Athens Sights

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National Historical Museum Review

After making the rounds of the ancient sites, you might think that Greek history ground to a halt when the Byzantine empire collapsed. A visit to this gem of a museum, housed in the spectacularly majestic Old Parliament mansion (used by parliamentarians from 1875 to 1932), will fill in the gaps, often vividly, as with Lazaros Koyevina's copy of Eugene Delacroix's Massacre of Chios, to name but one example. Paintings, costumes, and assorted artifacts from small arms to flags and ships' figureheads are arranged in a chronological display tracing Greek history from the mid-16th century and the Battle of Lepanto through World War II and the Battle of Crete. A small gift shop near the main entrance—framed by a very grand Neoclassical portico of columns—has unusual souvenirs, like a deck of cards featuring Greece's revolutionary heroes.

Updated: 05-17-2011

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