Museo Archéologico Nacional, Madrid of course!

And now let me bring you a big one that is a must to visit while in my beloved Madrid. I have passed by a thousand times over the years, and always got to the library not the museum. As said so much to see and do in Madrid difficult to choose in our time there. However, this time was different as was coming with my young men alone and needed to introduce them to our culture. Therefore, in we went and was super!

I like to tell you a bit or as briefly as possible on the Museo Archéologico Nacional or the National Archelological Museum in Madrid!


The National Archaeological Museum based in the National Library and Museums Palace , a 19C building, which it shares with the National Library and is located on Calle Serrano , next to the Plaza de Colón. It is the main Spanish museum dedicated to archeology. It’s collection is based on pieces from the Iberian Peninsula, from Prehistory to the Modern Age. However, it also has different collections from outside Spain, especially from Ancient Greece, both from the metropolitan and, above all, from Magna Greece, and, to a lesser extent, from Ancient Egypt, in addition to a small number of parts from the Middle East.


A bit of history I like

The project of a National Archaeological Museum was set up in 1862. In that year it was decided to build a building, the National Library and National Palace  at the end of the Paseo de Recoletos, which would serve as the headquarters of the National Library, the National Museum of Painting and Sculpture (better known as the Trinity Museum) and the National Archaeological Museum. On March 20, 1867, through a royal decree, the queen Isabel II signed the creation in a political and social context in which the 1868 revolution was forged.

Its founding collections came mainly from the Royal Cabinet of Natural History (predecessor of the current National Museum of Natural Sciences), to which the funds of the Museum of Medals and Antiquities of the National Library were added, integrated by around 100 000 coins, medals and notches, as well as for a thousand archeological and artistic objects, those of the Higher School of Diplomats, and those of the Royal Academy of History.  on July 9, 1871, the inauguration took place at the hands of King Amadeo I, and at the time it had four sections such as  1st floor- Primitive times, with 2703 objects. 2nd floor – Middle Ages, with 3033 objects. 3rd floor – Numismatics, with 103 096 gold, silver, bronze and lead coins. 4th floor – Ethnography, with 3500 objects from Asia, Africa, America and Oceania.

The new artistic tendencies were imposed in the museography and all the decorative aspects derived from neoclassicism, eclecticism and Art Nouveau were eliminated; the pieces were intended to absorb the attention of the public without the hassle of complementary ornaments. During the Spanish Civil War  (1936-39) the pieces of showcases, pedestals and rooms were removed and, stored in drawers stacked inside a scaffolding, they were stored in a room, leaving only copies of pieces exposed on the walls. Once the contest was over, the post-war period in the Museum lasted until 1951 and was characterized by provisional displays.

A bit on the architecture I like

The 1865 project proposes a rectangular, three-story building, geometric and symmetrical with respect to the central axis of Paseo de Recoletos to Calle Serrano, with a cross inside and superposition of orders. It has four bays, with four pavilions in the corners. On the facade of Recoletos an octa-portico advances where a staircase that ascends from the garden ends, while on the Calle Serrano facade the wall is interrupted with seven spans between columns, before which appears an  access staircase. The arms of the cross and the bays leave room for four courtyards and in the center of the floor a large octagonal space. As for the roofs, they are gabled, and on the central body a 30-meter dome. In the second project the building expands and acquires its current dimensions and, among the changes with respect to the previous one, the number of openings increases. Surrounding the entire complex stands an iron fence 700 meters long, with three gates, two on the facade of Paseo de Recoletos and one on Calle Serrano. The Paseo de Recoletos façade presents an order of Corinthian columns, with a pediment as an auction; on the other hand, the Calle Serrano facade has Tuscan capitals on the first floor and with Ionic on the superimposed colonnade. The center of the facades gathered an outstanding set of statues and reliefs depicting illustrious characters of letters and symbolic arts and representations.

After this rearrangement the museum reopening its doors on  April 1, 2014. The works involved an increase in the useful area, which went from 19 280 to 23 303 square meters, and the space dedicated to exhibition, from 7300 square meters to 9715  distributed in 40 rooms, despite which the number of pieces exhibited in the new installation has not only not increased but has been reduced to 15,500 (although several of them form assemblies, so it can be said that 13,000 units are shown exhibition), compared to 18,000 that were previously exhibited. Likewise, new museum formats were incorporated, such as audiovisual media.

The National Archeological Museum today! Some pictures due to running out of memory on the blog! And I took 26 here Lol!

The museum  now has 40 rooms after its remodeling. It’s collections are exhibited in 12 exhibition modules, these are: Archeology and heritage; Prehistory; Proto-history; Roman Hispania; Late antiquity; Middle Ages; Modern age; History of the museum; Middle East; Egypt and Nubia; Greece and Currency.


The highlighs are the reproduction of the ceiling of the polychrome of the cave of Altamira (Santillana del Mar, Cantabria), in an underground room located under the outdoor garden. It also has one of the most outstanding collections of numismatics at European level, with 300 000 coins.  Among the non-Spanish collections stands out that of Greek vases, mainly painted scenes vases, one of the best in Europe. Although it had since its inception some pieces from the Royal Collection, received through the Museum of Medals and Antiquities of the National Library, and the Royal Cabinet of Natural History, through its successor, the National Museum of Natural Sciences, the great impulse was the purchase in 1874 of the collection of archeology of the Marquis of Salamanca, the most important 19C Spanish private collection in its field, which included 944 of them. Another milestone was the purchase in 1999 of the Várez Fisa collection of archeology. Of the 181 works, more than a hundred were Greek vases, first level and in fact superior in quality to much of the pre-existing collections in the museum.




There you go a nice building and with elevators/lifts to take you to the different rooms as well. There is staff available in all the rooms where you can ask for additional information on the pieces. The display is modernistic fantastic we love it!! And sure to be back.  Again, the National Archeological Museum is a must in Madrid!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official MAN Museo de Archeologia Nacional in English

Heavy loading but worth the wait for a virtual visit ! of MAN: Official virtual visit of MAN Museo de Archeologia Nacional

Tourist office of Madrid on the Museum

There you go  you have it all,now its time to come in and visit it, all worth it I am telling you. My beloved Madrid has a lot more than the Museum Triangle! Enjoy it

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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