From the bright stillness of its enclosed courtyard to the intimate darkness of the textured interiors, this contemporary structure designed by award-winning architect and painter Kyriakos Korkos, evokes a sense of sanctuary, ideally suited to the exploration of the early Christian era through the middle Byzantine period. The Early Christian Church – itself arranged as a basilica – introduces the visitor to various elements of the church through texts, drawings and photographs. Period mosaics, sculptures and frescoes are placed as they would be in a church throughout. Other primary permanent exhibitions help to create a full picture of the Byzantine era.
The Early Christian City and House exhibit explores the secular public and domestic lives of the early Christians through a period room, artifacts and informative texts. From life to afterlife, the exhibit “From the Elysian Fields to Christian Paradise” reveals the seamless continuity of pagan Roman funerary customs through the early Christian era, re-cloaked in Christian symbolism and iconography.
The culture of the middle Byzantium period is explored through the sculptures, icons, artifacts and jewelry in an exhibition on the Macedonian and Comnenus dynasties. Artifacts of the dynasties of the Byzantine Emperors follow, then “The Twilight of Byzantium: 1204-1453” to complete this experience of both the sacred and secular throughout Byzantium. The museum, awarded in 2005 by the Council of Europe, also hosts periodical exhibitions, currently “The Struggle with Time”, an interactive show focusing on conservation.