Dive into the Cretan past​

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is one of the oldest and most important museums in Greece, and among the most famous museums in Europe. It houses representative artefacts from all periods of Cretan prehistory and history, covering a chronological span of over 5,500 years from the Neolithic period to Roman times. The Heraklion Archaeological Museum prides itself for its unique Minoan collection, which includes the masterpieces of Minoan art. It is rightly considered as the Museum of Minoan Culture par excellence.

Located in the town center, it was designed by the architect Patroklos Karantinos and was built between 1935 and 1958 on a site previously occupied by the Venetian monastery of Saint-Francis which was destroyed by earthquake in 1856. The ruins of the monastery are visible in the museum’s garden.

The Museum building is an important example of the Greek Modernist style of architecture. The colours and building materials used, along with the multicoloured veined marble, are reminiscent of the painted imitation marble revetments of the Minoan palaces. The two-storey building includes extensive exhibition rooms, an audiovisual media room and laboratories. The Museum also has a vestibule, a gift shop leased from the Archaeological Receipts Fund, and a cafeteria in the garden.

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a Special Regional Service of the Ministry of Culture. Along with the permanent exhibition, the museum organizes temporary exhibitions in Greece and abroad, creates and implements educational programs, collaborates with scientific and scholarly institutions, and houses a variety of cultural events.

Ancient Theatre of Aptera in Chania

The theatre of Aptera is situated close to the south-eastern entrance of the ancient city, in a natural cavity, facing the South and overlooking the White Mountains. The theatre is built with fossiliferous limestone and today three main building phases can be distinguished. The earliest phase determined the Hellenistic period (3rd century BC). The theatre underwent a full refitting in the Roman period in order to adjust to the new viewing needs.

Emerging cities: Aptera – Eleutherna – Knossos

The Museum of Cycladic Art, the Regional Services of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports (Ephorates of Antiquities of Chania, Rethymno, and Heraklion) and the Region of Crete  co-organized the exhibition entitled “Crete. Emerging cities: Aptera ― Eleutherna ― Knossos. Three ancient cities revived” from 12 December 2018 to 30 April 2019. It was a multi-faceted exhibition with rich audio-visual aids, including screens, maps, and innovative technologies. The exhibition focused on three of Crete’s one-hundred cities, according to Homer (hekatompolis), and their common characteristics: their establishment, acme, decline, destruction, abandonment, and demise. Cities with centuries-long history, cities that were abandoned and forgotten, but are also tangible examples of archaeological investigation using similar or different approaches. The exhibition comprised approximately 500 artefacts dating from the Neolithic (7th-6th millennium BC) to the Byzantine period (8th century AD), some newly discovered, others from old excavations, most of them never presented to the public before: statues, reliefs, figurines, inscriptions, vases, weapons, jewelry, coins, and other artefacts of various materials—limestone, marble, clay, metal (bronze, iron, silver, and gold), faience, glass, ivory, and semi-precious stones. It was the first time that so many artefacts leave the storerooms of the Antiquities Ephorates and display cases of the museums of Crete for a temporary exhibition in Athens.

Historical Museum of Crete

The Historical Museum of Crete was founded in 1953, and is housed in a neoclassical building of exceptional architectural merit. It tells the story of seventeen centuries of local history and culture, from the early Christian centuries up to modern times. Byzantine art and culture, the periods of Venetian and Ottoman rule, the age of revolutions on the course to union with Greece, World War II, the Battle of Crete and the Resistance, as well as Cretan rural folk culture are all highlighted via selected exhibits combined with a wealth of visual material and multimedia. The finest exhibits are two El Greco paintings, The Baptism of Christ (1569) and View of Mt. Sinai and the Monastery of St. Catherine (1570), the only works by the artist now on Crete. The Nikos Kazantzakis is in a special collection including personal effects and manuscripts by the Cretan writer. Visits begin at a separate section featuring a large mock-up of mid-17th century Chandax (Heraklion).

Culture - Agios Nikolaos Crete

From the famous Spinalonga island to traditional summer festivals in the mainland, Agios Nikolaos is full of cultural surprises.

Presentation of Eleutherna Museum

The Museum of ancient Eleutherna – Homer in Crete, the first archaeological site museum in Crete, although smaller in size, is similar to those of Olympia, Delphi, and Vergina

Unravelling Ariadne’s thread

Unraveling Ariadnes’ thread …… Ariadne’s thread travels us in time and unravels in the labyrinth of the old city of Heraklion.

The Venetian Walls in Heraklion

Heraklion, the Venetian city Walls, a unique monument in the eastern Mediterranean basin.

5+1 civilizations in Heraklion, Crete

Heraklion, «where Crete begins», Discover all 5+1 civilizations that make Heraklion truly unique, so full of experiences that you will wholeheartedly enjoy all year round.

Typography Museum, Chania

The first Museum of Typography in Greece is located in Chania, Crete, in the heart of the Mediterranean sea. It is a private initiative by Yannis Garedakis, founder of the newspaper “Haniotika nea”, with the support of his wife Eleni. He has been collecting, for more than thirty years, machines and other exhibits that mark the evolution of European typography.

Since it’s opening in 2005 to this day, the museum has continuously enriched it’s collections, widened it’s field of interest and expanded it’s premises to cover every aspect of the art that was born in the 15th century in Gutenberg’s workshop and literally changed the course of history.

