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In the historical centre of Athens, in a complex of neo-classical buildings, is located the Benaki Museum which houses a unique exhibition of Islamic art collections and examples of all its local variations from as far as India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, North Africa, Sicily and Spain. The Benaki Museum of Islamic art ranks among the most important in the world.
Admire more than 8,000 works of art, including ceramics, gold, metalwork, textiles and glass, smaller groupings of bone objects, inscribed funerary steles and weaponry, as well as the marble-faced interior of a reception room from a 17th-century Cairo mansion. The collections present the evolution of Islamic civilization from the first appearance to the 19 century.
The most important artifacts of the collection are the two carved wooden memorial door panels from 8th century Mesopotamia as well as the unique reed wat from 10th-century Tiberias, the small brass box bearing the signature of Ismail ibn al-Ward al-Mausili dated 1200, the bronze astrolabe of Ahmad ibn al-Sarraj dated 1328/29, and the famous 16th century velvet saddle from Bursa.
The first artifacts have been collected by Antonis Benakis in Egypt at the beginning of the 20th century. Similar collections from Europe and America complete the Benaki Museum collection.
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