The Jewish Museum of Greece ΕΒΡΑΪΚΟ ΜΟΥΣΕΙΟ ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ
The Jewish Museum of Greece
The Jewish Museum of Greece 39 Nikis St., Plaka, tel.: 210 322 5582
Housed in an interesting 19th c. building in the historic district of Plaka, accessible via Syntagma and the Metro, the Jewish Museum traces the long history of the Romaniote and Sephardic Jewish communities in Greece, starting from the 3rd c. BC through WWII and the present day. Initially established in 1977, it collected jewelry, rare books and archives, religious and everyday life artifacts in an effort to preserve and exhibit most aspects of the lives of the Greek Jews. As the collection grew, so did the museum activities.
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The building is of great architectural interest. Only the exterior walls of the original 19th century building were maintained; the interior was completely rebuilt in order to meet the demands of a modern Museum. Three of its four floors are broken into three consecutive levels, of unequal height. All the levels are arranged around a central octagonal shaft, which runs the height of the building, from the basement to the roof. Its glass dome allows natural light to flood through all the levels, while the Museum’s stairway winds round it in an anticlockwise spiral from the bottom up. Following this upward spiral, the exhibition is divided into thematic units, one per level. The visual result is of an interesting and unusual environment, with a lot of angular shapes and structures, all around the central axis of the skylight. An area of 800 sq m houses a collection of more than 8,000 objects, most of them rare religious and domestic artifacts which record the history and tradition of the Greek Jews. Besides the permanent exhibition, there is a temporary exhibitions area, a Contemporary Art Gallery, an educational programs area, a library, a cloakroom, storage facilities, a photographic archive and laboratory, a conservation laboratory, as well as office space.