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May 03, 2006

Archaeological Museum in Hania

Yesterday we visited Hania's Archaeological Museum. It is housed in an old Venetian building on Halidon, and is a mere €2 each for entry - although there is a combined €3 ticket that also gives access to the town's Byzantine collection that is housed on the far side of the harbour.

The collection is housed in one large vaulted room, and mostly consists of pottery and pottery fragments. Crete has been inhabited since around 6 or 7 centuries BC, and has significant remains from the Minoan civilisation which flourished 3,000 years before Christ. The Mycenaeans invaded the island after that, around 1,500 BC and founded Kydonia, the origins of Hania. They were followed in turn by the Dorians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Slavs, the Turks, the Venetians, and the Ottomans. Thus there is quite a lot of archaeology on the island.

There was some beautiful finely crafted gold jewellery lifted from burials, and a whole mound of symbolic sacrificial clay cows. There were also three very well preserved floor mosaics which had been moved to the museum, and attached to the building you could also go out into a little garden with a few items like columns and a fountain that were too large to be indoors. It only took twenty or so minutes to go round in total, but was well worth it.

There was one other feature of the museum that I have never encountered before. There was no general injunction against photography, but quite a few individual exhibits were labelled with signs stating "Unpublished. No photography".

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