A collection of rare and valuable instruments in Plaka

Anoyiannakis’s collection, spread over three floors at the Plaka museum, is divided into four well-organized sections – membraphones, aerophones, chordophones, and idiophones. The instruments, exhibited in glass cases, may be out of the curious visitor’s reach, but audio samples of all displayed items can be heard on accompanying headphones. Bilingual Greek and English notes provide abundant information. Some of the items continue to be used for contemporary recordings, while others are apparently very rare, or have even been saved from total disappearance courtesy of Anoyiannakis’s passion as a collector. Interestingly, besides viewing and listening to instruments hailing from other times and places, the visitor can pick up fascinating details regarding the items, such as their changing roles in history. For instance, in various ancient civilizations, bells, of which many types are on display, served to protect animals from evil spirits. Later, fear subsided and was replaced by a pleasanter motivation. The bells were hung from the necks of animals by shepherds to listen to for pleasure. Museum of Popular Musical Instruments, 1-3 Diogenous St, Aeridon Square, Plaka, Athens, tel 210.325.0198, 210.325.4119. Open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Wednesday, 12-6 p.m. Free entrance.