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Discover theHeraklion Archaeological Museum

One of the oldest and most famous museums in Greece.

Online Tickets for Heraklion Archaeological Museum

New Bundle Ticket: Knossos Palace & Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion Archaeological Museum Opening hours:

Summer opening hours (April 1st - October 31st)

08:00 - 20:00
Wednesday to Monday
10:00 - 20:00

Winter opening hours (November 1st - March 31st)

Monday Closed
08:00 - 15:00

Skip the line and show your smartphone tickets at the entrance.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Discover the rich tapestry of Crete’s ancient past at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, one of the most important museums in Crete. Explore an impressive collection spanning over 5,000 years – from the Neolithic period to Roman times. This world-renowned museum houses artefacts from the Palace of Knossos and other Minoan sites, unveiling the mysteries of Europe’s oldest civilisation.

Why visit Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Visiting the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion provides an incredible opportunity to delve into the depths of ancient Crete’s rich history and culture. The museum acts as a time machine, transporting you back to the fascinating era of the Minoans, Europe’s oldest known civilisation.


  • The museum boasts an unparalleled collection of Minoan art, renowned worldwide for its sophistication and breadth. It provides a unique insight into the life and aesthetics of this ancient civilisation.
  • The exhibits are thoughtfully curated, creating a narrative that guides you through Crete’s history, from the Neolithic period to Roman times.
  • The museum is a treasure trove for history enthusiasts, offering an unrivaled opportunity to study ancient artefacts in detail.

So, if you’re keen on immersing yourself in historical wonders, the Archaeological Museum, one of the most important museums in Crete, is the ideal destination. Don’t miss out on an enriching and educational experience that will linger in your memory for years to come.

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Heraklion Archaeological Museum Tickets

  • Gain deep insights into the Minoan civilization, Europe’s oldest known civilisation.
  • Enjoy fast track entry with skip-the-line tickets, saving valuable time.
  • Witness artefacts spanning over 5,000 years, offering a comprehensive overview of Crete’s history.
  • Explore masterpieces from the Palace of Knossos and other archaeological sites across Crete.
  • Enhance your knowledge of ancient Greek art, culture, and history.
General Admission Ticket

Highlights of the Archaeological Museum Heraklion

  • Knossos Palace: The museum houses a vast collection of artefacts from the Knossos Palace, including valuable treasures such as striking frescoes, pottery, and figurines.
  • Minoan Pottery Collection: Explore an extensive collection of Minoan pottery that showcases the remarkable artistic skills and cultural practices of ancient Crete.
  • Statue of the Snake Goddess: Be mesmerised by the iconic statue of the Minoan goddess, a unique piece that sheds light on Minoan religion and mythology.
  • Minoan Jewellery: Admire precious jewellery pieces from the Minoan era, crafted with intricate detail and exquisite materials.
  • Roman Collection: Discover artefacts mostly from the Late Roman periods, showcasing the influence of this powerful empire on Crete

Minoan Pottery Collection

The Minoan Pottery Collection at the Museum is a testament to the artistic genius and cultural richness of ancient Crete. This exceptional collection provides a captivating glimpse into the Minoan society’s daily life and their artistic evolution over the centuries.

  • Variety: The collection features an array of pottery forms, from everyday vessels to elaborately decorated amphorae, reflecting the diversity of Minoan pottery.
  • Artistic Excellence: The pottery exhibits a range of styles and techniques, displaying the Minoans’ exceptional craftsmanship and artistic flair. You’ll find pieces with intricate designs, including naturalistic and abstract motifs, that highlight their advanced pottery-making skills.
  • Cultural Insight: The pottery also offers insights into the Minoans’ cultural practices and beliefs. Symbols and scenes depicted on the pottery narrate stories of their religious rites, trade practices, and societal roles, providing a comprehensive understanding of this ancient civilisation.
  • Historical Timeline: The collection spans over several centuries, presenting an opportunity to observe the evolution and refinement of Minoan pottery over time.

Minoan Jewellery Collection

The Minoan Jewellery Collection housed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion unveils the splendid craftsmanship and rich cultural symbolism of ancient Crete. These exquisitely crafted pieces offer a fascinating insight into the Minoan society’s aesthetics, societal norms, and religious beliefs.

  • Artistic Brilliance: The Minoan Jewellery Collection showcases the extraordinary artistic skills of Minoan craftsmen. It features a diverse range of jewellery made from precious metals and gemstones, including gold necklaces, silver rings, and beautifully crafted seals. Intricate designs and delicate craftsmanship are hallmarks of this collection.
  • Cultural Significance: The jewellery items often bear symbolic designs, reflecting the Minoans’ spiritual beliefs and cultural practices. From sacred symbols to depictions of deities, each piece tells a unique story about the Minoan society. True masterpieces of the Minoan Civilization
  • Material Diversity: The collection showcases the Minoans’ mastery over a variety of materials, including gold, silver, semi-precious stones, and faience. Each material was skilfully shaped and decorated to create pieces of enduring beauty.
  • Historical Significance: The Minoan Jewellery Collection provides a timeline of the development of Minoan jewellery-making techniques. This collection is a testament to the Minoans’ advanced metallurgical skills and their profound understanding of aesthetics and design. It offers an invaluable opportunity for history enthusiasts and jewellery lovers to appreciate the Minoan civilization’s artistic prowess.

Statue of the Snake Goddess

The Statue of the Snake Goddess is one of the most iconic artefacts in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, symbolising the spiritual beliefs of the Minoan society. Unearthed from the Knossos Palace, this unique artefact offers a peek into the religious practices and gender roles of this ancient civilization, and is one of the most precious holdings of the Herakleion Archaeological Museum.

