The Minoan palace is the main site of interest at Knossos, an important city in antiquity, which was inhabited continuously from the Neolithic period until the 5th c. AD. The palace was built on the Kephala hill and had easy access to the sea and the Cretan interior. According to tradition, it was the seat of the wise king Minos. The Palace of Knossos is connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth, with the Minotaur, and the story of Daidalos and Ikaros.
The first excavation of the site was conducted in 1878 by Minos Kalokerinos of Herakleion. This was followed by the long-term excavations 1900-1913 and 1922-1930) of the Englishman Sir Arthur Evans, who uncovered virtually the entire palace. (more)
Founded in 1953 by the Society of Cretan Historical Studies (S.C.H.S.), the Historical Museum of Crete (H.M.C.) presents a comprehensive view of Cretan history from early Christian times to the present day.
The original goal of those founding the Historical Museum of Crete was to collect and preserve valuable archaeological, ethnographic and historical material deriving from the medieval and modern periods in Cretan history.
The process of enriching the collections, extending exhibition space and redefining the museum's aims has never ceased. Prolific research and publishing activity, the organisation of temporary exhibitions, educational programmes and the use of audiovisual media all form part of the modern educational role adopted by the Historical Museum of Crete over time.
The same approach also includes the gradual re-organisation of the collections on display so as to appeal to a wider range of visitors, thus offering them the opportunity to understand the many facets of historical development on Crete. (more)
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is regarded as one of Europe's most important museums. The present building was constructed between 1933 and 1937 to plans by P. Karantinos, on the site of the imposing Venetian Franciscan friary destroyed by an earthquake in 1856.
The museum brings together archaeological finds from all over Crete, covering over 5500 years of the island's history. Pride of place is given to the treasures of Minoan civilisation, the entire historical course of which can thus be appreciated. Justly regarded as the home of Minoan civilisation par excellence, the museum houses the most important collection of Minoan antiquities the world over.
Since November 2006 the museum has been closed for interior renovation. A small temporary exhibition housing the museum's most important exhibits is on view in a specially designed room on the north side, off I. Chatzidaki St. Exhibits include the Snake Goddesses, the Phaistos Disk, the La Parisienne and Bull Leaping frescoes and the "Ring of Minos" (more)
The Church of Ss. Peter and Paul was built in the first years of Venetian rule as the katholikon in the Dominican order monastery (Domenicani Predicatori). It is one of the oldest examples of 12th century Dominican architecture, both in Greece and the rest of Europe.
In Venetian times the church was used as a burial site for Candia dignitaries, but in the very first years of Ottoman rule was converted into a mosque dedicated to the memory of Sultan Ibrahim.
It is situated next to the sea wall, between the Venetian port and the Dermatas Gate, on what is now Sofoklis Venizelou Avenue, and is currently being restored for use as a feast day church. (more)
The Cretaquarium project was conceived by employees of the former Institute of Marine Biology of Crete (IMBC) to create the first large aquarium in Greece, as part of a marine park for research, education, culture and recreation. Its construction was co-financed by the European Investment Bank and the Greek state. Cretaquarium first opened its doors in December 2005 and went through a major expansion during the winter of 2008-9, when 25 new tanks were installed. The aquarium is currently operated by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, a public research institution. Its exhibits focus on the marine fauna of the Mediterranean region and include sea organisms from over 250 species in more than 60 tanks. (more)
The Venetian fortress of Koules dominates the entrance to the Venetian harbour of Heraklion. The Venetians called it the “Sea Fortress” (Castello a Mare or Rocca a Mare), but today it is known by its Turkish name, Koules, a corruption of Su Kulesi (Water Tower). It is one of the most familiar and beloved monuments of the city, and the symbol of Heraklion.
Today the fortress of Koules gazes proudly out across the Sea of Crete, reminding us of the glory of Venetian Chandax. It is haunted by legends that Cretan rebels were horribly tortured in its damp, dark rooms.
25th of August Street runs from the Meidani, the central crossroads of Heraklion, down to the Venetian harbour and the fortress of Koules. Along it are the Basilica of St Mark, the Loggia and the church of Saint Titus. As you approch the harbour, you will feel the cool sea breeze. At the end of the street and in the parallel alleyway of Agios Dimitrios are ouzeri (ouzo bars) serving delicious seafood.
25th of August Street is now a paved pedestrian street, and boasts the most beautiful Neoclassical buildings in Heraklion. Today they house banks, travel bureaux and tourist shops. These buildings were erected after the catastrophe of 1898, to give Heraklion the air of a modern city. The street was ironically known as "Odos Planis" ("Illusion Street"), because visitors who come up from the harbour and see these beautiful edifices form a favourable first impression of the city which is cruelly disappointed further on. (more)
Enjoy a one day trip tp Santorini from Heraklion. The boat leaves from Heraklion at 8.45 and arrives back at Heraklion at 20.45 on the same day. You have the opportunity of spending 6.5 hours on the island and visit the beautiful villages of Oia, Fira, Kamari and the Volcano. For more information and if you wish to make a booking please send us an email or ask the reception desk at your arrival (more)
Heraklion, like any urban center,is a city that evolves and grows, creating over time conflicts, marginalization, abandoned landscapes and deprived neighborhoods usually hidden behind the image of the city. The group of unseen City wants to highlight these small "invisible cities" within the city under the auspices of the Association of Architects Heraklion, focusing each time on a different area of the city of Heraklion on the main characteristics of the social, economic and urban degradation.
