Athens is a city with many interesting museums and some of them are among the most important museums in the world, like the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum and the Byzantine Museum. However, two new museums have begun operating in the city and they are willing to offer locals and visitors a whole new experience. Although different, they both surprise with their originality and are beginning to gain their audience. Especially on weekends, they are full of enthusiastic visitors. The first is the Museum of Illusions [left photo] in Monastiraki and the second the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology [right photo] in Kolonaki.
Museum of Illusions [pictured below] is part of the international chain of museums that started in Croatia in 2015. Now it is one of the fastest growing education and entertainment places, with locations in 15 cities around the globe. According to Albert Einstein ” reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ..”. Based on that motto, the Museum of Illusions offers an interactive, immersive and fun experience for all ages. Amusing and awesome objects and tricks will teach you about vision, perception, the human brain and science, so it will be easier to perceive why your eyes see things that your brain cannot understand. The paradox straight lines by Muller-Lyer, the rotating snakes by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a kaleidoscope, a mirror room, 3D paintings, the illusion of the chopped head on a plate, an upside room, or the famous Ames Room (where a person sitting in a corner seems gigantic in comparison with the other person sitting in the opposite corner), are only part of the exhibits that are placed on the two floors of the building.
The museum is hosted in a wonderfully restored building complex in the center of Monastiraki. Apart from the exhibition, the museum has a Smart Playroom where visitors can play, learn and have fun with dilemma games, wooden puzzles and mind games. It also has a Smart Shop where you could buy dilemma games, educational toys, T-shirts, posters and many more things. Usually, on weekends there is a queue outside the museum but they are very well organised and you won’t have to wait long.
Museum of Illusions : Ermou Street 119 (entrance Astiggos 12) Monastiraki – Athens. Open : Monday to Sunday / 10:00 – 22:00. Tickets : Adults: 9€, Children (5 – 18): 6€, Children up to 5 years old: Free entrance, Family Ticket: 23€, Students: 7. For more information visit the official site of the museum.
Museum of Ancient Greek Technology (Kotsanas Museum) [pictured below] is focused on highlighting a relatively unknown aspect of ancient Greek civilisation and proving that the technology of the ancient Greeks, basically produced near the end of the ancient Greek era, was surprisingly similar to the beginning of modern technology. The exhibition consists of approximately 100 operating models of ancient Greek inventions, from the robot – servant of Philon to the cinema of Heron and from the automatic clock of Ktesibios to the analog computer of Antikythera and covers the period from 2000 BC. All were constructed by Kostas Kotsanas, during 22 years of extensive research and most of them are interactive. The reconstruction of the objects the lifework of their creator, who has been based on the study of Greek, Latin and Arabic literature, vase painting information and relevant archaeological finds. The exhibits are accompanied by audio-visual material (in Greek and English) and explanatory labels and posters. At the same building, another project of Kostas Kotsanas, the Museum of Ancient Greek Musical Instruments could be visited on another floor and it is also based on a thorough study of various sources.
The museum is hosted in a restored art nouveau building in Kolonaki, very close to Syntagma Square. It also has a small shop with books and objects related to the exhibits and a small recreation room where the younger visitors could play with replicas of ancient Greek board games.
Museum of Ancient Greek Technology : 6 Pindarou Steet and Akadimias, Kolonaki – Athens. Open : Monday to Sunday / 09:00-17:00. Tickets : € 5, including tour-demonstration of selected exhibits, 3.5 € for youths aged 12-18, free for children up to 11 years old. Also there are organised interactive tours : 10 €/person (the duration of a tour is one hour, reservation is required at least a day ahead and a minimum number of participants are 4 visitors – entrance fee is included in the price). For more information visit the official site of the museum.
Both museums will take you by surprise with their originality. If you live in Athens or you are visiting Athens, they will offer you a highly creative time, as they are very entertaining and educational.