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Museums

 

Archaeological Museum of Heraklion:

     The Herakleion Archaeological Museum is one of the largest and most important museums in Greece, and among the most important museums in Europe. It houses representative artefacts from all the periods of Cretan prehistory and history, covering a chronological span of over 5,500 years from the Neolithic period to Roman times. The singularly important Minoan collection contains unique examples of Minoan art, many of them true masterpieces.

     The Herakleion Museum is rightly considered as the museum of Minoan culture par excellence worldwide.

The museum, located in the town centre, was built between 1937 and 1940 by architect Patroklos Karantinos on a site previously occupied by the Roman Catholic monastery of Saint-Francis which was destroyed by earthquake in 1856. The museum's antiseismic building is an important example of modernist architecture and was awarded a Bauhaus commendation. The colours and construction materials, such as the veined polychrome marbles, recall certain Minoan wall-paintings which imitate marble revetment. The two-storeyed building has 27 galleries, a gallery for audio-visual displays, extensive modern laboratories, a cloakroom, a cafeteria and a museum shop that sells museum copies, books, postcards and slides.

     The Herakleion Archaeological Museum is a Special Regional Service of the Ministry of Culture and its purpose is to acquire, safeguard, conserve, record, study, publish, display and promote Cretan artefacts from the Prehistoric to the Late Roman periods. The museum organizes temporary exhibitions in Greece and abroad, collaborates with scientific and scholarly institutions, and houses a variety of cultural events.

Lychnostatis museum:

     A visit to this open-air folk museum, whose name implies a traditional little oil lamp holder, is propably the most attractive alternative if you haven't had a chance to explore the “real” inland of Crete. Situated on the cost between Stalida and Hersonissos, it offers an authentic view on traditional life and housing by way of recreating a Cretan village, complete with chapel, windmil and an exhibition on the island's mineral wealth.

Nikos Kazantzakis Museum:

     The Kazantzakis Museum is situated in Varvaroi, approximately 20 km. to the south of Herakleion. It was founded to preserve the work and to record the life of the Cretan writer. It includes some of the writer's personal belongings and those of his family, documents, letters, the first Greek editions of his books, and translations in 49 languages in 54 counties, photographs, busts, works of art, as well as documents referring to stagings of his theatrical works and of novels adapted for the theatre, posters, programmes, models of stage settings and costumes as they have been presented in performances al over the world. There is also radio and television material as well as a collection of press reviews which refer to Kazantzakis and have been published in Greek and foreign newspapers.

     Finally, there is an audiovisual presentation in five languages, Greek - French - English - German - Dutch, to illustrate the development of this universal writer's life and career.

Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon:

     The Archaeological Museum of Rethymno belongs to the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. It has been housed since 1991 in the pentagonal building, which stands in front of Fortezza's main gate.

His exhibits give a diachronic view of the cultural history of the prefecture from the Neolithic to the years of Roman rule. They are presented by chronological units and by excavation sets.

The collections include findings from Minoan caves, settlements and cemeteries, as well as objects of geometric, archaic, classical, Hellenistic and Roman times found in the excavations of important ancient cities.

     The aim of the Museum is to promote the cultural history of the place in the best possible way, so that it is a pole of attraction for many supporters. This includes the organization of periodic exhibitions, educational programs and various cultural events at the Museum.

Historical and Folklore Museum of Rethymno:

     The Venetian building of the Foundation, a historic listed monument of the 17th century, offers the ideal space for the presentation of its collections, while the museum's operation contributes to the protection of the monument. The museum's exhibition grounds (permanent exhibition) extend into five (5) halls and include mainly traditional craft and folk art objects. The aim of the Historical and Folkloric Museum of Rethymnon is to become a modern research and educational center for the rescue of the Cretan folk culture, and with international cooperation it will seek and promote the common values of the peoples that are a universal human heritage.

In Hall I the textiles exhibited date back to the 19th and 20th centuries. They are woven with flax, cotton, wool and silk, belong to different regions of Crete and exhibit great variety in technique and colors. The showcases are distinguished by rugs, parchments, hirams, worms, towels, tablecloths and bedbugs.

     In Hall II objects of embroidery and cloth composition - lace are exhibited. Two embroidered heels of the 17th and 18th centuries. Are typical of the high embroidery art in Crete at that time, Byzantine tradition. In the later embroidery of the 20th century. Presents the work of Rethymniotissa Chrisi Aggelidaki and her attempt to pass the rethymno woven into the embroidery and especially the designs she knew from kilims. The lace has a long tradition in Crete. Ways and techniques for weaving and weaving the thread are preserved up to now and are presented by techniques. Still in Hall II there are specimens of the barefoot accompanying bourgeois dowry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Hall III exhibits baskets and pottery, as well as the ways and tools for making them. The art of basketry is one of the oldest branches of handicraft. The rich nature of Crete gave a variety of materials, such as charm, agaria, willow, the stem of the wheat and others. To create the craftsmen with a few tools, different sizes and basket shapes tailored to the daily needs of the island's inhabitants. The technique varies in different baskets and areas of Crete. In the Prefecture of Rethymnon, known pottery centers were Caroti and Margarites. Representations of the traditional pedestrian "wheel", where the potter manufactures small pots, jars and other large pots, inform the visitor of this art, which has maintained a steady course from the Minoan era to the present day. There are small and large pots, divided into sections. Vessels for water, for wine and raki, special pots for food, oil, livestock and various other uses. The ceramics used in beekeeping are particularly united.

