The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is located in the city centre and is the second largest archaeological museum in Greece. It is regarded as one of the most important museums in Europe. The initial building was constructed between 1933 and 1937. It was closed between 2006 and 2014 due to renovation works. Tickets can be bought on-line from the official site.
The museum houses artifacts from the Neolithic period (7000 BCE) to Roman times (200 CE), covering thus a chronological span of over 5,500 years. The museum contains several rooms, each of which covers a certain period or theme. On the ground floor you can visit the most important and complete collection of Minoan art in the world. On the upper floor you can see a magnificent collection of Minoan frescoes, most of which originate from Knossos. The ancient Greek and Roman artifacts are all on the same floor. Close to the exit, on the ground floor, don’t forget to visit the statues collection, containing Greek and Roman period artifacts. Next to the exit there is also a small museum shop.
Like Knossos, the best time to visit the museum is as early as possible (the museum opens at 8 am during the summer season), or in the afternoon. In the summer try to avoid a visit between 10 am to 3 pm, as most of the large groups will be there.
The museum hosts thousands of finds. Some important ones are not displayed on their own. The visitor could unfortunately miss some of the must-see finds.
Should you visit the museum on your own, please try to locate the highlights!
Here are a few of the artefacts you should not miss:
The Snake Goddesses:
The Bee Pendant from the Minoan Palace of Malia:
The Phaistos Disk:
The Kamares style pottery:
The ring of king Minos:
The rock crystal rhyton (libation vase) from the Minoan Palace of Zakros:
The mysterious Minoan Linear A script:
But also the most ancient Greek script, the Linear B:
The famous Bull-Leaping fresco:
And of course the Hellenic, Hellenistic and Roman statues:
Don’t miss the chance to see these unique collections. No other museum is as rich, in terms of Minoan artefacts!
Museum contact details: