Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a museum dedicated to Crete’s ancient past, spanning the time from the Neolithic period to the Roman period, being a period of around 5,500 years.

The highlight of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum is possibly its extensive Minoan collection, being one of the most comprehensive in the world and including everything from sarcophagi to wall art. The Minoan culture is specifically attributed to the island of Crete and immediately preceded the Mycenaean period.

Spread over twenty rooms, the Heraklion Archaeological Museum houses a myriad of archaeological artefacts excavated around Crete, including from Knossos.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum history

The first archaeological collection in Heraklion was created in 1883 when Crete was still under Ottoman occupation. This collection was created by Joseph Hatzidakis and was housed in two rooms in the yard of the cathedral church of Heraklion Town, the church of Saint Minas. When Crete was set free, this collection was donated to the Greek State. The collection grew with donations and findings from excavations around Crete which made relocation necessary.

The first room of the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion was constructed in 1904-1907 on the ruins of the Catholic Monastery of Saint Francis that had been totally destroyed by the earthquake of 1856. A second room was later added and finally, in 1937 the present building was constructed with designs of the architect Patroklos Karantinos.

These designs were innovative for its era and included natural lighting, additional rooms for new findings, a library, and a storehouse.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum today

The museum’s exhibition contains more than 15,000 artefacts, covering a period of 5,000 years, from the Neolithic era to the Graeco Roman period.

The exhibits, collected from excavations carried out in all parts of Crete, come mainly from the prehistoric era and form a valuable record of the artistic, social and economic life of the island during the ancient period.

The permanent exhibits include examples of pottery in a variety of practical yet imaginative shapes, household utensils, tools, weapons and sacred axes, carefully and ingeniously made and frescoes, which, with their harmoniously drawn figures and colourful compositions, give insight into a world characterized by tenderness, vitality, sensitivity and charm, a world which took a simple yet intense joy in life and nature. Highlights include the Minoan statues from Knossos and the Phaistos Disc.

Getting to Heraklion Archaeological Museum

There is a paid car park at the port in front of the old Venetian ship yards that is a 15 minute walk away. The museum is a 10 minute drive from Heraklion Airport.


Heraklion Archaeological Museum

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a museum located in Heraklion on Crete. It is one of the greatest museums in Greece [1] and the best in the world for Minoan art, as it contains by far the most important and complete collection of artefacts of the Minoan civilization of Crete. It is normally referred to scholarship in English as "AMH" (for "Archaeological Museum of Heraklion"), a form still sometimes used by the museum in itself.

The museum holds the great majority of the finds from Knossos and other Minoan sites in Crete.


Heraklion Archaeological Museum - History

The Herakleion Archaeological Museum is a Special Regional Service of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture - General Directorate of Antiquities. Its purpose is to acquire, protect, conserve, record, study, publish, display and promote Cretan artefacts from the Prehistoric to the Late Roman periods. It also organizes temporary exhibitions in Greece and abroad, collaborates with scientific and scholarly institutions, and houses a variety of cultural events.

Xanthoudidou St. and Hatzidaki,
71202, Iraklion, Crete
Greece (HELLAS)

Telephone: +30 2810 279086, +30 2810 279000
Fax: +30 2810 279071
Email: [email protected]
Website: odysseus.culture.gr/h/1/ eh155.jsp?obj_id=3327

From the 1st of November 2016 until the 31st of March: 5€
From the 1st of April 2016 until the 31st of October:
Full: €10, Reduced: €5
Special ticket package (Heraklion Archaeological Museum and Knossos): Full: €16, Reduced: €8
The special ticket package is valid for 3 days.
Information on admission fees, holidays, special days etc


How to Reach Heraklion Archaeological Museum

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  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum Address: Xanthoudidou Street 1, Iraklio 712 02, Greece ‎, Crete
  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum Contact Number: 30-2810279000
  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum Timing: 08:30 am - 08:00 pm
  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum Price: 4 EUR
  • Best time to visit Heraklion Archaeological Museum(preferred time): 01:30 pm - 08:00 pm
  • Time required to visit Heraklion Archaeological Museum: 02:30 Hrs
  • Try the best online travel planner to plan your travel itinerary!