  • Cultural Significance: The Snake Goddess, often interpreted as a priestess or deity, signifies the Minoans’ reverence for nature and the feminine divine. The serpents in her hands and the feline figure on her head are symbolic of fertility and protection, providing insights into the Minoan religious ideology.
  • Artistic Merit: The statue exhibits the Minoans’ remarkable artistic skills. The detailed depiction of the goddess, from her intricate attire to the vivid expressions, testifies to the superior craftsmanship prevalent during the Minoan era.
  • Tourist Attraction: The Statue of the Snake Goddess is a must-see exhibit, capturing the attention of visitors with its intricate detail and profound symbolism. This iconic statue is sure to leave you with a deeper appreciation of Minoan culture and artistry.

Where is it and how to get there

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is located at Xanthoudidou Street, in the city of Heraklion, Crete. It is easily accessible by public transportation, including buses and taxis. Visitors can also opt to drive and park at the nearby parking facilities.

General Admission Ticket

Heraklion Archaeological Museum Opening hours:

Summer opening hours (April 1st - October 31st)

08:00 - 20:00
Wednesday to Monday
10:00 - 20:00

Winter opening hours (November 1st - March 31st)

Monday Closed
08:00 - 15:00

Skip the line and show your smartphone tickets at the entrance.

The Prince of the Lilies Fresco

The Prince of the Lilies Fresco, housed in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, stands as a testament to the artistry and cultural sophistication of the Minoan civilization. This iconic artwork features a young man, possibly a prince or a priest, enveloped in a field of blooming lilies. The detailed representation and meticulous craftsmanship capture the viewer’s attention, offering a glimpse into the Minoan world.

Despite countless centuries, the vibrancy of the fresco remains, adding to the allure and mystery surrounding this ancient civilization. The Prince of the Lilies Fresco is indeed a cornerstone of Minoan art, preserving a unique artistic language that continues to intrigue and inspire to this day.

The Bull-Leaping Frescoes

The Bull-Leaping Frescoes, also a part of the fascinating collection at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, depict a dynamic scene of young men gracefully vaulting over the back of a bull. This iconic motif is an emblematic representation of Minoan art, suggesting a deep cultural significance tied to initiation rites or athletic competitions.

Each fresco is rendered with astonishing detail, capturing the tense kinetic energy of the leap and the raw strength of the bull. Every muscle strain, every bead of sweat, is meticulously depicted, providing an intimate, vivid window into the Minoan world. The Bull-Leaping Frescoes, much like the Prince of the Lilies Fresco, continue to captivate audiences, their detail and dynamism offering endless fascination and insight into the ancient Minoan civilization.

History of the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion

The Herakleion Archaeological Museum, one of the greatest museums in Greece and the best in the world for Minoan art, was built between 1937 and 1940 by architect Patroklos Karantinos on a site previously occupied by the Roman Catholic monastery of Saint Francis which had been destroyed by the earthquake in 1856.

The architect Patroklos Karantinos designed and directed the construction in such a manner that it would embrace two earlier mansions dating from the Venetian period, which had survived on the site.

The museum’s initial name was the Museum of Cretan and Greek History, and it was designed to house and protect artefacts unearthed from various archaeological sites in Crete, including Knossos, Phaistos and Gortyn.

The Herakleion Archaeological Museum experienced a series of modifications and additions during the post-war period. Notably, in the 1970s, the eastern wing was added, providing more room for new exhibits. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the museum underwent significant renovations to modernise its interior spaces and upgrade its infrastructure.

The museum’s most recent renovation finished in 2014, marking the completion of a project that had begun in 2006 with the goal of extensive modernisation and the reorganisation of the museum’s collection.

Today, the Archaeological Museum, one of the most important museums in Crete stands as a symbol of Crete’s rich history, offering visitors an unparalleled journey into the island’s ancient past.

Frequently asked Questions

What is the Heraklion Archaeological Museum?

The Museum is one of Greece’s most significant museums. Located in the Heraklion town, it is home to numerous artifacts from the Minoan civilization and other periods of Cretan history.

When is the best time to visit the Museum?

The museum is open year-round, but the best time to visit is during the less crowded shoulder seasons of spring (April-June) and fall (September-November).

How can I buy tickets?

Tickets for the museum can be purchased at the entrance or online. Buying tickets online in advance is recommended during peak tourist season to avoid long lines.


What else can I do near the Museum?

Heraklion town is a vibrant city with plenty to do. You can visit the historic Old Town, enjoy Cretan cuisine at local restaurants, or take a stroll along the city’s beautiful waterfront. There are also several other museums and historic sites within walking distance of the Archaeological Museum.

Is there a guided tour available at the Museum?

Yes, there are guided tours available at the museum. These tours are an excellent way to gain a deeper understanding of the exhibits and the history of Crete.


What is the significance of the Bull’s Head in the museum?

The Bull’s Head is a remarkable artifact from the Minoan era, symbolising the importance of bulls in Minoan religion. It’s made from steatite with shell, rock crystal, and red jasper, showcasing the superior craftsmanship of the time.

Does the museum organizes temporary exhibitions?

Yes, the museum regularly organizes temporary exhibitions that showcase different aspects of Cretan history and culture. These exhibitions are not to be missed, as they offer a unique perspective on the island’s past.

What can I buy in museum shop?

The museum shop offers a wide variety of souvenirs and gifts related to the museum’s collections. This includes certain minoan wall paintings, artifact replicas of the cretan prehistory. It also sells museum copies of many cretan artefacts, as long as books on Cretan history and culture, local handicrafts, and traditional products such as olive oil and herbs.

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