Athens

It is difficult to imagine the history of an ancient country without its participation in wars. Since ancient times, Greece has participated in a large number of wars, where it gained victories or was defeated. The thousand-year battle experience is reflected in history textbooks and testifies to the constant improvement of the soldiers themselves and weapons as well. The willpower and heroism of the Spartans, the genius and invincibility of Alexander the Great are only a small part of the glorious history of majestic Greece. The War Museum of Athens contains various artifacts that will help you to get acquainted with the key wars in the history of the state, as well as all the military capabilities used by Greek soldiers from antiquity to the present day.   

Why it's worth a visit

If you are interested in Greek history, the War Museum in Athens is an excellent place to add some new facts to your knowledge box. You will see collections of weapons, costumes, belts, sculptures, paintings, flags, badges, cartridges and other evidence of the perseverance and strength of the Greeks in various periods of their country's rich history. 

The museum was founded in 1964 and opened to the public in the summer of 1975. It was created to memorize those who fought for the independence of Greece — the main mission of the Museum is to collect, store and exhibit military artifacts, as well as to study and to document events that testify to the participation of the Greek people in numerous wars. In addition to preserving and protecting military relics and memorabilia, the Museum holds activities on research, training and education and organizes periodic exhibitions. Books are published in tribute to the heroic battles; monuments and memorials are created throughout Greece and beyond it. Branches of the War Museum have been opened in the country's historical cities of Nafplion, Chania, Tripoli and Thessaloniki.    

The War Museum of Athens presents events from various periods of the country's history, and all the exhibits are collected in appropriate groups:

  • the photo archive contains 20 000 historical images from 1897 to 1959, which are classified according to the corresponding historical periods;
  • the historical archive contains 5000 diaries and personal letters of officers and soldiers, as well as magazines, postcards and personal files;
  • 500 films showing historical events are included in the film archive;
  • in the Museum visitors will find a collection of maps and engravings depicting the Greek state;
  • 23 000 books and publications about historical events are collected in the Museum's library;
  • there is also a 550-seat conference hall where congresses, events and exhibitions are regularly held.

How to navigate

The unusual shape of the War Museum’ building in Athens is a manifestation of the eclectic style in the spirit of modernism of the middle 20th century. Due to the overhanging second floor and to the display of military equipment right at the outside area, the Athens War Museum quickly became one of the most recognizable buildings in the city. 

The Museum's exhibition areas are located on four levels, spanning historical periods from antiquity to modernity. On the first floor and on the mezzanine you will find the collections of weapons, relics and items that were got as a result of operations of the Greek armed forces during the Second world war, the Korean war and the Cyprus conflict.  Military history from the prehistoric period to the Second World War is waiting for visitors on the second floor. 

The weapons collection includes various types of defensive and offensive weapons, medieval armor, career weapons and explosives.  

The Museum's collections are arranged in groups according to the historical period, and outside the building, you can see heavy artillery guns and military aircraft that were used by the Greek air forces. Having viewed the impressive guns and fighters, you can look into museum’s rich library — you can get into it directly from the courtyard, where military equipment is displayed. 

The Petros Saroglou’ collection of rare weapons from different eras deserves a special attention. Some examples are admirable, as they are true works of art. The collection is unique and rather valuable.

In 2014-2015, the Greek government and the European Union funded a special project — "Presentation of Museum’s collections and exhibitions using interactive electronic applications and services of the Greek War Museum". The project achieved the following goals:

  • cultural materials collected by the War Museum has been digitized and documented;
  • a new Internet portal was introduced together with the educational games;
  • now it is possible to conduct a virtual 3D tour to explore the exhibits via the Internet — the corresponding tab is available on the official website of the War Museum of Athens;
  • multimedia expositions can be held;
  • a virtual host application using portable devices was organized;
  • now it is possible to use digital services — to book tickets online and buy souvenirs through an online store.

All the Museum rooms are organized for the possibility of visiting by people with disabilities.

How to get

The Museum is located at the intersection of Rizari and Vasilissis Sofias streets, near Syntagma square. If you are driving here by car, you can park it in the covered parking lot, which is located to the left of the Museum on Rizari street.

The range of public transport that will take you to the place of studying the military history of Greece is quite large:

  1. You can take one of the buses that follow the routes No. 054, 200, 203, 204, 211, 214, 220, 221, 223, 224, 235, 250, 408, 419, 601, 603, 608, 622, 815, A5, Γ5, Ε7 (you should get to the Rigillis stop).
  2. Trolleybuses No. 3, 7, and 13 also go to the Rigillis stop.
  3. You can get to the War Museum of Athens by metro — line 3 to Evangelismos station.

Tips

  • If you prefer to take photos in order to remember the places you have visited, please note that amateur photos without flash are allowed in the Athens War Museum.
  • There are several other interesting sites close to the War Museum — museums of Cycladic Art, Byzantine and Christian Art, Benaki, as well as the place where the Aristotle Lyceum was located in ancient times. Take the opportunity to walk through these places to plunge into the history of Greece.