Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, where is it? Main exhibits

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Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, where is it? Main exhibits
Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, where is it? Main exhibits

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is one of the most famous cultural monuments in Europe. It is dedicated to the era of the Minoans and their art, which existed many millennia ago. The museum is located on the largest Greek island of Crete in the city of Heraklion.

archaeological museum of heraklion
archaeological museum of heraklion

A little about the culture of the Minoans

The era of these inhabitants begins at the turn of 3-2 millennia BC. It is believed that the people are named after the legendary king of the island of Crete - Minos. It is interesting that the Minoans lived in this small area in huge palaces, interconnected and occupying almost the entire territory of the city. A model of such a structure is presented in the archaeological museum.

Being extremely religious, the inhabitants of the island painted the walls of these palaces with images of various creatures that they deified. Basically, these are bulls - the personification of destructive power, and the Great Goddess - a woman who carried the symbolism of femininity and beauty.

Besides, there are no scenes of wars, battles on the walls. Because in lifeThe sea was of great importance to the Minoans, it was to its distant depths and horizons that they directed their gaze. Ancient artists depicted fish, octopuses, dolphins, various corals and algae on the walls of palaces.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum Crete
Heraklion Archaeological Museum Crete

Unfortunately, later these interesting buildings were not preserved, as they were destroyed due to volcanic eruptions and attacks by Greek tribes. Despite this, the treasures were not taken out of Greece and remained in the city. After many, many years, the excavations carried out there "gave great fruits." Many of the items that were found were sent to the famous archaeological museum of Heraklion (Crete).

History of the Museum

The monument of art dates back to 1883. But while such a museum did not yet exist. There was only a collection of artifacts obtained by the Greek archaeologist Hadzidakis, which was subsequently sent to the archaeological museum of Heraklion, becoming its basis.

The building itself appeared only in 1904. It was small in size and did not last long - it collapsed due to constant earthquakes on the island. Only after 1935, local residents began to restore the former power of the archaeological site on their own. Work on the restoration of the building took place on the site of the earthquake-destroyed St. Francis Church.

The Second World War did not spare Heraklion, but the exhibits that were presented in the museum, fortunately, were not damaged. Therefore, in 1952, the cultural monument, which collected many artifacts, again becamereceive visitors.

A few years later, the archaeological museum of Heraklion was expanded by adding another wing to it.

There was a period already in our time (2006) when the institution was closed for repairs and restoration. Only in 2012, already in an updated version, the building, which stores many archaeological finds, became again available to tourists.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum opening hours
Heraklion Archaeological Museum opening hours

Museum Structure

The architectural monument has two floors, divided into halls. There are 20 such rooms in the museum. They store items collected from all over the island of Crete. On the first floor there are 13 halls, the exhibits in which are distributed in accordance with certain eras. The second floor contains some of the original frescoes of the Palace of Knossos (the oldest archaeological site of the Minoan civilization).

The first hall is a Neolithic, Stone Age room. This is a truly amazing room - its space is occupied by things that have lived for millennia and have survived to this day.

The museum has many rooms with exhibits from the Bronze and Late Bronze Ages (its various eras), up to the Post-Palace period (2000-1700 BC).

Heraklion Archaeological Museum address
Heraklion Archaeological Museum address

Archaeological Museum of Heraklion: exhibits

One of, if not the most important, then the most mysterious expositions is the Phaistos disc, which depicts inscribed ancient writings. They have not yet been deciphered and are of interest to both tourists and scientists. In addition, appointment and timethe appearance of this exhibit is also unknown. Archaeologists consider it a mystery, which can only be deciphered by other fragments of an architectural monument of the same script, which have not yet been found.

The "Bull's Head" made of black soapstone is a masterpiece of culture of the past centuries. The theme with this animal was popular during the Minoan times, so the museum contains many more clay sculptures, paintings depicting the hunt for a bull, as well as games with him (for example, the fresco "Leaping over a bull").

Another most famous figure is a fresco called "Prince with Lilies". It was assembled from several fragments and, despite the past eras of centuries, the exhibit retained its former colors.

A separate place in the museum's exposition is occupied by statuettes and works depicting women. Among them is the famous Parisian fresco, so named by scientists because the girl depicted in the picture would fit more into the culture of Paris with her high hairdo and bright makeup than into the environment of the Greek Minoans. Tourists are also interested in the exhibits "Goddesses with snakes", "Women in blue" and other figures depicting representatives of the beautiful half of humanity.

archaeological museum of heraklion exhibits
archaeological museum of heraklion exhibits

Golden Collection of Greece

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is rich in gold items from past centuries. Here is the single largest collection of gold jewelry in Greece. Minoan jewelers worked simply indescribable miracles with this metal, such products cannot be found in any other monument of art.

The gold figurine “Bees”, unique throughout the Mediterranean, is especially distinguished. It is unique in its shape: two bees carrying honey to the comb.

Miniature brooches in the form of human faces, original gold rings, eyebrow tweezers, needles, pins, mirrors, swords with gold handles and much more are available for tourists to see in the museum.

Other interesting exhibits

The museum contains items that the inhabitants of Greece used as everyday items: clay vessels for perfumes, combs, ivory jewelry and others.

In addition, the monument, which has collected a huge number of archaeological finds, stores a lot of pottery and jugs. Worthy of admiration are the double axes, which are a symbol of the Minoan civilization, as well as clay sarcophagi. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion has a separate room with marble sculptures of various sizes, up to human size.

Particular attention is drawn to the map hanging on the wall, which shows the coins that were in circulation at that time in various cities of Crete. On it you can see the names of all the settlements that were previously on the island.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum opening hours
Heraklion Archaeological Museum opening hours

Archaeological Museum in Heraklion: opening hours

The monument of archaeological art is a favorite place for tourists studying the Minoan culture.

You can see the exhibits almost any time you want to visit the archaeological museum of Heraklion. Listed building opening hours:

  • in the summer from 8.00 to 20.00 - from Monday to Saturday, on Sunday - from 8.00 to 15.00;
  • Winter: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on Mondays, and 8:00 am to 3:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday.

Museum opening hours may vary, so it's best to check on the spot.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum how to get there
Heraklion Archaeological Museum how to get there

Additional information for visitors

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum has the following address: Xanthoudidou Street 1, Ηράκλειο 712 02, Greece. Getting to it is easy, as it is located within walking distance from the city center.

If you still couldn't find the archaeological museum of Heraklion, any local resident or a tourist who comes to the island more than once can tell you how to get there, as the art monument is a very famous place.

The Museum of Minoan Architecture is a place where everyone feels involved in the mysteries of Greek culture of past eras and plunges into the depths of centuries-old history. Every tourist advises visiting this place for those who have again arrived to rest on the island of Crete.

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