The Museum of Marble Crafts at Pyrgos is one of nine thematic museums created by the Cultural Foundation of the Bank of Piraeus.
Together they welcome more than a hundred thousand visitors every year, and they provide remarkable insights into Greece’s cultural heritage with emphasis on crafts and early industrial technology (Other museums are devoted to olive oil, silk, mastiha, watermills, etc). Pyrgos, the most important centre for the art of marble working in Greece, is also a work of art in itself. As you walk through its picturesque alleyways, you’ll come across elegant examples of marble decoration that are the island’s trademark, especially the beautifully carved ‘fengites’ or perforated half-moon windows above almost every doorway.
The Museum of Marble Crafts houses a collection of sculptures by famous local artists, while in the village cemetery you will find several examples of the work of one of the most important sculptors of modern Greece, Yannoulis Chalepas, who was a native of Pyrgos. Not coincidentally, the branch of the nation’s School of Fine Arts related to sculpture is also located here.
The Museum of Marble Crafts at Pyrgos is dedicated to the art and technique of working with marble, a material of particular importance in the architecture and art of Greece from ancient times to today. The permanent exhibition, which is a fascinating introduction to all aspects of this material focuses on the equipment and techniques used on the island before the industrial era and in its early stages. Here you will see up close a notable number of genuine objects – used in homes, churches, kitchens and cemeteries – as well as exhibits showing a quarry, a workshop, and even the assembly and placement of a bishop’s throne. The audio-visual installations of the exhibition makes the traditional methods of quarrying and carving come alive.
In the Museum’s courtyard, along with completed and unfinished marble works, there’s an exhibition of old machinery and equipment, accompanied by characteristic images of the work places themselves. Visitors to the Museum have the opportunity to see large blocks of marble in their natural state, to touch their surfaces and to observe their colour and crystals under a magnifying glass.