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Minoan villa at Vathypetro The Minoan villa at Vathypetro was most likely the residence of a local ruler. Its architecture is comparable to that of a "Little Palace": it has a central and west court, a small tripartite shrine, a three-columned portico, storerooms and workshops. It seems that the construction of the building was never completed. Interesting elements of its architecture are the installations of a wine-press in the south wing and an oil-press in the courtyard. The construction of the villa started in ca. 1580 B.C. and lasted for thirty years but only the west wing was completed. The interior wall of the east wing had just started to be built when the whole structure was destroyed, possibly by an earthquake, and abandoned in 1550 B.C. The site was excavated in the summer of 1979 by John Sakellarakis. The walls of the building have been consolidated. Consolidation and restoration…
The Village of Archanes Archanes is a village built on the slopes of a low hill in a green area surrounded by olive groves and vineyards and has retained its name for thousands of years. The area is dominated by the large mountain Giouktas, and gorges, forests and nature abound. The local agriculture produces delicious wine, raisins and grapes. It was inhabitant in the Neolithic times (6.000BC). It reached its peak during the period 2500-1400 BC when the grand palace was being built in Archanes which was rebuilt on successive destructions it suffered over the years. During the first Byzantine period and the Arab rules, Acharnes and the surrounding area follow the same course in history as the rest of Crete, while under the Turks it was used as a base for Turkish officials. During the battle of Crete in 1941 (World war II) Acharnes was used as an administration…
Melidoni Cave The Melidoni Cave is located about 1800 metres northwest of a village with the same name. It has an extremely interesting history and amazing archaeological findings some of which are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno. The Melidoni Cave is also called "Gerondospilios". It was used for religious ceremonies. During the Minoan Civilization, it was a place of worship for Talos the bronze giant guardian of Crete who protected the island of Crete from enemies. It is of archaeological and historical interest. In October 1823, 370 women and children and 30 warriors who hid from Hussein Bey sought refuge in the Melidoni cave. When he found out, the cave was surrounded by his army and he asked Cretan people to surrender. When they refused to do so, Ottomans started to attack them. Three months later they dropped combustible materials into an opening leading to the cave and…
Historical Museum of Crete The Historical Museum of Crete was founded in 1953 and is housed in a neoclassical building of exceptional architectural merit. A multi-faceted museum narrating seventeen centuries of history on Crete, from Early Christian times to the modern era. The exhibition is much more than a mere display of artefacts. Throughout the museum, visitors interact with new media. From Byzantium to the Baroque (330-1669 AD) The meeting ground of the monotheists: Christians from the East and West, Arabs, Ottomans and Jews come together on Crete. The exhibition includes Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman sculpture and ceramics. Added to these are frescoes and portable icons, coins, jewellery, maps and the large model of 17th century Chandax. From the Ottoman Empire to Modern Hellenism (1669-1945) The eventful birth of national consciousness on a large Mediterranean island. In addition to flags and weapons, the exhibition includes items of everyday use from…
Natural History Museum of Crete The Natural History Museum of Crete is housed in the renovated former premises of the Heraklion Public Power Corporation, on Dermatas’ Bay. With an area of 3,500 m2, it is the largest exhibition of its kind in the Mediterranean, showcasing the natural environment of Crete and the wider Mediterranean area in an innovative, original way. Visitors have the opportunity to explore Cretan ecosystems alongside their equivalents in mainland Greece and elsewhere in the Mediterranean via dioramas, i.e. full-scale models of natural landscapes. Other areas are dedicated to exhibits such as the Giant Deinotherium, the largest prehistoric animal ever to live on Crete, the Living Museum, a display of typical animals of Crete and the Mediterranean, the Enceladus, an earthquake simulator where one can experience several earthquakes known to have occurred in different areas in the past, as well as the Erevnotopos Discovery Centre, an area…
The Museum of Domenicos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) The museum of Domenicos Theotokopoulos is located at the site of "archontika" in the beautiful setting of Skoteini, near the Byzantine church of Panagia. The museum is housed in a renovated post-Byzantine building complex and is open to the public since 1998. About ten thousand people visit the museum every year. The exhibition includes a small collection of reproductions of the works of the great painter, commonly known as 'El Greco'. An information pamphlet about the life and work of Theotokopoulos is available in 5 languages and is distributed to visitors. Next to the museum there is a rest area and a cafeteria under the shadow of the centuries-old trees while a bit further there is a stone-built water well, part of the post-Byzantine farm. El Greco (1541 – 1614), as Domenicos Theotokopoulos was commonly known, is considered to be one of the…
Holy Monastery of Kera – Kardiotissa The foundation and the history of the monastery, the first mention of which dates to 1333 is inextricably linked to the wonderworking icon of the All-Holy Virgin the Kardiotissa [the type of icon where the Virgin holds Christ in her arms above her heart], which according to tradition was painted by St. Lazaros, a monk and icon painter who lived during the period of Iconoclasm. The icon was stolen during the period of Venetian occupation and transferred to the church of St. Alphonse in Rome, while the newer icon that replaced it since 1735 is considered equally mira¬culous. Of the original monastery, only the catholicon survives today which has been structured architecturally after successive interventions to the original single-nave church. The barrel-vaulted space to the north and the three parallel to each other spaces on the west side were added subsequently. The whole was…
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