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Heraklion Archaeological Museum

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The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is one the great museums of Greece and the best in the world regarding the Minoan art as it contains the most notable and complete collection of artifacts of the Minoan civilization of Crete. The museum began in 1883 as a simple collection of antiquities. A dedicated building was constructed from 1904 to 1912 at the instigation of two Cretan archaeologists, Iosif Hatzidakis and Stefanos Xanthoudidis. From 1937, work began on the present earthquake-proof building, designed by the renowned Greek architect Patroklos Karantinos. The museum was damaged during World War II, but the collection survived intact and was again accessible to the public from 1952. A new wing was added in 1964.

Besides the Minoan collection, other periods of Cretan history are covered, from the Neolithic to the Greco-Roman period. The Archaeological Museum at Heraklion is dedicated to Minoan art and artefacts, with a smaller section for post-Minoan art and artefacts. (The Museum is currently being renovated but a temporary exhibition is open in the main building.)


Room I

Covers findings from 6000 BCE to the pre-Palatial period, including:

  • Neolithic fertility goddess
  • Vasiliki ware
  • stone jars from the island of Mochlos
  • miniature clay sculptures

Room II

Covers findings from 2000 BCE to 1700 BCE in Knossos, Malia and several peak sanctuaries, including:

  • Kamares ware pottery
  • glazed plaques of Minoan houses (aka the "Town Mosaic")
  • peak sanctuary figurines

Room III

  • Phaistos Disc
  • Kamares ware pottery

Room IV

Covers findings from 1700 BCE to 1450 BCE, including:

  • bull's head rhyton from Knossos
  • snake goddess figurines
  • tools and weapons, mostly cast in bronze
  • cups with Linear A inscriptions

Room V

Covers findings from 1450 BCE to 1400 BCE, including:

  • Egyptian trade objects
  • clay model of a house
  • Examples of a Linear A and Linear B scripts

Room VI

Covers findings from cemeteries at Knossos, Phaistos and Archanes, including:

  • clay figurines
  • gold jewelry
  • horse burial from a tholos tomb at Archanes

Room VII

Covers findings from 1700 BCE to 1300 BCE from smaller villas and sacred caves, including:

  • bronze double axes
  • the "Harvesters Vase"
  • steatite vases from Hagia Triada
  • gold jewelry from Malia

Room VIII - Zakros

Covers findings from 1700 BCE to 1450 BCE from the palace of Zakros, including:

  • rock crystal rhyton
  • bull's head rhyton
  • pottery with floral and marine motifs

Room IX

Covers findings from 1700 BCE to 1450 BCE in eastern Crete, including:

  • terracotta figurines from Pisokephalo peak sanctuary
  • seal stones

Room X - Mycenaean

Covers findings from 1400 BCE to 1100 BCE, including:

  • clay figurines
  • clay sculpture of dancers with a lyre player

Room XI - Dorian

Covers findings from 1100 BCE to 900 BCE during the arrival of the Dorian Greeks, including:

  • weapons and tools, mostly of iron
  • clay fertility figurines
  • votive offerings

Room XII

Covers findings up to 650 BCE, including:

  • pottery decorated with griffins
  • artefacts and figurines from Kato Syme

Room XIII - Larnakes

Minoan larnakes (clay coffins) are on display here.

Room XIV - Hall of the Frescoes

  • Frescoes from Knossos and Hagia Triada
  • The Hagia Triada sarcophagus

Room XV & Room XVI

  • More frescoes, including the famous "La Parisienne"

Room XX - Classical Greek, Greco-Roman

  • sculptures from Classical Greek and Greco-Roman periods

Visitor Information

Hours: April-September Monday 12-7pm Tuesday-Sunday 8am-7pm October-March daily 8am-5pm

Admittance: €6, free on Sundays November-May. The Museum is currently CLOSED to the public as the building is being completely renovated but an exhibition of highlights from the collection is now open in a building behind the Museum.


  • The Rough Guide to Crete ISBN 1-84353-292-1

Notable artifacts

  • Snake Goddess
  • Phaistos Disc
  • Arkalochori Axe


This museum has been closed for renovations since late 2006. A temporary exhibition is now open within the museum where all the main artifacts (including the Phaistos Disk, Snake Goddess, Bull-Leaping and King of the Lillies Frescoes) are displayed. The temporary exhibition includes approximately 450 items in chronological order with the explanatory plaques and context plaques.

