The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is one of the largest and most remarkable museums in Greece and one of the oldest and most important museums in Europe. Its collection comprises representative samples from all periods of Cretan prehistory and history, a period of about 5,500 years, from the Neolithic to Roman times. However, the crown jewels of the museum’s collection are the unique Minoan art masterpieces, which reveal the Minoan civilisation’s evolution in time. The collection of Minoan antiquities is the most important in the world and the museum is deservedly considered as the most important museum on Minoan civilisation.
The “Saint Catherine of Sinai” Museum of Christian Art is housed at the cruciform Temple of Saint Catherine which is located at the very heart of Heraklion, near both the former and the current Metropolis (orthodox equivalent of a Cathedral) of Heraklion (Agios Minas).
The permanent exhibition of the museum is dedicated mainly to the Cretan ecclesiastical art (14th - 19th centuries). Among numerous important exhibits we find icons by two major icon painters of the Cretan School of Icon-Painting, Angelos Akotantos (early 15th century) and Michael Damaskenos (16th century).
The Historical Museum of Crete was founded in 1953 and is housed in a neoclassical building of particular architectural merit. Its collection covers a period of seventeen centuries of local history and culture, from the early Christian centuries to modern times. The museum displays carefully-selected exhibits of Byzantine art and culture, of the periods of Venetian and Ottoman rule, of the era of revolutions prior to the unification of Crete with Greece, of WWII, of the Battle of Crete and the Resistance, and of the Cretan folk culture. The exhibits are highlighted by appropriate audiovisual and multimedia material. The museum’s crown jewels are the El Greco paintings, The Baptism of Christ (1569) and View of Mt. Sinai and the Monastery of St. Catherine (1570), the only ones exhibited in Crete. In a special section, the Nikos Kazantzakis Collection features personal items and manuscripts of the Cretan author.
The Natural History Museum of Crete is located next to the Venetian harbour and offers a unique experience to its visitors. In its showrooms, of over 3500 m2, the natural environment of Crete and the Eastern Mediterranean is presented in an innovative and spectacular way. Particular emphasis has been given to Greece and Crete.
The four levels of the exhibition are divided into the “Mega-Dioramas” section, that is, realistic and full-size representations of nature, the Deinotherium section, the Fossil section, the “Living Museum” section, the “Erevnotopos” section, the “Enceladus” section, the Multimedia Room and the Temporary Exhibitions Area.
The Visual Arts Museum of Heraklion is a non-profit civil law partnership founded in May 2000 by K. Shizakis. Its aim is to embrace all citizens and to become a meeting point and a point of interaction for artists, art enthusiasts and friends. It is a place which promotes solidarity, cooperation, culture, art, training and entertainment. To this end, the following activities have been planned: training and educational seminars and lectures on artistic creation, conferences, concerts, seminars, publications etc. The Museum will welcome visual arts exhibitions, cultural exchanges between associations and cooperation with other private or public museums of Greece and abroad. The Museum was inaugurated with the exhibition of works by Cretan artists (K. Shizakis collection) which introduced the main part of the Museum’s possessions to the public.