“Closed for renovation” opened as a parting gift

A problem arose for us, and you will not be surprised by it, if you are a frequent traveler. We planned our trip on the internet some time in advance. Changes don’t always get documented on the internet and guidebooks, and travelers may find out too late (!) that a restaurant is shuttered, a museum has closed for renovation, or hours for a site have changed.

We had planned a one-month visit to Crete and arranged a side-trip to see the Heraklion Archaeology Museum. When did we discover that the Museum was closed for extensive renovations? We caught up with that news long after our itinerary was set and a hotel room reserved.   Disappointment… resignation…we adjusted our plans and scratched the museum.

When we arrived at our hotel in Heraklion, we mentioned the Archaeology Museum. The hotel receptionist said she read in the newspaper a few days earlier that the Museum had just reopened! What good news! We reverted to our original plan, put the museum back into the schedule.

What a gift! We spent many hours in the museum studying the collection, starting in the first room with the earliest Minoan pieces. As we moved through the collection, the time period moved forward and ended with the Classical Greek and Roman periods, covering a span of 5,500 years  The evolution of materials, techniques, and symbolism over the years became more sophisticated.   We only left the Museum when we had run out of energy to go on.

Sifting through photos afterwards only emphasized something we’d noticed as we went through the galleries: we thought many of the 3,000 to 4,000 year old pieces had a contemporary look.


Gold jewel from Malia, 1800 BC


If it hadn’t been for their cracks, these many thousand year old cups look like something we’d see on a store shelf.


Ceramic mosaic pieces, probably used as inlaid decoration on a piece of furniture. 1700-1600 BC


Minoan bull’s head


Clay larnakes, replaced wooden coffins. They were painted by folk artists in prehistoric Crete and reminded us somewhat of other folk art, Pennsylvania Dutch chests.


Circular shrine model from the late 9th century BC. The goddess, inside with raised arms, is observed by two men and an animal through an opening in the roof.

The Heraklion Archaeological Museum had been closed for renovations for over 7 years. As travelers, we know how lucky we were to get to visit so soon after its reopening – a beautiful farewell gift from the island of Crete. Thank you!


July 2014

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Around-the World - 2013-14, Greece and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “Closed for renovation” opened as a parting gift

  1. That was good timing. Every time we are in London I want to do a tour of Royal Albert Hall, and three times so far it has been closed the week we are there. I will just have to keep going to London until I can do the tour!

    I am always amazed by what I see in museums like this. The fact that all these artefacts are still in existence is amazing and the workmanship is so beautiful. What a lovely collection.

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