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Archaeological Museum of Herakleion
Heraklion city
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There are several informative / explanatory posters within the exhibition hall and all the artefacts are clearly labeled in Greek and English. A printed museum guide and a little home-work, however, will help for a better understanding of the Minoan culture and the items on dispay.
Even the most casual visitor will need at least one hour to stroll around and admire the exhibits


There are several informative / explanatory posters within the exhibition hall and all the artefacts are clearly labeled in Greek and English. A printed museum guide and a little home-work, however, will help for a better understanding of the Minoan culture and the items on dispay.
Even the most casual visitor will need at least one hour to stroll around and admire the exhibits.
The permanent exhibition is closed to public since November 2006, due to renovation works. The Temporary exhibition housed in a 350 sq.m. new building at Hatzidaki St., contains the most famous and representative items of the museum's collection. The permanent exhibition is closed to public since November 2006, due to renovation works that had to be done to the building. The Temporary exhibition is housed in a 350 sq.m. new building at Hatzidaki St. and contains the most famous and representative items of the museum's collection. Prince of Lillies
The famous, hieratic, 'royal' figure of the prince of the Lillies, an emblematic image of Minoan Crete, comes from a larger composition in a relief - painting found at the south entrance to the palace of Knossos, and is dated to 1600 - 1500 BC.
STONE AGE
Neolithic Period
(6800 - 3200 BC)

The first settlements - The development of farming
Clay figurines, clay and stone tools mainly from Knossos.
BRONZE AGE
Prepalatial period
(3200/3000-2600 BC)

The formation of ruling groups
Clay jags in various shapes and colors from Vassiliki, Lebena, Pyrgos and other sites in central and east Crete.
Figurines made of marble or ivory (2500 - 2300 BC), ivory and steatite seals with representations of animals, ships, vases etc (2600 - 1700 BC), clay figurines and architectural models... from sites in central and east Crete. Jewels, necklaces, beads and daggers made of gold, rock-crystal and silver. Prepalatial period.
Detail: Golden burial jewelry with attachments. From Mochlos, Platanos and Aghios Onoufrios.
BRONZE AGE
Old Palace period
(2000-1700 BC)

The first Minoan Palaces - The formation of palace societies
Luxurious banquet vessels in Kamares style.
Phaistos (1800-1700BC)
Figurines, seals, jewels and weapons from Phaistos, Anemospilia, and Malia. Old Palace period.
Detail: The pendant from Malia in the shape of two bees storing away a drop of honey in a comb.
Kamares style vases with complex polychrome decoration, from Phaistos and Knossos. Old Palace period (1800-1700 BC) BRONZE AGE
New Palace period
(1700-1450 BC)