See also

  • List of museums in Greece
  • Minoan civilization

External links


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Tips & Hints
Arrange By:
Alexander Suprunov
13 August 2017
В этом Археологическом музее фантастическая коллекция артефактов, среди которых Фестский диск! Минойцы поклонялись Луне! Структурирование текста Фестского диска показывает, что он скопирован изготовителем диска, или с надписей, выполненных в форме трех двусторонних секир, или с надписей на самих подобных секирах (лабрисах) из дворцовых или пещерных святилищ. Текст — это перечень посвящений основных правителей Крита лунному божеству. Одна из этих секир, самая большая, четырехлезвийная, возможно, использовалась и как своеобразный лунный календарь. Сам диск, — Луна в полнолуние, — своего рода переносной вариант этих посвящений. Эти посвящения делались для того, чтобы получить благословение бога Луны. Возможно, что количество посвящений каждого правителя зависело от количества у него строений (дворцов и вилл). Отсюда, и ещё одно предназначение Фестского диска — оберег в виде клубка змеи (надписи на диске ведь по спирали) для этих строений и всех живущих в них, т.к. у минойцев считалось, что змея в доме приносит Божье благословение. Фестский диск был изготовлен до крупнейшего землетрясения в 1700 г. до н.э. разрушившего ранний дворец. Так как диск, как оберег, не уберёг этот дворец от разрушения, то его позднее "наказали" — замаскировали под слоем штукатурки в главной ячейке тайника постройки. Подробнее смотри сайт:
Visit Greece
22 April 2015
Observe the remarkable beauty of "La Parisienne" & "The Prince of the Lillies", two amazing murals displayed on the Museum’s second floor and the commanding simplicity of the clay sarcophagi.
Bluegr Hotels And Resorts
18 December 2013
The museum houses the most important collection of Minoan art and artefacts anywhere in the world. Exhibits in chronological order from the Neolithic Period to the Greco-Roman period.
tablet akias
18 October 2015
its nice but is pur
Edward Hodge
7 September 2013
You must go to Knossos first as the museum will lack depth and story without the context of Knossos.
Yannis Koutsomitis
20 August 2012
Sculptures' section now open.
Visit Greece
2 September 2014
Is one of the most important museums in Greece! It exhibits findings from all the palaces of the Minoan era, figurines, Neolithic vessels, frescos, coins etc. Here you can see the famous ring of Minos
tablet akias
18 October 2015
its very good for turist
Marite Melnika
8 September 2013
Really interesting, best of Knossos is here! Many unpublished items. For students - free entrance. Open after reconstruction.
Fraser McLeod
14 August 2011
Only a temporary exhibition just now - the main stuff is being restored. It has been like this since 2007 so who knows when it will be finished
Tasos Dr
21 August 2017
What's good? Everything is good. History near us
David Paulince
16 August 2017
A must go to understand the minoan history. The first rooms are my favourite. Ask for the combo ticket to avoid the queue in Knosso palace if you want to visit both. Better be here around 10am.
Daren Williams
17 July 2017
Nicely laid out and easy to navigate within a couple of hours. Good pieces from different eras. Visit this museum before visiting Knossos
Fedor Muhosranskiy
15 June 2017
Huge exposition of ancient stuff, good addition after visit to Knossos
Nikos K.
22 April 2017
Refined Minoan civilization
Daniel Bauer
15 April 2017
Wonderful collection of masterpieces..Been there twice and still amazed. Big like for Greece and their free entrance for students to museums ❤️
5 July 2013
В музее представлены римский скульптурный портрет и артефакты Кносского дворца. Фрески, золото, малая пластика.
Pascal F
14 December 2012
Exposition permanente très intéressante.
Quiet Sapah
2 September 2017
Отличная экспозиция - освободите 2-3 часа для этого музея. Отключите wi-fi, просто смотрите и фотографируйте!)
giampiero dinota
1 August 2017
Museo molto grande e con ottimo percorso che illustra anche in modo interattivo la storia della cultura cretese. Sono presenti affreschi, statue utensili e molto altro proveniente da cnosso e non solo
Coralie Wernaers
31 October 2016
Beau musée mais pas de version française , dommage pour la compréhension de certaines pièces vu le prix qui est de 10€
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Stefanou Xanthoudidou 1-9, Iraklio 712 02, Greece

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Open hours
Mon 11:00 AM–5:00 PM
Tue-Sun 8:00 AM–3:00 PM

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