The culture of Greece

Acropolis, Athens

 

The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its Greek Eastern successor the Byzantine Empire.

Foreign occupiers such as the Ottoman Empire have also left their influence on modern Greek culture, but historians credit the Greek war of independence with revitalising Greece and giving birth to a single entity of its multi-faceted culture (read more about the culture of Greece…)

We have collected information about today’s remains of architecture and artifacts from the different periods of the long Greek history scattered around the country as well as information about Greek music and theatre on the pages of this site. Below you will find relevant links to pages on site as well as external links to museums and galleries…

 

Erechtheum on Acropolis, AthensMinoan Palace, KnossosLions Gate MycenaeMeteora MonasteryTemple of Apollon in DelphiMonemvasia

 

Museums

Greece has countless museums all over the country, some with ancient artifacts from sites, temples or even ancient homes, other museums house findings from the Byzantine period. Around Greece in towns and villages you will also find Folklore Museums.
Here is a rather short list of the most important museums, like for example the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. You will also find links (or addresses and phone numbers) to museums in the pages of the different areas and cities (here on site). Beneath you will find the link to the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, which presents the most complete and up-to-date list of museums for all of Greece with descriptions and details on their pages.

  • National Archaeological Museum in AthensThe National Archaeological Museum in Athens houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistory to late antiquity. It is considered one of the great museums in the world and contains the richest collection of artifacts from Greek antiquity worldwide. It is situated in the Exarhia area in central Athens and its entrance is on the Patission Street adjacent to the historical building of the Athens Polytechnic.
  • Athens Acropolis Museum during sunsetThe Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on its feet, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. It also lies on the archaeological site of Makrygianni and the ruins of a part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens.
    The museum was founded in 2003, while the Organisation of the Museum was established in 2008. It opened to the public on June 21, 2009. Nearly 4,000 objects are exhibited over an area of 14,000 square metres.
  • Byzantine Museum, Athens - Room of the icones - Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto, 2009The Byzantine & Christian Museum  is situated at Vassilissis Sofias Avenue in Athens, Greece. It was founded in 1914 and houses more than 25,000 exhibits with rare collections of pictures, scriptures, frescoes, pottery, fabrics, manuscripts and copies of artifacts from the 3rd century AD to the late medieval era. It is one of the most important museums in the world in Byzantine Art. In June 2004, in time for its 90th anniversary and the 2004 Athens Olympics, the museum reopened to the public after an extensive renovation and the addition of another wing.
  • Antoine Bourdelle Dying Centaur (1914) National Gallery (Athens)The National Art Gallery and Alexander Soutzos Museum is an art museum in Athens devoted to Greek and European art from the 14th century to the 20th century. It was established in 1878 as a small collection of 117 works exhibited at the Athens University. In 1896, Alexandros Soutzos, a jurist and art lover, bequeathed his collection and estate to the Greek Government aspiring to the creation of an art museum, which opened in 1900.  The gallery exhibitions are mainly focused on post-Byzantine Greek Art. The gallery owns and exhibits also an extensive collection of European artists. Particularly valuable, is the collection of paintings from the Renaissance.
  • Figurine, Cycladic Art Museum, Athens, GreeceMuseum of Cycladic Art in Athens
    The Museum of Cycladic Art in the heart of Athens houses the collection of Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris; more than 3.000 objects of Cycladic, Ancient Greek and Cypriot art (dating from the 5th millennium BC to the 6th century AD) are displayed in the galleries of the four floors of the Museum of Cycladic Art. The Museum owns one of the most important collections of Cycladic Art worldwide and hosts major archaeological, modern and contemporary art exhibitions.

 

  • Praxiteles Hermes at Olympia Archaeological Museum, GreeceThe Archaeological Museum of Olympia presents the long history of the most celebrated sanctuary of antiquity, the sanctuary of Zeus, father of both gods and men, where the Olympic games were born. The museum’s permanent exhibition contains finds from the excavations in the sacred precinct of the Altis dating from prehistoric times to the Early Christian period. Among the many precious exhibits the sculpture collection, for which the museum is most famous, the bronze collection, the richest collection of its type in the world, and the large terracottas collection, are especially noteworthy.

 

  • Sarcophagus from SalonicaThe Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is a museum in Thessaloniki, Greece. It holds and interprets artifacts from the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, mostly from the city of Thessaloniki but also from the region of Macedonia in general.
    Built in 1962, the museum had a new wing added to it in 1980, in which the findings from Vergina were displayed, up until 1997. In 2001 and 2004, the museum was extensively restored and its permanent exhibits reorganized.

Ancient Sites

Lions Gate MycenaeSome say, that no matter where in Greece you might search (if just you dig deep enough), you will find something from the ancient years. In this country civilizations have been living for so many years and in various parts of the country. Therefore it comes as no surprise that ancient sites like temples, theatres and even cities are scattered all over Greece. Among the pages of regions and cities you will find pages describing the most important ancient sites.
Here are the links of the most important sites (so far, all the time I discover more):

 Ancient sites in Athens

Ancient sites in Attica (outside Athens)

Ancient sites in Central Greece

Ancient sites in Peloponnese

Ancient sites in Crete

Ancient sites in Macedonia

Ancient sites in Epirus

Ancient Theatre

Theatre Mask, 1st century BC (Louvre)The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was institutionalized as part of a festival called the Dionysia, which honored the god Dionysus. Tragedy (late 6th century BC), comedy (486 BC), and the satyr play were the three dramatic genres to emerge there. Athens exported the festival to its numerous colonies and allies in order to promote a common cultural identity. Western theatre originated in Athens and its drama has had a significant and sustained impact on Western culture as a whole.
Herod Atticus Odeon, AthensAt some of these ancient amphi-theatres you will be able even today to enjoy ancient Greek plays or concerts. The two most famous of them all are first the theatre in Epidaurus, Peloponnese and second the “Herod Atticus Odeon” on the south-west slope of the Acropolis in Athens. Athens – Epidaurus Festival is an annual arts festival that takes place in Athens and Epidaurus, from May to October. It is one of the most famous festivals in Greece. The festival includes musical, theatrical and other cultural events. (Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2011)

 

 

Greek Music

A classical three-course bouzouki.The music of Greece is as diverse and celebrated as its history. Greek music separates into two parts: Greek traditional music and Byzantine music, with more eastern sounds.These compositions have existed for millennia: they originated in the Byzantine period and Greek antiquity, where there is a continuous development which appears in the language, the rhythm, the structure and the melody. Also Greek music has many similarities with the music of Cyprus; their modern popular music scenes remaining well-integrated with one another. Music is a significant aspect of Hellenic culture, both within Greece and in the diaspora. (Read more about the different genres of Greek music…)

Byzantine sites in Greece

Monastery at Mount AthosThe Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The empire gradually emerged as a distinct artistic and cultural entity from what is today referred to as the Roman Empire after AD 330, when the Roman Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire east from Rome to Byzantium. Byzantium, “New Rome”, was later renamed Constantinople and is now called Istanbul. The empire endured for more than a millennium, dramatically influencing Medieval and Renaissance era architecture in Europe and, following the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, leading directly to the architecture of the Ottoman Empire. Throughout Greeece you will find churches and monasteries, marvelous examples of the Byzantine architecture. You will find pages on site describing several of them.

Here are their links

 

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