74.26% of people who visit Crete include Heraklion Archaeological Museum in their plan

59.2% of people start their Heraklion Archaeological Museum visit around 1 PM - 2 PM

People usually take around 2 Hrs 30 Minutes to see Heraklion Archaeological Museum

83.5% of people prefer to travel by car while visiting Heraklion Archaeological Museum

People normally club together Palace Of Knosos and Archanes while planning their visit to Heraklion Archaeological Museum.


The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion

You can’t fully understand Crete if you haven’t visited the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. It’s as simple as that. Housing antiquities covering 5,500 years of history, from Neolithic to Roman times, it most famously includes many of the treasured objects of Europe’s oldest civilisation: the bull-leaping, snake-holding, literacy-busting Minoans.

Recently renovated, it is one of the most important museums in Greece, with displays from archaeological sites from all over Crete – Phaistos, Malia and Zakros among them. And, of course, the best-known settlement of the Minoan civilisation, Knossos Palace, just 13km up the road. Set over two floors and 27 galleries, you’ll piece together a unique cultural heritage.

From the ground-floor galleries highlighting the rise of the ruling classes and the consolidation of palatial power and hierarchy in Minoan times, you head up to the famous Knossos frescoes, as well as the rooms of the Historic Period – from 1000 BC, when the first Cretan city-states were created. The displays here include sculptures, coins and inscriptions from sanctuaries from Classical to Roman Crete (300 AD).

Returning to the ground floor, the display ends with two rooms dedicated to a collection of sculptures that are amongst the oldest in Greece, from the 7th century BC to the 3rd century AD. A series of portraits of Roman emperors indicate the island's importance during Roman times.


Virtual Tour of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Snake Goddess

This 3,500-year-old figurine depicts a woman with bare breasts holding a snake in each of her raised hands. It was found at a Minoan archaeological site in Crete.

At the Palace of Knossos by archaeologist Arthur Evans and dated to the Minoan civilization, c. 1700–1450 BCE.

It was Evans who called the figurine a “Snake Goddess,” since then, it has been debated whether the statuette depicts a priestess or a deity.

A number of these types of figurines have been found in house sanctuaries. They appear to be “the goddess of the household.”

Phaistos Disc

The Phaistos Disc is a disk of fired clay from the Minoan palace of Phaistos on the island of Crete, possibly dating to the Minoan Bronze Age in the second millennium B.C.

The disk is covered on both sides with a spiral of stamped symbols featuring 241 tokens, comprising 45 distinct signs.

The symbols were made by pressing hieroglyphic “seals” into a disc of soft clay, in a clockwise sequence spiraling toward the center of the disk.

Its purpose and meaning, and even its original geographical place of manufacture remain disputed, making it one of the most famous mysteries of archaeology.

The Phaistos Disc has captured the imagination of archaeologists, and many attempts have been made to decipher the code behind the disc’s signs.

Bull-Leaping Fresco

The Bull-Leaping Fresco is a restored stucco painting situated initially on the upper-story portion of the east wall of the palace at Knossos in Crete. The fresco is one of a few surviving depictions of the act of jumping over bulls.

The Bull-Leaping Fresco depicts three individuals, two women one at the front, one at the back, and a male youth shown balancing on the bull. The techniques employed and the reasons for the ceremony remain obscure.

The gender of the individuals is identified according to the Minoan art convention of painting women with pale skin and men with dark skin. Their clothes and jewelry identify the participant’s high status.

The bull is shown in what is called the “Mycenaean Flying Leap,” which means it is in full gallop. The artist has shown the bull’s body in an elongated form with extended legs to indicate movement.

Ladies in Blue – Minoan Fresco

Minoan Fresco of the Ladies in Blue depicts the women in the open blouse that was typical in the later Minoan Culture. Their skirts would have begun at the waist, were flounced, and of many colorful patterns.

These fresco fragments were discovered during the excavation of a Minoan site in Crete by the British archaeologist Sir Arthur John Evans.

They were uncovered in the west wing of the Palace of Knossos. The fresco was later significantly restored by Swiss artist Emile Gilliéron and his son, Emile, as the chief fresco restorers at Knossos.

The three white-skinned ladies with narrow waists and coiled hairstyles in this fresco are wearing form-fitting dresses that were low-cut and exposed their breasts.


Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.

Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.

Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.

The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.

During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.

The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.

From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.

