Historical Museum Crete
After the world-famous Archaeological Museum of Crete, which is about one kilometre away, the collection is probably number 2 among the museums of Crete. The exhibition covers the period from about the 4th century AD to the present day. Older epochs, like the time of the Minoans, the Greeks and the Romans, are treated in the archaeological museum mentioned above.
Opening hours 2018
During the summer tourist season between April and October, the museum is open between 9 am and 5 pm. In the high season 2017 there was an additional museum evening on Wednesday between 8 pm and 11 pm. We do not know whether this will be the case again in 2018. The Historical Museum of Crete is closed on Sundays and public holidays. This is a bit unusual. Also on Crete most museums and exhibitions are closed on Monday. (As at the beginning of 2018)
The opening hours of the Historical Museum of Crete in winter (November to March) are from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sundays and public holidays are also holidays in winter. (As of early 2018)
Admission price 2019
The entrance fee to the Museum of History of Crete for adults is currently (early 2024) 5 euros. Pensioners, pupils and students pay 3 euros admission. Children under 12 do not need to buy a ticket.
Location and Directions
The Historical Museum in Heraklion is easy to find. It is located on the road by the sea, about 10 minutes walk from the city center of Iraklio. The address is: Sofokli Venizelou Avenue 27.
The museum building is a neoclassical building, built at the beginning of the 20th century. Parking in the area is difficult, as far as we know the museum itself has no parking spaces. It is best to walk. One should not confuse the historical museum with the also interesting natural history museum (Natural History Museum) nearby.
Description of the museum
The lower floor deals mainly with the Byzantine period and the Venetian epoch of the largest island of Greece. Interesting is a very detailed 3D model of the city of Heraklion from the 17th century, in which every house is taken into account. On the ground floor you can see icons, ceramics, pottery, coats of arms and much more.
A room on the first floor shows the development of coins over many centuries (numismatics room). Another room is dedicated to the painter El Greco, probably the most famous artist in the long history of Crete. Several of his famous paintings, such as "The Baptism of Jesus", are originally in this room. El Greco was born as Dominikos Theotokopoulos 1541 in Iraklio, some say also in the nearby village Fodele. He emigrated already in young years over the city Venice to Spain. Also the more than 200 years long time of the Turks on Crete (Ottoman rule) and the unification of the island with Greece at the beginning of the 20th century are represented on this floor.
The second floor is the most interesting part for many German visitors. It shows the attack of the Wehrmacht, the reign of terror of the Germans in World War II and the resistance of the Cretans and Allies against the German occupation. There is also a hall dedicated entirely to the writer Nikos Kazantzakis. He is probably the best known writer from Crete (1883 to 1957). Kazantzakis' most famous work is the novel "Alexis Zorbas", which was filmed in 1964 with Anthony Quinn in the leading role.
The art of the normal Cretan population, such as textiles, embroidery and traditional costumes, is also exhibited in several rooms on the top floor of the History Museum of Crete. This is why the museum is also called the History and Folklore Museum of Crete in some travel guides.
For the more than 20 rooms and rooms in the Historical Museum of Crete one should take about two hours time. After that you have a good overview of the history of the island of Crete from the beginning of the Christian era until today. All pieces of the exhibition are very well described, but only in Greek and English. Those who only speak German have to be content with a small leaflet in German, which is available free of charge at the entrance. But even without any knowledge of English, the history museum of Heraklion is absolutely worth seeing. In any case, the historical museum is obligatory for all tourists who understand their holidays on Crete also as an educational trip. All in all a successful, interesting exhibition. With an entrance fee of only 5 euros, the price-performance ratio is also good.