The Byzantine and Christian Museum, which is based in Athens, is one of Greece’s national museums. Its areas of competency are centered on – but not limited to – religious artefacts of the Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, post-Byzantine and later periods which it exhibits, but also acquires, receives, preserves, conserves, records, documents, researches, studies, publishes and raises awareness of.
The Byzantine and Christian Museum has over 25,000 artefacts in its possession. The artefacts date from between the 3rd and 20th century AD, and their provenance encompasses the entire Greek world, as well as regions in which Hellenism flourished.
The size and range of the collections and value of the exhibits makes the Museum a veritable treasury of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and culture.
The Villa Ilissia, which nowadays houses the Byzantine and Christian Museum, is one of the loveliest buildings erected in Athens during its early years as capital of the newly-founded Greek State.
When Athens was officially declared the capital, in 1834, it was a town of some 7000 souls. Within two years, however, its population had doubled, as the new administrative authorities were installed here and many new inhabitants arrived from all over Greece and other countries too.
Noteworthy among the incomers were Greek and Bavarian civil servants, European philhellenes and devotees of the East, Phanariots and other educated Greeks from abroad, veterans of the War of Independence, and community leaders from the provinces, merchants, entrepreneurs and bankers, together with ordinary folk from all parts of Greece, who flocked to Athens seeking employ or simply a better life.
The Byzantine and Christian Museum library specializes in Byzantine archaeology and art. Its collection comprises some 15,000 books and 280 volumes of journals sorted by subject and searchable by author and title.
As part of its commitment to playing an ever more significant educational role, the Byzantine and Christian Museum began to design and implement educational programmes in 1989.