The Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos is located north of the lake, at 74 Paleologou Street, a short distance from the town centre. The museum was established in 1970 and houses a rich collection of archaeological finds from Lassithi Prefecture.
In the eight rooms of the museum are displayed archaeological treasures dating from the Neolithic (6000 BC) and Minoan (3000 BC) period to Roman times (1st-2nd century AD).
The impressive “Athlete’s Skull” in Agios Nikolaos Museum
The most impressive of all the exhibits in the museum is the skull of a young athlete from the Roman cemetery in the Potamos area, near Agios Nikolaos.
The skull dates from the 1st century AD and is crowned with a golden diadem of olive leaves.
In the mouth of the dead youth was a silver coin from the city of Polyrrhenia in west Crete, dated to the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius.
According to ancient tradition, the coin was to pay Charon, the ferryman who carried souls to the netherworld (Hades) across the Acherusian Lake.
In the first rooms of the Agios Nikolaos Museum you will see finds from the Minoan cemetery of Agia Photia in Sitia. This prehistoric cemetery, with 260 Minoan tombs, is the largest excavated in Crete so far.
Here were found 1600 vessels, made without using a potter’s wheel, in a style strongly influenced by Cycladic art.
In the second room of the Archaeological Museum are displayed the finds from the Minoan settlements of Myrtos.
Here you can admire the famous clay statuette of the “Goddess of Myrtos”, discovered in the Early Minoan settlement of Phournou Koryphi between Myrtos and Ierapetra.
The “Goddess of Myrtos” was a vessel for pouring libations to the gods. It represents a woman with a very small head, an extremely long neck and a bell-shaped body.
The goddess is embracing an object from which the libation liquid was poured.
The fourth room of the museum is also extremely interesting, as it houses finds from the Minoan Palace of Malia, including the magnificent stone vessel in the shape of a triton shell.
Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos Opening Hours
If you would like to visit the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos, it is open from spring to autumn, daily except Mondays, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It is located north of the lake, at 74 Paleologou Street, a short distance from the town centre.
The Museum is shut in the winter months due to lack of staff.
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