There is hardly another building in the city of Chania that has had so many different faces throughout the centuries as that of the Archaeological Museum Chania.
If the stones of this venerable building could only tell us their story ….. It was originally built as the Venetian monastery of Saint Francis with a three-nave Gothic hall church with a pillar of the basilica dating back to the year 1606.
Past history suggests that the building even existed before the Great Earthquake of the 16th century and that it was the largest building in the city at that time.
After the Ottoman conquest of the island (1645), the monastery was transformed into a mosque under the Turkish ruler Yusuf Pasha. You can now admire a fountain in the museum garden from that time (see picture gallery). In 1913, a Cretan created a film drama theater named “Idaion Andron” in the venerable halls, which afterwards served as the camp of the German Army beginning in 1941.
Since 1962, the building houses the Archaeological Museum Chania, which exhibits a number of very remarkable discoveries from all eras of inhabited Chania. Behind a door in the garden of the museum is the workshop, where pieces that are found are brought in old and become new with a shine.
The exhibition of the museum is divided into two large sections: in the eastern section, finds from the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age (Minoan period) are exhibited; in the western section, antiquities from the Iron Age (the historical period) are on display.
The “Seal of the Ruler”
The depiction on the seal KH 1563 is one of the most important finds of Minoan archaeology and it is exhibited in the Archaeological Museum Chania. The clay “seal of the Ruler (Hegemon)” with a unique pictorial representation of a Minoan landscape – perhaps the Kastelli hill in Chania where it was found. The center of the scene shows a building complex, on the roof of which dominates a male figure holding a spear or rod.
Please be also informed by the museum’s official website https://chaniamuseum.culture.gr