Sunday, September 25, 2016

Heraklion Archeological Museum

The Heraklion museum, one of the finest  in Europe, is rich in exhibits and extremely interesting. It requires more than one visit to absorb all that beauty and knowledge displayed within its walls. I spent about three hours there and had the chance to contemplate, among other things, the original artifacts transferred from Knossos Palace (the topic of my previous post.) 

entrance to museum

visitors looking at the exhibits in the glass cases

 taking photos

The museum, located in the town center, has 27 rooms on two floors. No camera flash allowed inside. In a room passage, dedicated to echoes in the world about the Minoan findings, I noticed on the wall a newspaper photo of Liz Taylor. She was wearing a golden brooch in the form of a bull horn, designed according to the original item found in one of the excavations in Knossos. Beautiful woman ,beautiful brooch.

Liz Taylor 's photo in the Media room.

The exhibits displayed in the museum  were found in various settlements of ancient Crete ( Knossos, Phaistos, Zakros, Malia, Gortyn) - in palaces, storage rooms, caves, sanctuaries, cemeteries, and  graves.

famous bee pendant (found at cemetery outside Malia palace)

These exhibits reflect various aspects of life in Minoan Crete: daily domestic life ( pots, jars, vases, bowls, utensils and tools.) religion (ritual vessels, figurine offerings), sports: boxing, hunting, bull jumping (murals, bull -leaper figurine and bull-leaping frescoe), art (frescoes, painting on pottery,on walls, sculptures, jewelery),  coinage ( evolution of cretan coins),burial customs (sarcophages, coffins, various items buried with the dead), afterlife beliefs (i.e. the dead needs the same items as those needed in his life; that's why they get put in his grave at the time of burial).

I was especially attracted to the stunning  jewelery collections:


There are lots of clay, ivory , bronze - human and animal- figurines on display. The figurines were used by the ancient cretans as house decorations, as religious offerings to the gods, or got buried with the dead as personal possessions, or as protective devices. (The ones in the header picture represent goddesses with arms raised).


The exhibited  coins and seals  tell a lot about social, economical, and artistic life in ancient Crete; they are a "golden mine" to researchers.


The ancient Cretans (Minoans) were considered a peaceful society, and yet many weapons (swords, spears, daggers) were found in houses, sanctuaries, and graves.


At the end of my visit, I felt overwhelmed  by the richness just viewed at the above museum. If someone happens to be in Heraklion, I would highly recommend visiting this wonderful place.


  1. The Heraklion museum sounds very interesting, Duta. I can see why you spent three hours looking around there. The jewelry display would surely interest me. Some unique pieces here. What a grand photo of Liz Taylor. Museums are rich in history, and we can see the different cultures and traditions of others.


    1. Red Rose Alley,

      Sheri, jewelery shops in Crete and elsewhere sell a lot of pieces made of gold, silver, and other precious or semi-precious metals - designed according to the originals displayed at the museum.

  2. Replies
    1. Haddock,

      It is one of the most famous exhibits at the museum. It represents in detail two bees carrying a drop of honey.

  3. This is just another reason I'd love to visit that area of the world. Greek mythology and history are so interesting and visiting the Heraklion museum would be fabulous. The artifacts look stunning and so does the modern museum that houses them all. I can see why a person could spend hours there admiring the talent and skills of the artists, especially all the gold and the jewelry! Thanks for sharing, Duta!

  4. After visiting this museum I bought myself s copy of the bee pedant . I simply could Not resist😀

  5. Pam,

    Your comment sums it all up in a few words: mythology, history, interesting, stunning artifacts. Thank you.

  6. Ola,

    Good for you! Enjoy it! Even as a replica it is a special piece of jewelery.
    Bees and honey, are not only important to the greeks, but also to us all.

  7. Thanks for sharing your visit! Nice photos ♥

  8. I love going to these countries and seeing all the wonder. Greece did me in. My legs were so swollen from climbing. I envy you and your youth. Wish I could go with you. yvonne
    I just posted a new photo of Toni lost pup she is so cute.

  9. Summer,

    You see, these are indoor pictures, no flash allowed, so low quality, but they serve their purpose.

  10. La Petite Gallery,

    Yvonne, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not young. Off I go to your post to see Toni's photo.

  11. A beautiful way to spend a few hours. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Angelina Pratt,

    I totally agree with you. It's a few hours well spent, as they say.

  13. museums is a great place for learning :)

  14. We learn all our life:in schools, libraries, museums.Museums are the nicest places for learning about the past.

  15. I enjoy these virtual tours with you. I learn so much!

  16. Linda O'Connel,

    I'm glad you do. I too learn a lot from people's experiences in all kinds of places as narrated in their blogs.

  17. Thanks for sharing the museum experience but the Palace of Knossos would have been my cup of tea. To walk where the ancient have been would be thrilling to me. My favorite keepsake from trips is a rock that I pick up and then I write on it where and when so when I hold it I can experience the feelings I had at the time of the visit. Peace

  18. Lady Di Tn,

    I think you're right about the Knossos palace. I felt very thrilled to be there and walk on the remains of that ancient civilization. I like your idea of a favorite keepsake from trips. The rock is authentic and nothing could compete with that.

  19. I would be drawn to the jewelry for sure. What a great collection. I hope I'm lucky enough to visit someday. Thanks for letting me know you visited my creative writing blog!

  20. Sharon Wagner,

    Naturally,we women are attracted to jewels.I've seen women buying in shops replicas of the items viewed at the museum. Both the shop owners and these women are happy with the trade...

  21. Amazing museum! I too would have loved the jewelry. Isn't it amazing that Liz Taylor would end up there as well? I would love to visit!

  22. Alicia,

    The cretans are very proud of things that got international fame: the brooch worn by Liz Taylor designed on the basis of the original at the museum; a certain russian ballet based on the story of the two mytological figures Daedalous and his son Icarus; the movie "Zorba the greek" based on the book written by the Crete- born Kazantzakis.