The Benaki Museum of Islamic Art is located in the heart of the Greek capital city of Athens, and has become a popular destination for visitors from various nationalities and religions. Its collection spans four floors and is considered one of the most important museums in Greece. The museum was opened just prior to the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 and houses the collection of Antonis Benakis, a Greek merchant who lived in the city of Alexandria, Egypt almost a hundred years ago.
The exhibits are displayed in chronological order stretching from the Umayyad era and to the end of the Ottoman Empire, and with every floor the visitors ascend, the detail and elegance of the artifacts increase.
Visitors often note that the gold jewelry on display is of the highest class, and how the embroidered images in the textiles collection are evidence of the mingling of different peoples under an Islamic state. The artifacts also signify how Muslim society was class oriented during the Abbasid era and the surgical instruments displayed also suggest a high level of professionalism and precision.
The exhibit that draws the most visitors is most likely the marble display from the Mamluk era, which occupies a large portion of the second floor. The refined carvings and magnificent inscriptions glimmer with color, which suggest that their relocation and restoration took much time and effort.