© Ministry of Culture and Sports, © Museum of Byzantine Culture
External view of the museum
The Museum of Byzantine Culture, one of the most modern museums in Greece, offers a comprehensive picture of Byzantine culture through its original exhibitions and diverse activities. Its purpose is to collect, protect, study, and present works of art and artifacts, dated to the early Christian, Byzantine, and post-Byzantine period. The artifacts that are kept and displayed on its premises originate from the geographical area of Macedonia and especially from Thessaloniki, the most important center in the European part of the Byzantine Empire after Constantinople.

The museum's collections include sculptures, mosaics, murals, icons, coins, inscriptions, ceramics, manuscripts, minor objects, and glassware. This material comes from excavations in Thessaloniki and other parts of Macedonia, from purchases, donations, and delivery of antiquities, as well as the return of the antiquities of Macedonia, which were transferred in 1916, after the liberation of Thessaloniki, to the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens, where they were kept until 1990s.

Two large private collections have been donated to the museum. Dori Papastratos? collection of Orthodox religious engravings, and Demetrios Economopoulos? collection which comprises mainly icons but also pottery, coins, and minor objects.

Nowadays, the museum?s collections continue to be enriched with purchases of objects, made by the Ministry of Culture or by donations from individuals and institutions.

The museum is housed in one of the most important buildings of modern public architecture in Greece, a work of the architect Kyriakos Krokos, while to the jurisdiction of the Museum is also the monument-city landmark, the White Tower.

Its permanent exhibition covers eleven (11) galleries, which correspond to an equal number of independent exhibition sections. Each illustrates different aspects and periods of Byzantine culture and are organized according to modern museological conceptions, so that each object is not treated as an independent artwork but it is integrated into a set of objects to illustrate aspects of the society that created it.

The first three galleries are dedicated to the early Christian era (4th-7th century). The next three to the mid-Byzantine (8th-12th c.), the seventh to the late Byzantine (13th-1453), the eighth and ninth to Papastratos' and Economopoulos' collections respectively, the to post-Byzantine era (1453-19th century), and the eleventh to the process from the discovery of the ancient object to its exhibition in the museum.

The museum has specialized and fully equipped labs for the preservation of wooden icons, ceramics, glass, bone, metal, paper, mural, mosaic, stone, and marble. Its storage is spacious and functional, shaped according to modern international standards, while there is a special reception area for the excavation findings. The storage and laboratory spaces are housed in the basement, and on the first level of the building; they occupy an area of about 5,000 square meters, almost twice that of the exhibition. The museum also has an amphitheater, space for temporary exhibitions and other activities, and a shop.

The Museum of Byzantine Culture is a Special Regional Service of the Ministry of Culture and operates as a scholarly organization, open to the public, with a broader cultural and educational character. Its activities include the organization of temporary exhibitions of special interest, participation in international exhibitions in collaboration with other organizations in Greece and abroad, the organization of lectures, scientific conferences, modern art exhibitions, and various other cultural events. The museum encourages the entertainment and educational contact of the public with its exhibitions through educational and informative programs and publishes an annual magazine, in which the museum?s activity is presented, as well as short but inclusive (comprehensive) articles, concerning the works of its collections.