Pay a visit to the Historical Museum of Crete and chart the city’s fascinating past from early Christian times through to the modern day. View spectacular Byzantine artwork, visit the writing room of one of Greece’s most famous literary heroes and learn about the Cretan struggle for independence. See how the folk arts of the Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman periods have all influenced each other. Don’t miss the museum’s prize attractions: two paintings by the great Spanish Renaissance artist Doménikos Theotokópoulos, better known as El Greco.
The Historical Museum of Crete is located in a neoclassical mansion that dates back to 1903. The several exhibits run chronologically through Heraklion’s past, from the 4th century until just after the World War II. Along with the Archaeological Museum, it is one of the finest museums in the city and is well worth a visit to learn about Cretan history.
Your tour will begin in the AG Kalokerinos room. The highlight here is a scale model of Heraklion in the 17th century. Activate the 40 different spotlights to pick out the most important monuments of the time. Continuing on, you will find beautiful embroideries, weavings and carvings in the Folk Art collection and stunning wall paintings and inscriptions in the Byzantine collection.
Learn about Crete’s short life as an independent state in the Struggle for Cretan Freedom collection and view soldiers’ armour and ladies’ jewellery in the medieval and Renaissance collections. Visit a re-creation of the writing room of the great writer Nikos Kazantzakis. Get a copy of his most famous work, Zorba the Greek, to read later in your trip.
Don’t miss the museum’s finest exhibits, the two paintings by El Greco. The Baptism of Christ and View of Mt. Sinai and the Monastery of St. Catherine are the only two of his works that remain on Crete.
The Historical Museum of Crete is located on Venizelou Road which runs adjacent to the harbour. The museum is closed on Sundays. There is a charge for entry.