Heraklion Archaeological Museum in Pictures

A Fabulous Cultural Heritage from the birthplace of European Civilisation

 If you like the island of Crete and you want to know it in depth, you should not miss the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, one of the most important museums of its kind in Greece and one of the most representative in Europe.

 The Archaeological Museum houses a fabulous cultural heritage, whose remains bring to life more than five and a half millennia of prehistory and early history, from Neolithic times to the Roman era. The world's only collection of Minoan art includes exhibits discovered at archaeological sites throughout Crete: Phaistos, Malia, Zakros, and, of course, the most famous settlement of the Minoan civilization, the Palace of Knossos, located just 6 km south of the center of Heraklion. Many of these remains are true masterpieces: the superbly crafted pottery, the frescoes of Knossos, the mysterious Phaistos Disc, the figurine of the Snake Goddess, the Minoan sacred bull, and last but not least the Malia Bee Pendant, a famous golden artifact that reflects the artistic mastery of Minoan civilization.

 In the museum, you can take a fantastic trip to the past. It is recommended to plan about 3 hours to visit the 27 galleries, which are arranged chronologically and thematically and spread over two floors. The ground floor galleries show the origin and development of the first Neolithic settlements, the evolution to the Bronze Age, the rise of the ruling classes, and the consolidation of palatial power and hierarchy in the Minoan period. You will then reach the first floor, where you will discover the famous frescoes of Knossos, largely reconstructed, as well as the gallery rooms of the historical period around 1000 BC when the first Cretan city-states were established. Sculptures, mosaics, coins, and inscriptions from sanctuaries are exhibited here, covering the historical period from classical Crete to Roman Crete (AD 300). Returning to the first floor, the museum tour ends with two halls dedicated to an impressive collection of sculptures dating back to the 7th century BC until the 3rd AD. A series of busts of Roman emperors indicate the great importance of the island during the era of Roman rule.

 The museum, located in the very center of the city, near Plateia Eleftherias (Freedom Square), was built between 1937 and 1940 by the architect Patroklos Karantinos on a site previously occupied by a Roman Catholic monastery, destroyed by the earthquake of 1856. Recently renovated, the museum building has an anti-seismic structure appreciated by experts and a modern organization of galleries, with exhibition facilities at the highest standards, thus joining the great European museums. The colors and building materials, such as polychrome veined marble, recall Minoan murals that imitate marble cladding. In addition to the 27 gallery rooms, there is also a hall for audio-visual exhibitions, modern laboratories, a cafeteria, and a souvenir shop.

 At the entrance to the museum, you'll find free brochures in several international languages to help you navigate the galleries, but you can also opt for a guided tour with paid guides. And if you want to explore the archaeological sites of the island, it is recommended to visit the Archaeological Museum first, in order to get to know and understand the Minoan culture better. Another advantage is that from the museum you can also buy the entrance ticket to the Palace of Knossos in a package, which will save you from queuing in front of the ticket office, especially in the high season.

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is open all year round. Up-to-date details on opening hours, prices, temporary exhibitions, and events can be found on the official website www.heraklionmuseum.gr

Enjoy our photo album and start your journey through the ancient history of Greece right now!

Food for Thought:

 There is much to see and learn during a visit to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. As this valuable reminder of the transitory nature of life and earthly honors… "Sic transit gloria mundi!" (Thus passes the glory of the world!)

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