Heraklion 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. Karantinos applied the principles of modern architecture to the specific needs of a museum by providing good lighting from the skylights above and along the top of the walls, and facilitating the easy flow of large groups of people. He also anticipated future extensions to the museum. 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 large exhibition spaces, laboratories, a drawing room, a library, offices and a special department, the so-called Scientific Collection, where numerous finds are stored and studied. The museum shop, run by the Archaeological Receipts Fund, 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.
Since November 2006 the museum has been closed for interior renovation. A small temporary exhibition housing the museum’s most important exhibits is on view in a specially designed room on the north side, off I. Chatzidaki St. Exhibits include the Snake Goddesses, the Phaistos Disk, the La Parisienne and Bull Leaping frescoes and the “Ring of Minos”.
Piskopiano Agricultural Folk Museum
Housed in an oil mill of the mid 19th century the building has been restored and renovated by the Society of Cretan Historic Studies and there are presented professional activities of the past as a traditional oil-mill, a cooper’s workshop, a carpenter’s workshop, a forge and other traditional activities.
The Museum has also a rich collection of various traditional instruments and a good collection of photographs from the early and mid 20th century.
The Cretan Open-air Museum “LYCHNOSTATIS” aims to promote the understanding and awareness of the Cretan folk cultural heritage.
Its scope lies on the following themes :
Cretan Folk Tradition and Ethnology
[ life-style in the pre-industrial Crete ( 19th – 20th century ), traditional occupations and customs , living legends , ethnological information e.t.c. ]
Cretan Nature and Environment
[ vegetation , mineral wealth, environmental administrative process ]
Cretan Folk Culture
[ self – taught artists who promote the folk cultural heritage with their artistic work ] .