The aim of the festival is the redefinition and formulation of the proposal for the recovery of the relationship of the city residents with public space and the neighborhood and improve the quality of the urban environment and public life. Our goal is ,through a series of measures and actions, to develop public dialogue, to sensitize and mobilize the residents of areas both individually and collectively.
The "Invisible City" is a non-profit action based on voluntary participation of the organizing team. The festival hosts events and actions collectives, creative groups and active citizens, such as lectures, artistic interventions, exhibitions, cultural events, workshops, etc.
The first event of unseen City took place in October 2012 in Agia Triada, area of Heraklion and the second in the Lakkou Heraklion area in September 2013. In June 2015 the "Invisible City" returned to highlight the "invisible" side of the Venetian walls of Heraklion.
This year, the Invisible City takes place on 7, 8 and 9 October 2016, co-organized by the Municipality of Heraklion and Heraklion Archaeological. Our proposal follows the route along the hidden Hellenistic wall (Arab-Byzantine) running through part of the inner city.
For further information regarding the programme of the festival and the map of the events link to the following: http://www.atheatipoli.gr/%CF%80%CF%81%CF%8C%CE%B3%CF%81%CE%B1%CE%BC%CE%BC%CE%B1-2016 (more)
Operating within the wider University of Crete framework, the Natural History Museum of Crete fulfils all the roles demanded of a comprehensive, modern museum by:
Keeping and developing collections
Carrying out research into the natural world
Contributing to teaching at all levels in the education system
Promoting the unique nature of habitats in Crete and the Mediterranean.
The museum's impressive growth over the last decade reflects the competence and professionalism of its staff, as well as the growing need in society for proper information concerning the environment. (more)
The Nikos Kazantzakis Museum was founded by Yiorgos Anemoyiannis in 1983. The founder's intention was to create a museum capable of housing the numerous significant exhibits relating to author and thinker Nikos Kazantzakis. As a point of reference in designing and creating it, Anemoyiannis mentions similar European museums dedicated to Goethe, Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Hans Christian Andersen, which offer a comprehensive picture of each author.
Up until that time, the only place at the disposal of those interested in getting to know Nikos Kazantzakis was the specially designed room at the Historical Museum of Crete, in the Kalokairinos mansion. This was laid out according to the author's wishes, as appearing in the will he drew up in 1956.
The need for a museum exclusively dedicated to the life and work of the author Yiorgos Anemoyiannis to choose Myrtia, Kazantzakis' ancestral village, as a satisfactory solution that linked the museum to his memory. The paternal home of Yiorgos' father Antonis Anemoyiannis, a distant relative of Nikos Kazantzakis, lay in the same village. Adding financial assistance from the Minister of Culture and private individuals to lavish personal expense, Yiorgos Anemoyiannis set about demolishing the old building. In 1983 he then constructed what was, at the time, a modern exhibition space.
The museum opening ceremony was held on 27th June 1983.
The Museum was renovated from the ground up in 2009, offering a new perspective on how the collections are displayed. The entire undertaking bears the hallmark of architects Y. Psomadakis and M. Marinou (new permanent exhibition design), author D. Kalokyris (graphic design) and Dr. L. Chatzopoulou (texts and editing).
The project was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (80%) and national funds (20%).
The grave of the important Cretan writer Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) is located at the highest point of the Walls of Heraklion, the Martinengo Bastion, with panoramic views to the historical Heraklion.
His books "The Last Temptation", "Christ re-crucified" and "Captain Michalis" were designated as "anti-Christian" and "sacrilegious" and had brought the church very close to the author's excommunication in 1955. The Greek Church had asked the Greek State to forbid the distribution of the books.
Nikos Kazantzakis died of leukemia on October 26, 1957 in Germany. The archbishop Theoklitos did not give permission to expose his body for public veneration in Athens on November 4th. on November 5th, the body arrived in Crete and was exposed in the cathedal of Saint Minas for one day. On November 6th, the Archbishop of Crete Eugen, under the presence of the Greek Minister of Education Gerokostopoulos, conducted the funeral, while fanatics burnt books outside the church. The body was then accompanied by thousands of Cretans to the grave, atop the bastion of Martinengo.
His grave is austere with a wooden cross and a plaque engraved with his famous phrase: "I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I'm free".
The Museum of the Battle of Crete and National Resistance (1941-1945) was founded by the Municipality of Heraklion in May 1994.
The museum's aim is to collect, preserve and exhibit relics from 1941-1945 in an appropriate manner, as well as to document and disseminate information on the people's struggle during the Battle of Crete and the German-Italian occupation.
In addition to presenting a range of material witnesses to the past, the museum aims to cultivate interest and respect for the history of Crete. (more)
More than merely built-up areas consisting of houses and public services, cities are loci of meetings and exchange. They are cultural loci, which often transubstantiate their energy via artistic channels into new ways of looking at life.
In an attempt to redefine my relationship with Heraklion, I sought a motive for approaching what is an aesthetically distressed city. I went in search of small, insignificant objects of the type we pass by without noticing, so as to record their contribution to the history of everyday life. I found myself face to face with an unknown, hidden face of the city, made up of the fading colours on walls and dimensions of structures built on a human scale.
Wall memories is a photographic imprint of the plaster on ruined houses in Heraklion’s old city, which progresses from a colour landscape into a linear and geometric topography.
The pictorial approach focuses on the variety of colour hues and wall textures, while the notional approach extends to issues concerning the loss of collective memory.
Beyond simply recording reality, photographic representation may further hint at a new, autonomous, transcendental reality. (more)