January 7, 2014

Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities

Stockholm, with over 85 museums, has one of the world's highest museum per capita ratios. From modern art to postage stamps and from Viking history to alcoholic spirits... there really is a museum for every interest. You would think that I must have already visited all 85+ museums, but there are still many of the smaller museums that I haven't been to yet. Bad Concierge! So, as my New Year's resolution, I will be attempting to visit more of these museums in Stockholm  (and then writing about them here).
First up is Medelhavsmuseet (Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities) which is part of the group National Museums of World Culture in Sweden, which also includes the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities and Museum of Ethnography among others. This museum, as the name suggests, is dedicated to the ancient history of the cultures surrounding the Mediterranean and in the Middle East... Greek, Roman, Estrucean, Phoenician, Egyptian, Assyrian and more. Obviously, this museum doesn't have the scope or size of similar, larger museums in Rome, Cairo, Athens or even London (British Museum). But it is definitely worth a visit, especially if you are interested in this subject matter and have gotten your fill of Vikings, Vasa and ABBA.
The museum has a small, permanent collection of Ancient Greek and Roman art... including some impressive busts and painted amphorae as well as gold jewelry. I have been to many museums dedicated to Ancient Greece and Rome and I don't ever think I have seen such a well preserved golden laurel wreath before.
This season's exhibition is dedicated to the island of Cyprus, which was quite a crossroad for many cultures. What makes this exhibition especially interesting, in my opinion, is its connection with Sweden... almost all of the artifacts on display come from Swedish Cyprus Expedition, which took place in the late 1920's. The expedition excavated at over 20 locations across the island and made some terrific discoveries. This collection is actually the largest one of its kind outside of Cyprus.
The museum's exhibition on Ancient Egypt is closed during the winter for renovations & rehanging and will open in the spring, bigger and better than before. Guess I will have to revisit then! As this is a smaller museum, the entrance cost is less than at other museums (only 60 SEK for adults, free with the Stockholm Card). It is centrally located in the downtown area near the Royal Opera House. To get there from the Rival Hotel, it is either a 25 minute stroll through Gamla Stan or else an easy 10 minute bus ride.

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