The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum, regarded as one of the most
important museums in Europe, is located in the center of
Heraklion city. During the Venetian occupation period the Catholic
Monastery of Saint Francisco used to be in the same place. Until it's
destruction in the earthquake of 1856, it had been one of the richest
and most important monasteries in Crete and had contained great Byzantine
The construction of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum started in
the beginning of the 20th century and was completed by 1940.
Exhibits in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum
On the ground floor of the museum there are 13 rooms open to the
public while on the 1st floor fragments of the original frescos from
the Minoan Palace of Knossos are exhibited. All exhibits in the Heraklion
Museum come exclusively from archaeological sites in Crete. The exhibits
of the museum are arranged chronologically.
As soon as the visitors start
their tour in the Heraklion Museum they can see the evolution of pottery
from the Neolithic period (5000-2500 BC) until the Post-Palace Period
(1400- 1100 BC).
Kamares Vessels |Kamares Vessels
Worth admiring are the
famous Kamares vessels (2000- 1700 BC).
named after Kamares town as they were found in a cave close by.
Vibrant, magnificent colors and representations of Nature characterize
Some of them are known as "egg-shelled" because of
the thinness of their walls and they may be easily compared to
modern porcelain teacups.
Phaistos disc |Phaistos Disc
A unique exhibit of the Heraklion Archaeological
Museum is the clay disc of Phaistos with hieroglyphics and ideograms
inscribed on it.
The inscriptions on the disc run in a spiral
from the edge to the center of it.
The script has not yet been
Snake Goddess |Snake Goddess
are the figurines of the Minoan Goddesses.
These are the
famous "Goddesses of the Snakes"because of the snakes they
Their dresses offer us valuable clues about the fashion
of dress of minoan women.
Bees Minoan Jewel |Minoan Jewels
Other great attractions of
the Heraklion Archaeological
Museum are the golden jewels found in Minoan burial
sites, the mirrors with the ivory handles, the eyebrow hairpins, the
ivory hair combs and the swords with golden handles.
The famous "Bees"
jewel decorates one of the Museum's cases and it is a wonderful
representation of two bees carrying a drop of honey to the honeycomb.
"La Parisienne" Minoan fresco |Minoan Frescos
Finally, the frescos
in the upper floor show in the best way Minoan's love for nature
and the joy of life.
The subjects of the frescos are taken from
everyday life or, more often, from nature. Their colors still
remain vibrant and indelible.
Excellent examples of plastic
art are the Bull's Head made of steatite and the ivory "Bull Leaper".
are to be found throughout the Heraklion Museum's rooms; the double
axe used to be a holy symbol of the Minoan civilization.
The Sarcophagi on display
are mostly made from clay; their elegance, size and simplicity alone
make them worthy of admiration.
Heraklion Museum Opening Hours:
Heraklion Archaeological Museum opening hours
* Article by Helena Kontoyiorgaki - All Rights Reserved