Nafplio Archeological Museum
Rock&Gem Magazine|September 2021
Bronze Age Jewelry Rival Contemporary Designs
HELEN SERRAS-HERMAN

The historic seaside town of Nafplio is located on the eastern Peloponesse peninsula of Greece. Nafplio (also spelled Nafplion or Nauplio) is accessible via an easy two-hour drive south of Athens. The town is close to the famous Bronze-age acropolis of Mycenae and Tiryns, both recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1999. The citadels are famous for the massive Cyclopean walls, tombs, and the immense collection of Mycenaean gold masks, engraved gems, and jewelry. The Mycenaean Greek civilization flourished during the last phase of the Bronze Age in ancient Greece, from around 1600 to 1100 BC. Several discoveries from that period are on exhibit at the Archeological Museum of Nafplio.

The beautiful old city of Nafplio with its narrow alleys and streets, three Venetian fortresses, sea breeze, and panoramic views, is a favorite place for tourists and Greeks alike. The town became the capital of the first Hellenic Republic from the start of the Greek Revolution in 1821 until 1834. The Venetian castle of Palamidi, built under Venetian rule (1685 to 1715), looms majestic over the old town. I still remember my first visit to the castle with my family as a young girl.

Nafplio’s Archeological Museum is located in the heart of the old town. The massive, three-floor stone building dominates the picturesque Syntagma Square. The building dates from 1713, when Nafplio was governed by Venetian Proveditore Augustino Sagredo, and used as the navy’s arsenal depository.

The museum’s extensive collections are displayed in the building’s two upper floors. Exhibits include objects from the Paleolithic Age, Neolithic times from 6,000-2800 BC, vases and terracotta masks from the Classical period (7th c. BC), and beautiful terracotta female figurines from the later Hellenistic period.

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