The Museum of Islamic Art

The Benaki Museum, after presenting its fantastic new wing on Pireos Street, has yet another surprise up its sleeve. By the end of June, Athens will have a Museum of Islamic Art, housed in two neoclassical buildings in Psyrri, adjoined by a modern, metallic footbridge. The buildings were donated to the Benaki by Eftaxias before his death and are located on the corner of Asomaton and Dipylou streets. The museum’s architects have preserved the facades and remodeled the 600 sq.m. interior spaces. Once complete, it will be the only museum in the Balkans dedicated exclusively to the art of the Islamic world, and it will contain a wealth of exquisite pieces collected by Antonis Benakis over the years. It is worth noting that the collection has been compared to that of the Victoria & Albert, the British Museum, the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan in New York. The collection is composed of 8,000 pieces, dating from the seventh to the 19th century, originating from all parts of the Islamic world, though there is a focus on Egypt. Over the years, the collection has been constantly enriched by donations and new purchases. Among the highlights of the collection are exquisite items of glasswork, metalwork, embroidery, ceramics, jewelry and wooden sculptures. The permanent exhibition will be divided into two parts according to chronology, while the museum’s most impressive room will be a reception with marble floors, a fountain and sculpted wood fittings that was transported as is from a mansion in Cairo.

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