Excellently displayed in a beautiful building, the Byzantine and Christian Museum is far more wide-ranging than you might expect. Exhibits start with art from the very earliest days of Christianity, whose fish and dove motifs can’t disguise their extremely close parallels with Classical Greek objects. There are displays on everyday Byzantine life; reconstructions of parts of early churches (mosaic floors and chunks of masonry, some even from the Christian Parthenon); a Coptic section with antique clothing such as leather shoes decorated with gold leaf; and tombs, in some of which offerings were left, again a reminder of a pagan heritage.

But the highlights are the icons, with the earliest being from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. There are dozens of lovely examples, many of them double-sided, some mounted to be carried in procession, and you can follow the development of their style from the simplicity of the earliest to the Renaissance-influenced art of the sixteenth century. Alongside the icons are some fine frescoes, including an entire dome reconstructed inside the museum.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Greece features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

11 tips for travelling in Greece

11 tips for travelling in Greece

Although the news has been full of negative stories about the financial and immigrant crises which have engulfed Greece in recent years, there are still many r…

02 May 2017 • Nick Edwards insert_drive_file Article
A divided island: a journey through time in Cyprus

A divided island: a journey through time in Cyprus

Cyprus has been a divided nation for over 40 years, but fresh reunification talks have offered hope of a united future. As Cyprus prepares to make history aga…

26 Apr 2017 • Darren Loucaides local_activity Special feature
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month