The Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon
The museum was founded in 1887 by the Society of the Friends of Education. Today it is housed in the pentagonal bastion in front of the central, east gate of the Fortezza.
This building represents one of the fortified construction works accomplished by the Turks, who chose this location in order to defend the central entrance to the fortress.
The first two chambers contain objects found at the Gerani Cave, which had been inhabited since the Neolithic period (6800-3200 BC).
No Minoan settlements of the Palace period have been found in the area around Rethymnon, but many smaller structures dating from that period have been excavated. Known as mansions or estates, they appear to have been the seats of local nobles.
Room 5 has votive offerings from the temple of Vrysina, a typical Minoan place of worship on mountain peaks, to which pilgrims would come with the offerings.
Rooms 6-13 contain artifacts of the Late Minoan Period (1500-1100 BC), mainly from cemeteries.
In room 8 there are bronze weapons and tools confirming the Minoan’s predilection for war, while in room 9 a false-neck amphora, or stirrup jar, bears traces of Linear B script, brought to Crete by the Mycenaeans and which was deciphered in the mid-20th century.
Outside the halls are clay sarcophagi from the Armeni Cemetery, while in rooms 10 and 11 there are displays of jewellery, stone seals and statuettes of animal and human forms.
Room 14 contains finds from the Geometric period (900-700 BC), when the city of Eleftherna was at its zenith.
Here there are copper and clay urns, glass myrrh containers, gold jewelery and bone clasps.
The most impressive exhibit is the statue of Aphrodite stepping on a duck, from the first half of the 1st century AD.
Also impressive are the exhibits in room 19, from a shipwreck found in the bay of Agia Galini.
Room 21 has figurines of the Archaic period, and in rooms 22-23 there are excellent examples of red-figure pottery and figurines of the Classical era.
Other rooms exhibit some of the museum's rich coin collection, and outside them are inscriptions from Eleftherna that cover the period from the 7th century to the 3rd century BC, a tomb sculpture of the Classical period and other sculptures, mainly from the Roman period.
Opposite the Fortress
Daily from 08:30 – 15:00 Mondays Closed
Admission: 3.00 €