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Museum of Greek Popular Musical Instruments
Museum of Greek Popular Musical Instruments
Small and charming museum near the Tower of Winds in Roman Agora that you can easily miss if you don't know about it. It exhibits, as the name suggests, musical instruments for Greek folk music and popular music like lebetiko. Headphones are installed next to instruments and visitors can listen to sample, often historical, recordings. This little shrine of Greek music is a must for those who like Greek folk music and popular tradition in general.

In the photo above are instruments called lyres (singl. form is lyra). This name came from the ancient Greek instrument with chords, but being different from the ancient version, these are played with bow. The instruments in the photo date all to the 20th century.

Tsambouna and Gaida
These are bag pipe style instruments called either Tsambouna or Gaida. According to the explanatory plate in the museum, this type of instruments was transmitted to Greece from Asia in the 1st and 2nd century, i.e. in the early Roman imperial period.

The instruments exhibited here were donated by Fivos Anoyanakis, founding father of the Greek ethnomusicology. He donated his collection to the State in 1978. About a half of his collection is on display.

The collection is housed in a beautiful mansion built in 1842 by Giorgos Lassanis, hero of the Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Empire and finance minister.

Lecture Hall
The museum is also an institute of ethnomusicological studies and has a library and a lecture hall. It holds lectures, recitals, and music lessons periodically; for more information, please refer to the museum's website listed below.


This is a chordophonic instrument called Kanonaki.

Musician plays this instrument on a table or on the lap laying it flatly as in the photo.


Museum of Greek Popular Musical Instruments
1-3 Diogenous St.
Aeridon Square, Plaka
105 56 Athens
(Close to the Tower of Winds in the Roman Agora and the Gate of Madrassa)
Tel. 210-32.54.119
Free Entrance

Opening Hours
(Correct at the moment of writing in March 2009)

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