Museums & Sights

Museums and Collections

The island’s archaeological importance is highlighted through museums and archaeological collections.

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion houses the most important findings of the Minoan civilization. Treasures dating back from the Neolithic to the Roman Era can also be viewed in the archaeological museum of Chania, Rethymnon, Sitia, Kissamos and Arhanes. In the following years, the new museums of Messara and Ancient Eleftherna are expected to operate, while the museum of Agios Nikolaos is under maintenance. Important local archaeological Collections operate at in Ierapetra, Myrtos and Gazi.

The Historical Museum of Crete offers an overall picture of the history and culture of Crete from the early Christian times to the 20th century, while seasonal exhibitions include subjects of Byzantine or modern art, important personalities of Greece and presentation of historical events. Chania city is home to the Historical Archive of Crete with more than 170 archival collections and the second largest Nautical Museum in Greece, which aims to preserve the great maritime tradition of Crete. The Byzantine Museums of Heraklion, Chania and Rethymnon are also very special venues dedicated mainly to ecclesiastical art.

The war collections and archives intend to commemorate the resistance and struggle of the Cretans against the various occupiers of Crete. The most important of these are the War Museum of Rethymnon at Chromonastiri, the Historical Museum of Vorizia, the Museums of National Resistance at Therisso and Heraklion, the Historical Museum of Keramia, the Museum of Skalidis at Pervolia, the War Museum at Askyfou and the Military Collection of Argyrakis at Episkopi. Additionally, the German Tunnels at Platanias and Makasi Gate at Heraklion Walls are important historical sites.

TipTHE NAVAL MUSEUM OF CRETE MANAGES THE MUSEUM OF ANCIENT AND TRADITIONAL SHIPBUILDING, WHERE THE VISITORS CAN SEE A REPLICA OF A MINOAN SHIP CALLED MINOA. IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES OF 2004 MINOA ACCOMPANIED THE OLYMPIC FLAME TO THE PORT OF PIRAEUS.

Museums and collections that highlight the life and work of great Cretan authors, artists and politicians are met all over the island. Venues dedicated to the life and work of the national leader Eleftherios Venizelos are open to visitors. These include the house where he was born at Mournies, his house at Halepa, the Historical Museum at Therisso and the Museum of Venizelos at village Agios Georgios. A very interesting museum dedicated to the great author Nikos Kazantzakis operates at his birthplace, Myrtia. Moreover, visitors can visit the house, where the great Cretan painter El Greco is believed to have been born at Fodele, and the Gate Bethlehem at the Walls of Heraklion, where objects used for the film El Greco are exposed. Lastly, Viannos houses a museum dedicated to the author Ioannis Kondylakis.

It is worth visiting venues about nature and science, such as the Natural History Museum, the Aquarium of Crete at in Gournes, the Museums of Cretan Herbs and Fisheries of Kolimvari, the Geological Museum of Zaros and the Museum of Chemistry in Chania. Other special museums in Crete are the museum of Classical Vehicles in Exo Lakonia, the Museum of the National Soccer Team and the Museum of Typography in Chania, the Museum of Musical Instruments at Houdetsi, the Wax Museum at Zoniana, the Museum of School Life in Nerokouros and the Museum of Acritans of Europe in Paleochora.

Most museums in Crete are dedicated to the daily life of the Cretans, mainly by exposing objects from rural tradition. Very nice collections are exhibited at the folklore museums of Lychnostatis in Hersonissos, Chania, Vori, Arolithos, Tylissos, Rethymnon, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vainia, Therisso, Gavalohori, Piskopiano, Somatas, Ini, Asites, Handras, Kandanos, Palekastro, Vrahassi, Gavdos, Pefki, Hamezi, Mohos, Spili etc. Traditional watermills in Zakros and Chromonastiri are open to visitors. Similarly, venues related to the olive tree include the Museum of Olive in Vouves, the old oil mill (fabrica) of Arhanes and Vatolakos.

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Folklore Collections

Visitors of Crete may come to contact with the traditions and customs of Crete, through a large number of museums and collections that intend to highlight the folklore and ethnological tradition of the island.

Important collections of bygone eras include utensils related to traditional agriculture, livestock breeding, wedding, christening, birth, architecture, clothing and equipment of traditional Cretan houses. Excellent collections are met at the museums of Lychnostatis in Hersonissos, Chania, Arolithos by Tylissos, Rethymnon, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vainia, Therisso, Gavalohori, Piskopiano, Somatas, Ini, Asites, Chandras, Kandanos, Palekastro, Vrahassi, Gavdos, Pefki, Hamezi, Mohos, Spili and more. Traditional watermills at Zakros and Chromonastiri are open to visitors. Similarly, venues related to the olive tree include the Museum of Olive in Vouves, the old oil mill (fabrica) of Arhanes and Vatolakos.

Special ethnological collections are listed at the Museum of Acritans of Europe at Paleochora and Vori. Maritime and fishing tradition is highlighted at the Naval Museum of Crete and at the Fisheries Museum at Kolimbari. Other notable museums are the Museum of School Life at Nerokouros, the Museum of Musical Instruments at Houdetsi and the Wax Museum of Potamianos in Zoniana.

Art

Travelers of Crete can visit very interesting art collections and exhibitions throughout the year.

Temporary exhibitions of painting, photography and other forms of art are frequently hosted in galleries in Heraklion, Chania, Agios Nikolaos, Panormos and other towns. It is worth mentioning the southernmost gallery of Europe which is housed at Keratokambos and the museum of engravings, named Xotaris, in Arhanes.

Museums and art galleries with permanent collections of utmost importance include the Museum of Visual Arts in Heraklion, the Art Factory Eleourgion in Dromonero, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rethymnon and more. Important collections of wood and stone sculpture operate in Axos, Asteri, Venerato and Marathos. There is also a Wax museum in Zoniana.

Museums and collections that highlight the life and work of great Cretan authors, artists and politicians are met all over the island. Venues associated with the life and work of the national leader Eleftherios Venizelos are open to visitors. These include the house where he was born in Mournies, his house at Halepa, the Historical Museum in Therisso and the Museum of Venizelos at the village Agios Georgios. A very interesting museum dedicated to the great author Nikos Kazantzakis operates at his birthplace, Myrtia. Moreover, visitors can visit the house, where the great Cretan painter El Greco is believed to have been born in Fodele, and the Gate Bethlehem at the Walls of Heraklion, where objects used for the film El Greco are exposed. Lastly, Viannos houses a museum dedicated to the author Ioannis Kondylakis.