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Benaki Museum
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HOMEPAGE
The Museum building
The Benaki Museum occupies one of the few neoclassical buildings that continue to resist the aesthetic deterioration of postwar Athens. It is located on an exceptionally favourable location in the historic centre of the city, right opposite the lush greenery of the National Gardens and the garden of the Presidential Mansion, and in the same vicinity as related institutions such as the Museum of Cycladic Art and the Byzantine and Christian Museum.

The Benaki Museum building is a complex architectural group with a fairly eventful history.
1895
The initial core is erected of the Benaki building complex, known as the Harokopos Mansion, a simpler structure than the present-day one.

1910
The building is purchased by Emmanuel Benakis in anticipation of his family’s definitive move from Alexandria to Athens.
The exterior of the Benaki Museum before 1930, when it was still the home of the Benaki family. © Benaki Museum, Photographic Archive 1911
The building is enlarged with the addition of a ballroom and some necessary auxiliary areas (architect: Anastasios Metaxas, who had designed the restoration of the Panathenaic Stadium).
The exterior of the Benaki Museum after 1930, with the later alterations made to the building to adapt it to its new use. Photo G. Boukas © Benaki Museum, Photographic Archive 1930
Conversion of the building from a residence into a museum, and to ensure that it would meet the specifications for a Museum, an additional wing was added beside the ballroom (architect: Anastasios Metaxas).
1965
The exhibition areas were enlarged in order to house the historic artifacts of Eleftherios Venizelos in the basement and the collection of Damianos Kyriazis on the first floor (architect: Emmanuel Vourekas).
The carved-wood reception room from a mansion in Kozani (Macedonia), one of the mostly known exhibits in the Museum, as it was assembled under the supervision of the donatrix Helen Stathatos. © Benaki Museum 1968
Further extension of the building to accommodate the exhibition of the major donation by Eleni Stathatou in the basement (architect: Emmanuel Vourekas).
A room in the Dekozis-Vouros Wing. © Benaki Museum 1973
The Stamatios Dekozis-Vouros Foundation financed the addition of a new wing, with halls for lectures, temporary exhibitions and a snack bar (architect: Emmanuel Vourekas).
1989
The large-scale enlargement of the building complex began on the north side of the lot with the addition of a new wing with three basements and five floors, at the level of and over the additions of 1968 and 1973 (architects: Alekos and Stephanos Kalligas).
The Benaki Museum building as it stands today. © Benaki Museum 1997
Completion of the project to enlarge the building, doubling the usable Museum space (7000 m2) which, in addition to the two storage basements in the new wing, is distributed over five unified internal levels.
Inauguration of the new exhibitions of Greek Collections on 7 June, by the President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos. © Benaki Museum 2000
Reopening of the Museum with the new exhibition of the Greek Collections that was officially opened on 7th June by the President of the Republic Constantinos Stephanopoulos.