The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.

Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.


Heraklion Museum

Clay tablet found at Phaistos with early writing which resembles hieroglyphic signs. Several symbols are grouped in a spiral manner between lines on both faces of the disk. The script has not been deciphered to date. Visit the palace of Phaistos

Protopalatial Period, diameter 10.8 - 10.5 cm

The famous statuette found at Knossos depicts a snake goddess or a high priestess. Made of clay, with raised arms which make the idol appear animated. The dress is typical of Minoan attire.
Found at Knossos.

Neopalatial Period, 29.5 cm high (11 5/8")

Links to other snake Goddess statues:
Michael C. Carlos Museum
Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Carved out of Steatite with gilded horns, with eyes made of red jasper, and white shell or marble for the line around the nostrils. Found at Knossos.

Neopalatial Period, 30.5 cm high (12")

Carved of Steatite (brown, greenish soapstone). The low relief was probably covered with gold leaf and depicts a group of joyous harvesters returning from an olive grove. See more at the Minoan Art Page. Found at Agia Triada near Phaistos. Read more about this Harvester Rython

Neopalatial Period, 11.3 cm high (4.5")

Cast gold with gold granules soldered on the surface.
Found at Chrysolakos at Malia. The two bees arranged symmetrically around a drop of honey. Read more about Minoan metalworking

Protopalatial Period, 4.6 cm high (1 13/16")

Fresco from Knossos depicting a running bull an three acrobats performing. To the left a woman holds the running bull by its horns, while a man balances on the animal's back (perhaps drawn in mid-air as he leaps), and behind the bull another woman stands as if she is about to catch the leaping man, or as if she has just landed from her own leap. Read more about Minoan wall paintings


Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion Archaeological Museum, located in the city centre, is one of the largest and most important museums both in Greece and Europe. The building was constructed between the years 1937 – 1940 by the architect Patroklos Karantinos. The modern building, symbol of modernist architecture is awarded by Bauhaus. Its foundations lies on the remnants of the Roman Catholic monastery of Saint-Francis which was destroyed by earthquake in 1856. It consists of 27 halls in two storeys.

The permanent collection houses representative artifacts from Cretan Prehistory and History, covering a chronological span of over 5,500 years. Most objects date to the so-called "Minoan period", named after the island's mythical king, Minos. Pottery, carved stone objects, seals, small sculpture, metal objects and of course the famous wall-paintings are displayed on museum's expanse. The museum, beyond the chronological grading, follows an extrovert narration with social, ideological and economic aspects with a strong focus on religious and ceremonial practices and daily life.

Minoan art is worldwide known mainly from the follow excavation findings: Figurines of Snake Goddesses, the Bull's head Rhyton, the gold Bee Pendant, the Hagia Triada Sarcophagus, Kamares Ware vases, the Linear B tablets from Knossos and the enigmatic Phaistos Disc.


Heraklion Archaeological Museum

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a museum located in Heraklion on Crete. It is one of the greatest museums in Greece [1] and the best in the world for Minoan art, as it contains the most notable and complete collection of artefacts of the Minoan civilization of Crete

The museum began in 1883 as a simple collection of antiquities. [ citation needed ] A dedicated building was constructed from 1904 to 1912 at the instigation of two Cretan archaeologists, Iosif Hatzidakis and Stefanos Xanthoudidis. After three destructive earthquakes in 1926, 1930, and 1935, the museum nearly collapsed. The director of the Heraklion Museum was then Spyridon Marinatos, who made great efforts to find funds and persuade the locals and the central government alike that a new solid building was needed. In 1935, Marinatos succeeded in engaging Patroklos Karantinos to build a sturdy structure that has withstood both natural disasters and the bombing that accompanied the German invasion in 1941. Although the museum was damaged during World War II, the collection survived intact and again became accessible to the public in 1952. A new wing was added in 1964.

The Herakleion Archaeological Museum is one of the largest and most important museums in Greece, and among the most important museums in Europe. It houses representative artifacts 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 Heraklion Museum is rightly considered as the museum of Minoan culture par excellence worldwide.

The museum is located in the town centre. It 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. There is also a café.

Most of the museum was closed for renovation from 2006 and reopened in May 2013. [2]

The Heraklion 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.


Watch the video: Heraklion Archaeological Museum 1