• Roma Routes

Greece

The Byzantine and Christian Museum

www.byzantinemuseum.gr

Map of Byzantine Empire

Map of Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens is a national state-owned museum, dedicated to the Byzantine and post-Byzantine period. The museum collection contains more than 30,000 objects, such as icons, sculptures, ceramics, ecclesiastical textiles, paintings, manuscripts, works on paper, minor arts and architectural elements (wall paintings and mosaics). The artifacts cover an extensive time period, from the 3rd through the 20th century, originating not only from the Hellenic territory, but also from the wider Balkan Peninsula, Asia Minor and other areas that once belonged to the Byzantine Empire.

The permanent exhibition of the museum is divided in two main parts. The first part is dedicated to Byzantium (4th – 15th century AD) and contains 1.200 artifacts and the second part, which opened to the public just this year, entitled “From Byzantium to the modern era” presents 1.500 artworks dating from the 15th to the 20th century. The main feature of the exhibition is that, it tries to propose interpretive approaches for the understanding of the exhibits and their integration into the broader historical context of the societies that created them. Organized in themed sections, the ByzantineMuseum’s permanent exhibition attempts, in other words, to communicate with today’s diverse audience and to reach out to new categories of visitors.

On the one hand, there will be an organized attempt to attract, for the first time, to the Byzantine Museum, members of the Greek Roma community, a group of people which, among other parameters that keep them marginalized, are often excluded from access to cultural heritage and wider cultural events. On the other hand, we will enable the other visitors of the Byzantine Museum to learn about aspects of the culture, history, as well as the current living conditions of the Roma, who despite their long presence in Greece, remain an unrecognized population, inherent with prejudices and negative stereotypes.

Within this framework, the Byzantine Museum carried out the following activities during the project:

Greek Roma children in one of the museum's school workshops

Greek Roma children in one of the museum’s school workshops

  • Celebration of the International Roma Day at the BCM – “Roma at the Byzantine Museum. Historical routes and current searches” a series of talks and performances.
  • “Roma at the Byzantine Museum” May 23rd, 2011 – June 12th, 2011  to promote to a wider public of Roma history and culture, and to provide the opportunity to the members of the Greek Roma community to act within the Byzantine Museum, not only as visitors but also as co-organisers of museum activities.
  • Gypsies. Through My Eyes. A photographic exhibition with daily life snapshots, photographed by young Roma living in Nea Alikarnassos of Crete.
  • Young Roma Photographers. Exhibition of photographs by young Roma from Agia Varvara area of Athens, during 1999-2004, within a project that was carried out by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture.
  • Roma fairy-tales: story telling for families as well as to free visitors of the Museum by Sophia Giannioti, historian and actress.
  • Discussion “The Image of Gypsies in Greek Mass Media”. The invited speakers were Ms Ioanna Sotirchou, journalist, Mr Takis Kambilis, Director of Athens 9.84 Radio station, and Mr Manolis Rantis, Director of the Rom Network.
  • Successful training for Roma representatives to become cultural mediators.
Roma storytelling workshop

Roma storytelling workshop

All the cultural activities that the Museum designed and implemented within the Roma Routes project have been recorded and edited for the production of a

digital visual presentation (DVD) “Gypsies at the Byzantine Museum”, with educational and informative purposes.

The museum established a network of the target groups, (school groups, Roma adults etc) for the first time and from the scratch.

To see more photos click here to go to the Greece Gallery

Click here to go back to the Project Page

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