Historical Museum of Crete

The Historical Museum of Crete: The heritage of time

Standing proudly in the heart of Heraklion, the Historical Museum of Crete is a captivating portal to the island’s rich and vibrant history. Delve into the depths of time, from Minoan civilization to modern Crete, through its vast collection and engaging exhibits.

A Treasure Trove of History

The Historical Museum of Crete in Heraklion is a neoclassical structure that accommodates a horizontal cultural space spanning all periods of Cretan history.

The museum opened its doors in 1953, and it presents Crete’s history from the early Christian era to the present.

There is an exhibition of 22 halls that present Crete’s stormy history from early Christian times to World War II and the Battle of Crete, with a focus on Venetian rule.

The Historical Museum isn’t just about static displays; it’s also an immersive experience. Participate in interactive exhibits, attend informative lectures, and take guided tours led by knowledgeable staff who bring the past to life.

The collection

The permanent collection displays that visitors can see begin with the Ceramics and Sculpture collections, which are organized chronologically from early Byzantine periods (4th–5th century) to the end of the Venetian period and Ottoman authority and include two amazing mosaics from the Hersonissos area.

The museum also houses a large Numismatic collection organized into eight sections corresponding to eight historical periods covering all phases of Crete’s economic history, followed by a Byzantine and post-Byzantine art collection where visitors can admire the interesting artistic developments that resulted from the dialogue between the Orthodox population (tradition) and the Venetians and Ottomans (external influences).

The Cretan School of Painting is one such example, with Domenicos Theotocopoulos (El Greco) as its main representative, and the Historical Museum of Crete has the honor of displaying the only two works by the famous Cretan painter on display in Crete: The Baptism of Christ (1567) and St. Catherine’s View of Mt. Sinai (1570).

Furthermore, the museum houses the Zacharias Portalakis collection, which consists of sixty-five portable icons (15th–20th century) presented to the museum in 2014 by art collector Zacharias Portalakis. These icons show the main elements of numerous art schools and traditions.

The Ottoman and modern periods are divided into two sections, the first presenting the early phase of Ottoman rule, primarily the mass Islamization of the local population, and the second focusing on the growth of the inhabitants’ national consciousness and the period of revolutionary ferment that led to Crete’s union with Greece in 1913.

Then there’s a section about Crete’s involvement in WWII.

The Battle of Crete, the occupation, the resistance, war crimes, and ordinary life are graphically depicted using audiovisual footage.

Historical Museum of Crete: Kazantzakis Room

The Historical Museum of Crete houses a Nikos Kazantzakis (the famed Cretan writer) room as part of its mission to give a complete view of Cretan history from early Christian times to the present.

The Kazantzakis Room is a permanent display at the museum that showcases the writer’s life and work through manuscripts, personal belongings, and letters contributed by Kazantzakis’ friends and family.

Furthermore, the museum houses an ethnographic collection that depicts rural life in Crete through production processes and community activities, and visitors can walk through a reconstructed interior of a Cretan arch-house.

The museum is a true jewel in the city of Heraklion and is well worth a visit.

Additional informations about the museum

At the heart of Heraklion city.

Adults 5€, Students and Senior citizens 3€,Children under 13 free

Winter 30.10- 31.03: Mon- Fri: 09:00-15:30 & Sat: 10:00-16:00, Sun: Closed

Summer: 01.04- 01.11: Mon- Sun: 09:00-17:00

The museum has Caffeteria, W.C. and Gift Shop

It takes 2hrs to complete on your own or as part of a guided tour.

Available Wi - Fi.

Phone Number: +30 2810 283219 & +30 2810 288708

There are infrastructures for the handicap.

Photos featuring the Historical Museum of Crete in heraklion

Visiting the Historical Museum

The Historical Museum of Crete, located in the centre of Heraklion, is easily accessible to both inhabitants and tourists. Because of its central location, visitors may immerse themselves in the colorful ambiance of the city while experiencing the riches of ancient Crete.

Visitors can explore the well-curated exhibitions while being guided by helpful information and finely produced displays. The skilled personnel at the museum are always ready to provide further information and answer questions, improving the whole experience.


In conclusion, the Historical Museum of Crete in Heraklion is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the rich and diverse history of Crete. The museum’s permanent exhibitions cover all periods of Cretan history. It is a true gem of Heraklion and a testament to the island’s rich cultural heritage. Visitors to the museum are sure to come away with a deeper appreciation for the history and culture of Crete.

ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR AN ENJOYABLE VISIT TO the historical museum of crete, heraklion

Plan Your Timing!
The museum can get crowded, especially during peak hours. Consider visiting during the early morning or early afternoon to avoid the crowds and have a more relaxed experience.
Check Opening Hours!
Every minute counts when exploring a museum's vast collections. By confirming the opening hours beforehand, you can strategically plan your visit to ensure you have ample time to delve into the exhibits that pique your interest.
Info for Visitors
Tickets and Admission!
Check if there's an option to purchase tickets online or in advance to avoid waiting in line. Some museums offer discounts for students, seniors, or specific groups.
Guided Tours!
Don't miss the chance to elevate your museum experience with a guided tour! Knowledgeable guides can unlock hidden stories behind the exhibits, weaving together fascinating context and insights that might remain unseen to the casual visitor.
Engage with Exhibits!
Spend time reading the exhibit descriptions and labels. Understanding each artifact's historical and cultural context will help you have a better overall experience. Be respectful of the museum's policies regarding photography. Some artifacts may be sensitive to camera flash.
Enjoy Quiet Moments!
Let your gaze wander across the artifacts, absorbing the weight of history and the artistry on display. Museums offer a unique sanctuary for introspection and contemplation.
Visit Highlights!
If your visit is brief, don't miss the museum's must-sees! These iconic pieces represent the essence of the collection, giving you a comprehensive snapshot of the culture and history on display.

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