The Museum of Typography started its operation as a small private collection, next to the printing facilities of the newspaper “Haniotika nea”, to which it belonged until 2015.

In April 2012, it was expanded to a new wing with exhibits related to the evolution of the graphic arts as well as two special exhibitions related to the evolution of typography and the history of writing.

In 2015 another exhibition room with rare publications (16th – 19th century) that connect the history of printing to the local history of Crete was added and today the Museum is developed in two large wings, two exhibition rooms, its remarkable library, a bright amphitheater with a capacity of 80 seats, a museum shop and a coffee shop, covering a total area of approximately 1,200 sq.m.

The Museum is a member of the Association of European Printing Museums (AEPM), of the International Association of Printing Museums (IAPM) and of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH), a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.

In 2016 the Museum of Typography had the honor to be nominated for the distinguished prize “European Museum of the Year Award 2016“, (EMYA 2016) awarded by the European museum Forum (EMF), under the auspices of the Council of Europe.

The Museum of Typography is a modern and unique museum  that presents to all guests the history of printing and typesetting. Through the interactive  tour, guests come to understand the course of typography from middle ages up to the present days. During the tour all visitors are encouraged to print at printing presses of the 19th century.

Alongside, the museum organises and hosts cultural events all year long, such as conferences, book presentations, theatrical plays, musical events, and an annual international poster contest about typography. The winning posters are presented at a poster exhibition, at the amphitheatre of the museum, for a year.

Greek National Football Museum, Chania

Museums & Theme Parks in Chersonissos

Ephorate of Antiquities of Heraklion

Venetian fortress “ROCCA A MARE | KOULES”

The haven of Heraklion was probably already in use as a fortified harbor during the Hellenistic period. It was protected by a windward breakwater from the NW and a leeward breakwater from the South. At the eastern edge of the windward breakwater there was a beacon-tower, which was probably reconstructed, along with the rest of the fortification enceinte, in the 7th or 8th c. A.D., to confront with the Arab threat. It was probably the same tower which the Venetians called Castellum Communis; they only altered its upper part by enlarging the battlement area, according to the western tradition, as one can see on the sketch made by Christoforo Buondelmonti in 1415. A smaller tower, at the edge of the leeward breakwater, depicted on engravings of the 15th c., completed the defense of the harbor’s entrance, at least from the Venetian period on. Castellum Communis was badly damaged by the earthquake of 1508; in 1523 it was decided to be demolished and replaced by a fortress designed according to the principles of the bastioned defensive system (fronte bastionato), following thus the general planning for the city’s new fortification enceinte, which was already decided to be constructed in 1462. Respectively, a much smaller fortress seems to have been constructed at the edge of the leeward breakwater, as one can judge by the wooden scale model of the harbor of the year 1614 which actually lays in the Museo Storico Navale of Venice; the small fortress was demolished in 1936. The construction of the large fortress begun before 1525. Since the new building was much larger, the existing rocky foundation had to be enlarged. To achieve that, old ships loaded with rocks and stones transferred from the island of Dia and the quarry of Fraskia in the gulf of Palaiokastro were plunged. A small strong spear-shaped mole (sperone), provided with ship-bindings, was created at the northern side. On the NW side a breakwater (porporella) was constructed. The new fortress was called Castellum a Mare (sea-fortress) or Rocca a Mare (rock in the sea). For the construction a large amount of limestone was used, either reused material of the Hellenistic fortifications or from the nearby lime quarries. The construction was completed by the year 1540, nevertheless it suffered constantly by the sea-weaves, a fact that forced the Venetians to plan successive restorations. The difficulties and the problems as well as the constant suggestions for alterations never stopped until the break of the Ottoman siege, during which the fortress was easily defeated.

After the capture of the city in 1669, the Ottomans made alterations to the fortress, which they called “the Fortress of the Water” (Su Kulesi); this name prevailed until our days (Kules), its original Venetian name being forgotten. The southern side, which had collapsed due to the canon shuts, was reconstructed and the original straight parapet of the upper terrace was raised, along with the surrounding corridor, and it was crowned with battlements. At the southern side a mosque with a minaret was constructed. In 1864 the beacon of the fortress was reconstructed by the French Company for the Ottoman Beacons. Several repairs took place during the period of the Cretan State as well as after the unification of Crete and Greece in 1913.

Wall-paintings in Cretan churches

Artistic evolution in Crete ceased abruptly after the Venetian conquer in 1211, since the island became isolated from the artistic centers of the Βyzantine Empire. In the period that followed local artisans remained focus to the archetypes of the past. Under these circumstances, the archaistic and usually provincial character of the Cretan wall-painting of the first period of the Venetian occupation is easily explicable. This style survived until the third decade of the 14th c., when the Cretan painting knew a new revival under the influence of the Palaiologan Renaissance.
The gradual penetration of this new tendency and its further evolution, eased by the immigration of Constantinopolitan artisans to Crete due to the ottoman threat, leaded into an accession of the artistic level and formatted the specific character of the artistic vague that was described under the term “Cretan School of Painting”. This high-quality painting is encountered in a series of churches, usually related to educated clergymen or wealthy donors, from the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th c. onwards.

Digital Museum of Ierapetra (Application)

The Digital Museum of Ierapetra is an attempt of the Municipal Authority to show the historical and archaeological monuments as well as to present the natural environment of the municipality area. As part of this effort, we created this app that aims to guide visitors in the points of interest of our municipality.

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