Heraklion Archaeological Museum

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is one of the most important museums in Greece and the world featuring the most notable and largest collection of artifacts and findings of the notorious Minoan Civilization of Crete.

snake goddess figurine at heraklion archaeological museum

It is located in the heart of Heraklion City in a building that used to house the Monastery of Saint Francisco during the Venetian reign. The Monastery was known due to the Byzantine and Roman frescos but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1856.

The construction of the Archaeological museum started in the early 20th and was completed a little after 1940; the project was taken over by a renowned Greek Architect, Patroklos Karantinos. The Museum was damaged again during the Second World War but the entire collection was saved and was available to the public again in 1952.

Although the Museum is dedicated to the Minoan Era and the findings from this time, more periods of the rich Cretan history are covered as well; there are artifacts from the Neolithic to the Classical and Roman period.

minoan clay figurines in the Heraklion museum
Photo of Minoan clay figurines in the Heraklion museum by psmithson

Some of the most important exhibits in the Heraklion Museum are the frescos from the Minoan Palace of Knossos and from Hagia Triada ( Holy Trinity). Among the frescos are the famous ‘La Parisienne’ as well as the Bull Leaping and King of Lilies.

The Phaistos Disc, the renowned clay disc with the hieroglyphic inscription can also be found in the Museum. The Disc is a unique finding, one of the most famous mysteries in Archaeology, as the inscriptions running in spiral form have not been deciphered yet.

The Snake Goddess is one of the most distinctive and impressive figures of the Minoan Era; it is considered to be a goddess of fertility, associated with the renewal of life.

The collection of golden jewels found in tombs and burial sites of the Minoan era is one of the most impressive sections of the Museums; there are also ivory handles, hair combs and swords with handles made of gold.

The Bee jewels, decorating one of the cases of the Museum are a lovely finding and a very sharp depiction of bees carrying honey to their comb.

The Sarcophagi, especially the one from Hagia Triada, as well as the double axes are also among the notable exhibits of the museum.

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