Room IV is dedicated to traditional cultivation and the traditional "Bread" of Rethymno. There are the traditional tools of growing and harvesting the cereal, the tools for grinding the fruit and for kneading and baking bread. Finally, Hall V presents the traditional occupations of the copper worker, the shamrock, the pedestrian and the cutter.

     The Museum also has a room for educational programs, lectures, cultural events, equipped with modern audiovisual media. There is an exhibition of urban folklore entitled "Rethymnon from 1898 to 1913. From the Cretan State to the Union", which presents the political, social and economic life of the city during this period. Museum activities include educational lessons for school groups, exhibitions, lectures and publications.

Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos:

     The Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos was created with the purpose of exhibiting findings from eastern Crete that were then transferred to the Heraklion Museum. The exhibition is not in its final form, but covers a huge period from the Neolithic Age to the end of the Greco-Roman period.

The visitor can observe the timeless evolution of art in the area through representative samples of different rhythms and seasons. Larger and most important ensembles are the grave offerings from the early Minoan cemetery of Agia Fotia near Sitia (3,000-2,300 BC) in the first room and the findings from the palace of Mallia, brought to light by the research of the French Archaeological School, in the fourth room. The most famous object is the funeral vessel known as "the goddess of Myrto".

     The Museum building is rectangular with eight exhibition halls, arranged circularly around a central rectangular and paved patio. In front of it there is a roofed courtyard leading to the offices of the Service (former Command) and to the maintenance workshop on the one hand and to a garden that is in the shape of a frame in the central building. Entering from the main entrance of the Museum in the anteroom, on the left is the ticket office and a book and card shop with the small guard room behind it.

In front of the exhibit halls. The visitor moves to the left and watches the exhibits by excavation sets in chronological order. In the first room are exhibited funerary artifacts found in 1971 at the seaside cemetery of Agia Fotia. This cemetery, the largest in graves of prehistoric Crete and one of the largest in Greece, had at least 260 tombs with over 1,600 vases, some bronze textbooks and many obsidian blades (3,000-2,300 BC). The ceramic-made ceramic vessels follow various shapes and bear witness to both intra-Cretan relations and influences (mainly to Central Crete) and to the Cyclades.

     The Cycladic influences, in fact, are so powerful that we can talk about Cretan Cycladic civilization.

In the second room is exhibited another famous newer pottery group from the important Early Minoan settlement of Fournou Korifi near the village of Myrtos Ierapetra. In this one belongs the most famous object of the Museum "the goddess of Myrto". It is an excellent vaginal vessel (Moon IIb period) in the form of a stylized goddess with a very small head on a tall, thin neck and a crooked body. With the right hand he holds and along with the left hugs a small-sized crotch-like protrusion, a unique fluid outlet from the inside of the vessel.

Archaeological Museum of Chania:

     It is housed in the katholikon of the Venetian monastery of Agios Frangiskos. As an Archaeological Museum it started operating in 1963.

His exhibits give an insight into the cultural history of the prefecture of Chania from the Neolithic to the years of Roman rule. The exhibition is broadly divided into two major sections: In the eastern part are exhibited findings of the late Neolithic period and the bronze (Minoan times). In the western part are exposed antiquities of the Iron Age (historical times). The findings are presented in excavations and by thematic sections. The collections include Minoan finds from the city of Chania, prehistoric finds from caves, Minoan finds from various regions of the prefecture, finds from tombs of the geometric period, findings from the historical times from the city of Chania and from various other prefecture cities, coins, Jewelery (prehistoric and historical), sculptures, inscriptions, columns, mosaics.

In 2000, the interesting collection of Konstantinos, Marikas and Kyriakos Mitsotakis was donated to the Archaeological Museum of Chania. It occupies three small halls in the north and in contact with the church of Saint Francis. The exhibits represent 1/3 of the Collection and their presentation follows a chronological order (end of the 4th millennium BC - 3rd century AD). Includes findings of Minoan ceramics, pottery, stone carving, stucco, jewelery and variations (various items from different regions).

     The Museum has ceramics, metal objects, coins, frescoes, mosaics and chemistry workshops, while for the service of the visitors there is a showroom - shop of the Archaeological Resources Fund in the specially shaped bell tower next to the main entrance.

The aim of the Museum is to promote the cultural history of the place in the best possible way, so that it is the attraction of many visitors. In this context, the organization of periodical exhibitions, educational programs and various cultural events in the museum are included.

Museum of Natural History:

     The Natural History Museum of Crete is housed in the old electrical building of Heraklion and was founded in 1980 at the School of Sciences of the University of Crete.

It includes five Departments: Zoological, Botanical, Anthropological, Palaeontological - Geological and Mineralogical. The Museum is run by the directors of its five departments, who also elect the Chairman of the Board of Directors. The operation and organization of the Museum is governed by an internal regulation approved by the Senate of the University of Crete. The current regulation was adopted by the Senate meeting on 12/6/87.

Since 1985 great efforts have been made initially to create and then to enrich and classify the collections of the Museum.

     Today, the collections of the Museum include samples from Greece and the Mediterranean. A large part of them comes from donations of the personal collections of the Museum's researchers. In addition to the material collected under the research programs, excursions are organized each year for sampling both in Greece and abroad. Today, the laboratories, collections and offices are housed in the buildings of the University of Crete on Knossos Avenue. In addition to the collections and workshops, an important goal of the Museum was the creation of an exhibition space where the public would have the opportunity to get in touch with the museum's collections and to be informed about the natural environment. For this reason, from 1994 to 1997, there were five temporary exhibitions on the natural environment of Crete and the wider Aegean islands.

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Hersonissos, Crete, Greece
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