Athens to honor China-Greece ancient innovations

Herakleidon museum warmed up for an upcoming exhibition of ancient Chinese technology, by this week unveiling: The “Voyage: Greek shipbuilding and seafaring” in Athens.

“Seafaring has formed the Greeks’ character. The spirit of Ulysses still exists in Greeks today. Shipping was and still remains their basic activity. The sea and shipping in particular offer Greeks wealth, vision and a future,” said Eleni Nomikou, the museum’s director.

“Greek ships did not carry only products, but also knowledge and culture throughout our history. Thanks to these vessels Greeks travelled the world, enriched their knowledge and used it to create on this land and give birth to the Greek civilization.”

A total of 35 handmade wooden models of vessels, complemented with works of art, maps, drawings and video projections narrate the history of Greek seafaring from prehistoric times to the middle of the 20th century.

The model of a vessel of the Minoan civilization which flourished from 2600 to 1100 BC, was built based on a mural unearthed on Santorini Island, while for the replica of the early 19th century frigate “Hellas” Maras went through naval architectural designs of her sister ship, the US Navy’s frigate USS Hudson.

The frigate “Hellas” was built in the US, arrived in Greece in 1826 and played a decisive role in the last years of the War of Independence against the Turks.

As the “Voyage” exhibition is set to travel to Cyprus and the US, Herakleidon Museum is getting ready to welcome a remarkable exhibition of the technological and scientific achievements of the ancient Chinese civilization.

“The museum has signed a significant agreement with Beijing’s China Museum of Science and Technology (CSTM) for the exchange of two exhibitions of ancient technology,” Nomikou said.

“Ancient Greek technology will travel to China in October this year, while ancient Chinese technology will be presented in Herakleidon Museum in less than a month. It will stay here for about eight months giving the opportunity to not only Athenians, to see the achievements of Chinese people from antiquity to today in the fields of technology and science.”

The deal was sealed as the two countries celebrate in 2017 the China-Greece Cultural Exchanges and Cultural Industry Cooperation Year as part of efforts to further enhance bilateral ties.

“The two great ancient civilizations, the Chinese and Greek, meet each other through their differences. It is so exciting when one discovers how two different civilizations, two different ways of thinking which progressed in parallel and did not meet essentially in antiquity, how through all this show man’s effort to create and develop when facing the same issues,” Nomikou said.

The exhibition will also include a section on Chinese seafaring. “We will see their efforts in shipbuilding, how different were their vessels compared to the ships constructed by other people and how close they were regarding the key point: Man’s thirst to travel. This is eventually the common element we see regardless of the different ways and techniques used,” said Nomikou.


The Museum Herakleidon is honored and delighted to announce its official collaboration with the China Science and Technology Museum (CSTM) of Beijing, with the objective of organizing and exchanging exhibitions, in parallel, in 2017, which has been declared the Year of Greek-Chinese Friendship.

Beginning in September 2017 and continuing through January 2018, the Museum Herakleidon will host, in its two buildings in Thissio (16 Herakleidon Str. and 37 Ap. Pavlou Str.), the exhibition of the CSTM “Ancient Chinese Science and Technology”, while beginning in October 2017 and running through March 2018, the Museum Herakleidon will present, at the China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing, the exhibition “EUREKA. Science, Art and Technology of the Ancient Greeks”, in collaboration with the Association for the Study of Ancient Greek Technology and Mr. Theodosis P. Tasios, professor emeritus of the School of Civil Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens, as scientific consultant.

The joint goal of the two museums is the strengthening of the relations of the two nations by getting to know and promoting each other’s important cultural heritage.

The China Science and Technology Museum, the most comprehensive museum of science and technology in China, opened in 1988. It is a large-scale science popularization facility for the implementation of the national strategy of invigorating the country through science and education, and for the enhancement of the scientific literacy of the general public through interactive exhibitions, science popularization activities and educational programs. The footprint of the museum is 48,000 m2, with a total area of 102,000 m2, covering an important part of the park “Olympic Green”, which was created for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, to highlight its motto “Green Olympics, Scientific Olympics and Olympics of Humanity”. It comprises five main thematic exhibitions (Science Paradise, The Glory of China, Science, Technology and Life, Explorations and Discoveries, Challenges and the Future). There is also a temporary exhibition area, as well as four special-effect theatres, lecture halls, a number of laboratories and classrooms and other facilities. Composed of numerous building block-like concrete blocks that articulate with each other, the structure of the museum is made to look like a Lu Ban lock or “magic cube”, to symbolize science as an endless process of “unlocking” and “discovering” secrets.

The Museum Herakleidon has been bringing art, education, and culture to the general public since 2004. The inspiration comes from the founders Paul and Anna-Belinda Firos. During the first decade of its operation, the museum focused on the fine arts and organized exhibitions of the works of several important artists (M.C. Escher, Victor Vasarely, Carol Wax, Constantine Xenakis, Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Edvard Munch, Sol LeWitt, et al.). Today the museum has evolved into an interactive center for popularized science. Based on its philosophy of Science, Art, and Mathematics, it provides innovative educational programs for students, teachers and adults, as well as exhibitions of art and popularized science at its two buildings in Thissio (16 Herakleidon Str. and 37 Ap. Pavlou Str.).