The zenith of the Minoan Palace system
Jugs and vases in various shapes and styles (Marine, Floral...) from Phaistos, Mochlos, Palaikastro, Psira and Knossos.
Clay model of a Minoan house. Archanes. New Palace period (1600 BC)
Faience plaques from the "Town Mosaic". They depict the facades of two-storey and three-storey houses of a Minoan town. Knossos. New Palace period (1600 - 1500 BC)
Right:Libation vase (rhyton) of serpentine, in the shape of a bull's head with inlays of shell, rock crystal and jasper in the muzzle and eyes. Little Palace, Knossos. New Palace period (1600 - 1500 BC)
Left:Alabaster rhyton in the shape of a lioness head. Temple Repositories, Knossos. New Palace period (1600 - 1500 BC)
Votive figurines and items in various shapes from Knossos,Aghia Triada, Arkalochori. New Palace period (1600 - 1500 BC).
Amongst them the faience figurines of the "Snake Goddess". The goddess (or priestess) is depicted with exposed breasts and wearing a rich garment. Her bare breasts suggest her capacity as a fertility goddess. The snakes and the feline on her head are an allusion to her dominion over nature. Knossos.
Ivory figurine of a bull - leaper, part of a three- dimensional composition of bull - leaping. Knossos. New Palace period (1600 - 1500 BC)
The Bull - leaping fresco, depicting a moment of the event, with two female figures and a male one during the dangerous somersault on the bull's back. Knossos(1450 - 1400 BC)
Top : The Saffron - Gatherer's fresco. Depiction of monkeys gathering crocus flowers in a rocky landscape. Knossos (1600 BC).
Left : The Dancing Lady. Represantation of a dancer or a goddess in epiphany scene, with waving hair. Knossos (1400 - 1350 BC).
Detail : "La Parisienne". Fresco with a female figure, probably a priestess participating in a ritual banquet scene. Fragment from the "Campstool Fresco". Knossos (1400 - 1350 BC).
The Phaistos Disk: Caly disk with impressions on both side of hieroglyphic symbols arranged in a spiral running from the circumference of the disk to the centre. Amongs the symbols - ideograms can be recognised human beings, human limbs, a boat, birds, animals, various tools and vases.
Phaistos. New Palace Period (1600 - 1450 BC)
Clay jugs with painted decorations, an imported Egyptian amphora of alabaster with an hieroglyphic inscription, gold pendants, seals and necklaces from Poros ans Katsambas - Iraklion. (1600 - 1450 BC) The Aghia Triada Sarcophagus the only stone sarcophagus ever to have been found in Crete. It is wholly covered in plaster and painted in fresco. It was found in a relatively unimportant tomb at Aghia Triada, but it is believed that it was originally used for the burial of a prince during the Mycenaean occupation of Crete.
The painted frieze around the sarcophagus shows all the stages of the sacred ceremony which was performed at the burial of important personages.
Ritual vases, cups and amphoras from Zakros (1500 - 1450 BC)
To the right: Libation vase (rhyton) of rock crystal with gold ivory discs on the neck ring.
IRON AGE
Geometric - Archaic times
(1000-480 BC)

Dorian Greeks settled on Crete
Clay figurine of Athena, a jug with a representation of a couple, models of trees, gold ornaments, a clay model of circular house with a female deity in it and watched by two male figures and a dog, a part of a bronze caldron depicting a ship, a bronze votive drum with a representation of the myth of Zeus and Kourites...
From Gortys, Aphrati, Knossos (Fortezza), Archanes, Idaean Cave and Gouves.
Clay figurines of female deities, from Gortys, Gazi, and Karphi (Lassithi plateau).
The second from the right is known as the Poppy Goddess. It is, perhaps, a representation of the goddess in her role as a bringer of sleep or death.
Bronze items and weapons from Knossos, Phourni and Phaistos. (1450 - 1350 BC)
Boar's tusk helmet (Knossos)
Bronze swords with gold handles (Knossos & Phaistos)
Bronze bowl (Knossos), bronze krater and bronze hydria (Phourni, Archanes)
Bronze mirror with ivory handle decorated with a cow suckling its young,
Necklaces with beads of various shapes made of gold, sard, rock crystal and blue glass paste.
Gold Signet Rings with various represantations.
Compositions of ivory plaques used as inlays in boxes or furniture.
Phourni, Archanes (1600 - 1350 BC)
An Egyptian vase of alabaster, clay alabastron with decorations, clay models, necklaces with beads of gold, rock crystal, and gold necklace attachments in the shape of a bull's head and seated lions.
Aghia Triada, Phaistos, Kamilari - (1600 - 1300 BC)
BRONZE AGE
Postpalatial period
(1450 / 1300 - 1100 BC)

From palaces to small independent communities
A clay libation vase a clay incense burner with perforated lid, a clay jewelry box, clay figurines and Gold finger -rings and necklaces with beads of gold faience and semiprecious stones.
From Phaistos, Pachia Ammos, Amnissos, Aghia Triada, Archanes, Gournia.
Classical - Roman times
(480BC - 4th cent. AD)

Marble statue of a wandering philosopher of Hellenistic period. Gortys (late 2nd c. AD)
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