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Museums to Visit in Heraklion, Greece

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As the largest town in Crete, Heraklion is home to many museums to explore. Anyone with an interest in learning the history of Heraklion, Crete, and Greece, will love visiting these museums. Here are just a few of the museums that you can explore when in Heraklion, Greece.

Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion contains one of the richest collections of findings from Gortyn, Phaestos, Knossos, and Aharnes, and other ancient sites. Exhibits at the museum span 5,500 years starting at the Neolithic period to the Roman times. The first room of the museum was constructed between 1904 – 1907 on the ruins of the Catholic Monastery of Saint Francis, which was destroyed by an earthquake that occurred in 1856.

A second room was added later and in 1937 the present building that houses the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion was built. Permanent exhibitions of the museum include jewelry, marble statues, pottery, items that were excavated in palaces, public buildings, and cemeteries, and more.

Historical Museum

The Historical Museum of Heraklion was founded in 1953 by the Society of Cretan Historical Studies. The museum showcases the culture and history of Crete from early Christian times to the modern era. The museum has a total of 22 rooms where you can view paintings of El Greco, photographs of Crete in the past, personal items that belonged to Nikos Kazantzakis, sculptures, and ceramics.

The building the museum is housed in is a two-storey neoclassical building that was built in 1903. The site where the building was constructed was the site of a mansion that belonged to the Kalokerinos family. The goal of the Historical Museum of Heraklion is to collect and preserve valuable archaeological and historical material.

El Greco Museum

Located near the Gate of Bethlehem, across from a chapel, is the El Greco Museum. The museum is dedicated to the famous Cretan painter named Domenicos Theotokopoulos who was known as “El Greco.” The museum has copies of works by El Greco. The building that the museum is housed in was in ruins, but restored starting in 1982 with the help of the Greek Ministry of Culture. The village of Fodele, where the museum is located, is said to be the birthplace of El Greco who was born in 1542. The only two original pieces by El Greco that are in Crete are at the Historical Museum of Crete, not far from the El Greco Museum.

Minos Winery

Minos Winery is in Peza Village, 17 km from Heraklion. The winery is still in use today and produces about 900,000 bottles of wine each year, but the site also serves as a museum. The history of the family making wine begins when they would do so for travelers who were passing through the area. In 1932, Miliarakis became one of the leading wine producers in Crete. The winery become the first company in Crete to make bottled wine in the 1952.

Visit some of the museums in Heraklion, Greece to get a taste of its history and culture.

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