The new Acropolis Museum opened for the public in 2009. The overall 25,000 square meter building was designed by the architects Bernard Tschumi and Michalis Fotiadis and is located in the historic area of Makrygianni, 300 m southeast of the Acropolis hill. The Museum entrance is located on the Dionysiou Areopagitou pedestrian street, the central route of the archaeological walk and historic centre of Athens.
The Acropolis Museum is a site-specific museum housing the finds from the Acropolis hill. The exhibition is organised according to topographic, chronologic and thematic criteria, thus providing visitors with a comprehensive picture of the sacred rock and its history throughout antiquity. Exploiting the ambient natural light, shed through the glass walls, and the panoramic view, made possible by the elevated building, the museum reflects the architectural clustering of the monuments upon the hill and allows the visional discourse with the site and its monuments.
Daily life in ancient Athens opens the door to the visitor: the glass floor leading to the museum entrance affords views to the excavation of the ancient city, which winded its way up to the foot of the hill, along with sanctuaries of primeval deities and popular cults that encroached all round the slopes. The finds from this area are displayed in the first gallery of the Museum, where pottery depicting symposia and weddings, children's toys, wishful offerings to Asclepius and many more objects animate scenes from the everyday life of ancient Athenians.
The forest of free-standing sculptures, which once surrounded and adorned the Acropolis monuments, today occupy the first floor of the museum, offering a unique journey through the history of ancient Greek sculpture. Defining works of all its major periods and styles may be viewed here:
The series of Kouroi (youths) and Korai (maidens) statues with traces of their original colours still being preserved.
The sculptures from the first monumental temples erected in honour of Athena on the Acropolis, the so-called Ancient Temple and Hekatompedon respectively.
The Blond Boy and Mourning Athena standing on the threshold of 5th century classical art.
The Caryatids with their state-of-the-art laser conservation technique, presented in public view, offer a glimpse to the laborious work of antiquities restoration.
Works by famous sculptors, such as the head of a colossal statue of Artemis Brauronia by Praxiteles or the Head of Alexander the Great attributed to a great 4th century sculptor, either Leocharis or Lysippos.
The Parthenon Gallery marks the end of the museum tour, just like centuries ago, the temple of Athena marked the end of the Great Panathenaia Procession. The most important festival in ancient Athens is represented along 160 meters of sculpted marble on the Parthenon's frieze, while popular stories from Greek mythology were chosen for the pediments and the metopes. These are the architectural sculptures of the Parthenon, a work by Pheidias, one of the greatest of all artists in classical Greece, and perhaps the world's most famous case of antiquities repatriation. The sculptures are largely divided today between the Acropolis and the British Museum. The latter houses the so-called Elgin Marbles, namely the parts of the monument that were plundered by Lord Elgin in 1799-1803. In the Acropolis Museum copies of the missing parts are exhibited alongside the originals in order to restore and present the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon in its entirety.