Every nation is buying real estate in Athens. They want a piece of the pie desperately. “A dream among splendid ruins…Strolling through the Athens of Travelers, 17th-19th century” tries to explain this fascination. The exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum the summer of 2016 presented paintings and engravings from the Hellenic Parliament Library. The National Archaeological Museum retrieved from their storeroom brilliant ancient Greek antiquities.
The “new temporary exhibition was designed to provide an imaginary stroll through monumental Athens between the 17th and 19th centuries…the formation of the first private archaeological collections and archaeological museums in Europe, as well as the dark side of traveling- the “mania’ for antiquities and their plundering, both of which increased the awareness of the newly formed Greek state and led to the formation of a national policy for the protection of antiquities and creation of archaeological museums…the approaching anniversary in 2016 of the National Archaeological Museum will celebrate 150 years since its founding.”6
The Greek staff showed me major points of the exhibit. Their love for their roots got its point across, more than having a transplanted member of the European Union. I was fascinated by the Varvakeion Athena found in 1880. Scenes of old Athens were amazing. Aphrodite and Hermes statues were impressive.
Statuette of Aphrodite, Theseion, 1904.
Today, Athens is like New York City. I felt I was “Diogenes with a lamp” searching for a Greek. The real estate is owned by persons from all countries, who stress the importance of English as the international language. Seeing “A dream among splendid ruins…Strolling through the Athens of Travelers, 17th-19th century” gave the tourist a perception of the Greek roots of Athens, that is a magnet to all.
- Georgakarakos-Lagogianni and Koutsogiannis, Thodoris, eds. Strolling Through the Athens of Travelers 17th-19th Century (Access Graphic Arts S.A.:2015), p.25.