Piraeus Archaeological Museum, through its exhibits, reflects the cultural heritage of the city and its strategic importance as a commercial centre of ancient Athens, as well as the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Museum, located between Terpsithea Square and Pasalimani (gulf of Zea), is about 10 minutes walk from the cruise terminal. Adjacent to the museum, a fence encloses the ancient Hellenistic theatre of Zea, where the visitor can also admire the open-air, sheltered exhibition of sculptures (mostly grave monuments).
The museum’s exhibits come from the wider region of Piraeus and include excavation findings, donations of private collectors (like the Meletopoulos – Nomides Collection) and accidental findings. The time frame they cover extends from the prehistoric / Mycenaean times up to the Roman era.
The museum is housed in a two-storey building of a total of ten rooms. From the chronologically themed exhibition, particularly important are considered the 5th and 4th century BC archaeological findings, notably those related to the parallel historical course of Piraeus and Athens.
Swarmed with sepulchral reliefs, this floor excellently presents the perception of death in ancient Greek culture as well as the progress of classic art from 5th to 4th century BC. One of the biggest funerary monuments of the 4th century BC exhibited here is the famous colossal lion of Moschato.
The most imposing exhibit of this floor is by far the funerary stele of Pagharos, a soldier killed in the battle of Chaeronea (338 BC).
The most impressive and important exhibits of the museum, accidentally found near the port of Piraeus in 1959, are presented in two rooms: four large bronze statues – two of Artemis, one of Athena and a Kouros portraying Apollo, the only archaic bronze Kouros in existence – and a tragedy mask that had been hidden for safe keeping in a warehouse during the First Mithridatic War or during the siege of Piraeus from Sulla (87 – 86 BC).
Another room houses a representation of a typical sanctuary of the Classic era, in the centre of which lies the worship statue of Cybele, found in Moschato. The statue is surrounded by some of the most prominent dedicatory reliefs of the museum.