Benaki Museum

Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum was the first private Museum in Greece. It was donated to the Greek state directly following the death of the distinguished Mr. Emmanuel Benakis in 1930, by his son, Antonis.

The latter's collection was derived from his stay in Egypt and housed in one of the handsomest neoclassical buildings (Harokopos Mansion, constructed in 1867-1868 by Ioannis Peroglou) in the capital that was converted into the first private museum in Greece. After Antonis Benakis death in 1974, many more items were added to the museums already extensive collection.

The ever-increasing numbers of benefactors continuously endow the venue with priceless artworks of which serve to reinforce its research role. The swift growth of the museum’s holdings and activities necessitated the re-housing of certain sections in new annexes. The main building re-opened to the public in the summer of 2000 and in it is presented the historical and cultural development of Hellenism (exhibits from Neolithic Age to the 20th Century). Two new buildings were inaugurated in the summer of 2004.

The Museum of Islamic Art - one of the few in the West - in the Kerameikos neighborhood, host one of the most internationally important collections of Islamic art.


The Benaki Cultural Center at Pireos Avenue 138, an industrial building of the 1960s transformed into a modern museum space, accommodates multiple events.

Also included as part of the Benaki Museum’s decentralization program was the creation of specialized annexes to house its major archival units, such as the Photographic Archives (Filikis Eterias Square 15), the Historical Archives (S. Delta and 38 E. Benaki Streets, Kifisia, in the House of Penelope Delta) and the Archives of Neohellenic Architecture (Peiraios Street 38).

The latest expansion include the remodeled, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Art Gallery (Kriezotou Street 3) and the Museum of Toys and Childhood in the Koulouras Mansion (Tritonos Street 1, Paleo Faliro).

Noted for its vast array of discerning objects, the Benaki Museum Shop also sells copies of much of what it has on exhibition like reliefs & sculptures, jewelry and ceramics. It also offers a children’s corner that allows tots to learn at their own speed, while the adults are free to peruse the museum in peace.