The establishment of Athens as a city dates back to mythological times. Despite the length of the city's history, it is still evident throughout Athens in the form of many Ancient, Roman, Byzantine and Modern monuments. Today's capital is a result of integration of ancient and medieval history into the contemporary era.
Museums operating in Athens can be divided in two categories. On the one hand, there are the important institutions hosting world treasures from antiquity and the Byzantine era. These include the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine Museum. Next to them, there are a number of state thematic museums.
The visual arts enjoy a big share in the Athenian cultural and everyday life. Next to big institutions such as the National Gallery and the Benaki Museum, a big number of small private galleries are spread within the city centre and the surrounding areas, hosting the works of contemporary visual and media artists. In recent years a number of bar galleries have sprung up.