The Acropolis Museum
Before my trip to Athens and the Acropolis Museum, I first made a visit to the British Museum. It might seem a strange pathway but the British Museum is actually home to an impressive, yet contentious, collection of sculptures from the Acropolis and its iconic ruin, the Parthenon.
These sculptures are sometimes known as ‘Elgin’s Marbles’, named after the British nobleman who first brought them to England. As I read the plaques on the walls, I learned of how the celebrated Lord Elgin rescued the statues and reliefs from inevitable degradation or theft by bringing them to London. They have been on display at the British Museum since 1817.
The Acropolis Museum in Athens tells an entirely different story. The exhibits here talk of the suffering of The Parthenon and its statues and reliefs. I read about the many onslaughts it has withstood over centuries, from fires to invasions and ransackings. The Acropolis Museum’s version of Lord Elgin is something more of a thief, who stole the sculptures from Athens and took them back to London, where they’ve now stayed for 200 years.
There has long been a debate about why the sculptures are in London, and discussions continue over whether they should be returned to Athens. These museums tell two conflicting stories. Each presents the sculptures of the Parthenon in incredible exhibits, neither is complete while the other exists.
Tips for the Acropolis Museum
- To make your visit to The Parthenon more beneficial, I would suggest visiting the Acropolis Museum in Athens first.
- I recommend heading straight up to the upper level where there are short films explaining the history and origins of the museum, the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
- Lines can be long - arrive early if you can.
- There are great views of the Acropolis from the museum, especially from the terrace
- It might sound like a strange tip, but the floors are transparent, in case that impacts your wardrobe choices.
- Tickets are 5 euros each and can be booked online to skip the queue.