One of the most famous Athenian museums is based in a modern building at the bottom of the Acropolis hill. It exposes most of the sculptures and objects found during excavation in the Acropolis. Many fantastic sculptures were held in a small building on the top of the Acropolis behind the Parthenon till July 2007. It was built back in 1878 and has become no longer able to take up expanding displays and accept thousands of visitors, willing to touch the history of Ancient Greece. The Museum has been also criticized for non-compliance to seismic requirements, being located in earthquake zone.
The New Museum of Acropolis
The New Museum of the Acropolis opened up in June 2009 with grasping modern structure designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi. The Museum is based on a series of columns, which protect the place of an excavation in an old section. Through the glass floor visitors can watch ruins of houses discovered over the past decades. The glass facades allow visitors to eye the Acropolis from every side directly from the museum. Visitors can enjoy a fine view on the Acropolis Hill from an open-space sight deck on the third floor.
The Museum’s Collection
The collection covers sculptures, found in the Acropolis. The excursion begins at a wide ramp considered as a hike into the Hill. On the both sides of the ramp daily living items and sculptures discovered at the bottom of the Hill are exposed. The first gallery displays a lot of Archaic male and female statues dated 6-5 BC. The best known archaic sculpture of the museum is the Moschophoros, created in 570 BC, the statue of cow-bearer Rhodos that was making an offering to the goddess. The center of the gallery has the Kritios boy statue, symbolizing transmission from Archaic to Classic Art. Besides, it should be mentioned the statue of the young goddess Athena. The Acropolis Museum is undoubtedly one of the greatest museums in the world.
The next floor of the gallery displays sculptures and reliefs from the Parthenon. There are a 525-foot-long reliefs of the Parthenon friezes, depicting more than 600 figures during the Panathenaic procession. This festival was held every 4 years to honour the goddess Athena. The relief is displayed in the same way as in the Parthenon. There are also many metopes (auxiliary sculptures outside the temple) as well as some elements of the eagle. The ultimate gallery exposes the part of the Propulsion, the Temple of Athena Nike and Erechtheion, including the best known caryatids – female figures supporting the southern section of the Erechtheion Temple.
Most of the original sculptures from the Parthenon are exposed in the British Museum of London and are known as Elgin Marbles. In 1799 the British ambassador in the Ottoman Empire lord Elgin got permission from the Ottoman government to take off to the UK some 2/3 of the sculptures from the Parthenon. In 1816 the sculptures were sold to the UK and displayed in the British Museum, remaining to this day.
The Greek government finds this deal illegal and requires the statutes to be returned to Athens. The New Museum of Acropolis was partly built with the aim to demonstrate the Greece’s ability to secure safe and corresponding deposit for the priceless collection of statues. At the same time, the refusal of the British Museum to return Elgin Marbles plays into hands of many amateur photographers, as unlike the British Museum, the Acropolis Museum forbids to take pictures.