, cultural, military, and commercial hub from which Athens extended its influence throughout the Mediterranean. Piraeus was home to the mighty Athenian navy as well as a busy port where commercial exchange with the Aegean, Anatolia, the Middle-East, and Egypt flourished.

The Piraeus museum through its exhibits reflects the strategic importance of the port in the development of Classical Greece, and its rich cultural heritage which has spanned several eons. Four large rooms of the ground floor are dedicated to finds from several cemeteries, and sculptures from the Hellenistic and Roman eras. The most impressive exhibit of this floor is by far the reconstruction of a foreign merchant's (a metic from Istria) mausoleum unearthed in Kalithea. The reconstruction is complemented by several well preserved stele from the classical and Hellenistic eras -- some with truly impressive low relief figures interacting with each other.

The upper floor is rich with a multitude of artifacts from everyday life and commerce, ceramics of all kinds, a modest reconstruction of the Cybele temple from Moshato, and five exquisite bronze statues. Among them two statues of Artemis, one of Athena, and the only archaic bronze Kouros in existence.

Adjacent to the museum, a fence encloses the small Hellenistic theater of Zea.

 

See the pictures from the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus

 

Visiting the Piraeus Museum

My personal visit was very pleasant since the museum is well maintained, the artifacts exhibited with much clarity, and the crowds were non-existent. I was able to leisurely examine the exhibits in about an hour.

The museum can be found at 31 Charilaou Trikoupi street which starts at the Piraeus port, and leads to the Pasalimani harbor. It would take a visitor about ten minutes of leisurely walk to reach it from the port. Full admission costs 3 € and the museum is open from 8:30 AM until 3:00 PM, while it is closed on Mondays (click here for the official Piraeus museum page).

map of ancient Pireas
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