Seeing Visions of Sea Nymphs in Room 17 of the British Museum
Striding through the British Museum on your way to see the famous Elgin Marbles, keep your head down or you’ll be pulled to a stop one room short by a vision: a Greek temple, fabulously intact. You’ll soon discover it’s neither Greek, nor a temple, nor intact, but those facts won’t interfere with your appreciation for the Nereid Monument. Found at Xanthos in southwest Turkey, this is a reconstruction of one side of a tomb, which was built for a ruler named Erbinna. He must have been a fan of Greek design and the sea—the tomb uses Ionic Greek design principles and boasts fabulous statues of sea nymphs called “Nereids.” Take a break, and enjoy this ancient vision of a civilization now gone: Given the Nereid Monument’s timeless beauty, the Elgin Marbles can wait.