Thiva has one of the most important Archaeological Museums in Greece, with rare collections of their kind and numerous finds from various historical periods. One of its main features is the medieval tower of Saint Omer, which stands in the courtyard of the museum.
The history of the Archaeological Museum of Thiva
The history of the Archaeological Museum of Thiva begins in 1894. When the old barracks next to the medieval tower was granted to house the antiquities – mainly sculptures and inscriptions – collected from all over Viotia by local antiquaries and archaeologists, that rescued them from smugglers.
Christos Karouzos wrote the first archaeological guide of the museum in 1934 and contributed to the concealment of the antiquities during the period of the Second World War (1940-1944).
After the war ended it was determined that the old building was not sufficient, but it was demolished much later and in its place a new ground floor building was constructed with a portico at the entrance. Some unique finds of his collections, such as the seal cylinders of eastern origin and the amphorae with inscriptions in Linear B script that were found during the excavations of the Mycenaean palace of Thiva, the reliquaries from the Mycenaean cemetery of Tanagra and the ‘black’ engraved columns of warriors contributed to the expansion of the Museum’s reputation as one of the most important in Greece.
The current – third in a row – Archaeological Museum of Thiva, integrating older buildings, started its operation in 2007.
A tour of history and myth
The charming wandering in the world of ancient Thivastarts already from the Museum’s courtyard. The external sculpture gallery exhibits statues, inscribed pedestals, altars, relief tombstones and votive columns, sarcophagi and other inscriptions. Architectural items such as capitals and architraves are also exhibited.
Particularly impressive are the stone lions, often placed in polyandria and in the tombs of prominent citizens, such as the marble lion, symbol of the tomb of the men who died in the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC).
Finally, the tour of Viotia’s past ends with a visit to the impressive medieval tower of St. Omer, a witness to the city’s timeless importance.
Inside the Archaeological Museum of Thiva
In the reception hall the visitor can get to know the history of the Archaeological Museum of Thiva and the excavations in the land of Viotia, through old photographs, archive material, catalogues and excavation objects.
In the Archaeological Museum of Thiva, the history of Viotia from the dawn of civilization and the paleolithic creation up to the Ottoman period is revealed to the visitor’s eyes.