ATHENS: New National Archaeological Museum will house 125,000 ancient treasures and cost €300 million!

new national archaeological museum in athens

The new National Archaeological Museum in Athens will become one of the most grandest in the world and will cost an eyewatering €300 million!

According to Proto Thema, the new National Archaeological Museum will comprise of the old museum building and a new building, and will be ready in five years.

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Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the internationally renowned architect Sir David Chipperfield will unveil plans for the new museum on February 15.

Although everything seemed like an almost unfulfilled dream because of the many difficulties that arose over the years, the "New Archaeological Museum" project seems to be a tangible reality now after the proposal by the architects David Chipperfield and Alexandros Tombazis.

The difficulties that had to be overcome were multiple.

First of all, the appropriate legislative regulations had to be made by the Ministry of the Environment. The preliminary studies had to be prepared in order to make it possible to prepare a study of the architectural draft. This cost €600,000 euros, which was covered by the family of Irini and Nikolaos Laimos.

125,000 ancient treasures will be exhibited in a doubled space that will be unified and spread, both in the preserved old building - which will also be renovated - and in the new building, with common interior design.

Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni comments: ‘The proposal by David Chipperfield and Alexandros N. Tombazi’s offices illustrates the vision, creates a unique landmark in the urban fabric and is people-centred. It showcases the national dimension of the National Archaeological Museum, which connects it to the global scene. I would like to point out that all the proposals submitted are of high quality, aesthetics and vision, and fully meet the specifications we have set.

‘I would like to thank all those who participated, Greek and foreign architects. We want a museum that is outward-looking, in constant dialogue with society, with a dynamic look towards the future. The expansion of the National Archaeological Museum contributes substantially to the regeneration of the wider area of the historic centre of Athens.’


The first national archaeological museum in Greece was established by the governor of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias in Aigina in 1829. Subsequently, the archaeological collection was relocated to a number of exhibition places until 1858, when an international architectural competition was announced for the location and the architectural design of the new museum.

The current location was proposed and the construction of the museum's building began in 1866 and was completed in 1889 using funds from the Greek Government, the Greek Archaeological Society and the society of Mycenae.

Major benefactors were Eleni Tositsa who donated the land for the building of the museum, and Demetrios and Nikolaos Vernardakis from Saint Petersburg who donated a large amount for the completion of the museum.

The initial name for the museum was The Central Museum. It was renamed to its current name in 1881 by Prime Minister of Greece Charilaos Trikoupis. In 1887 the important archaeologist Valerios Stais became the museum's curator.

During World War II the museum was closed and the antiquities were sealed in special protective boxes and buried, in order to avoid their destruction and looting. In 1945 exhibits were again displayed under the direction of Christos Karouzos and Semni Karouzou.

The south wing of the museum houses the Epigraphic Museum with the richest collection of inscriptions in the world. The inscriptions museum expanded between 1953 and 1960 with the architectural designs of Patroklos Karantinos.

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