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Crete Showcases Rich Ancient History in Three New Museums

Crete Museums
The new archeological museum at Messara has opened. Credit: Ministry of Culture

Crete is showcasing its rich ancient history with three new archeological museums at Messara, Agios Nikolaos and Archanes.

The museum at Messara is ready and opened to the public earlier this month. The Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos is expected to open its doors to the public and following the signing of a memorandum of cooperation, a new Archaeological Museum is expected to be established in Archanes.

Crete is an ideal destination for archaeology enthusiasts. From the Minoans to the Venetians and Ottomans, each of the island’s former rulers have left behind traces of their culture in Crete’s many ruins and vast heritage.

Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni said that the recently inaugurated Archaeological Museum of Messara is “an emblematic project for the region of Gortyna and for Crete.”

A visit to the museum is free of charge until May 31, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Culture.

Crete Museums
Credit: Ministry of Culture

The permanent exhibition has a general title “Among the Mountains:the human presence in Messara from prehistoric to Christian times.” The exhibition experience is enriched with interactive information applications, the possibility of a digital tour and applications of an educational nature

Messara is an alluvial plain in southern Crete, stretching about 50 km west-to-east and 7 km north-to-south, making it the largest plain in Crete.

On a hill at its west end are the ruins of Phaistos, and near the middle are the ruins of the ancient city of Gortys.

The museum, built on an area of 2,900 sq.m., provides full museum infrastructure, having, in addition to the exhibition spaces, a projection and conference room, a periodical exhibition room, and an internal courtyard area suitable for events and exhibition activities.

Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos, Crete

The Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos is scheduled to open in October; the museum’s exhibition “is almost ready and only the placement of the surveillance material and the digital applications remain,” according to the announcement by the Ministry of Culture.

The Museum’s exhibits will include antiquities from Eastern Crete dating from the Neolithic to the Roman period. Among them, the offerings from the proto-Minoan cemetery of Agia Fotia (3000-2300 BC) and the findings from the Minoan palace of Malia stand out.

The Palace of Malia is situated on the north coast of Crete. To the south lie the Lasithi mountains. At 7,500 square meters, it is the third largest of the Minoan palaces.

New Archaeological Museum in Archanes, Crete

A new Archaeological Museum in Archanes of Heraklion will be created after the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and local authorities.

The discovery of ancient roads leading from Archanes to Juktas, Anemospilia, Xeri Kara and Vathypetro indicates that Archanes was an important hub in the region during Minoan times. Archaeological evidence indicates that ancient Archanes spread out over the same area as the modern town of Archanes.

Excavations unearthed features such as ashlar blocks, limestone plaques and blocks, plaster, wood, stucco floor tiles, gypsum, mud bricks, ironstone blocks, blue marble flooring, carved concave altars, frescoes and doorways.

A variety of porphyrite stone lamps, vases, amphorae, cooking pots, cups, lamps, tools and everyday domestic items such as tweezers have also been unearthed at the site.

Many of these ancient treasures will be exhibited at the new museum.

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