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October 06, 2008

The Iris Museum in Agios Nikolaos (at last!)

Whilst we were recently on holiday in Elounda we made a day trip to Agios Nikolaos. Whilst we were there we got to visit the Iris Museum.


We'd wanted to see the Iris Museum during our road trip last year, but when we were visiting then it was shut. It is a folklore-ish museum, about the history of herbs on the island. It is particularly concerned with how Crete's plants were traditionally used to dye wool.

Most of the exhibition consisted of cuttings from the many, many herbs that naturally occur on the island, with descriptions of their medicinal properties. These were framed on the wall. Large cases in the centre of the room contained samples of yarn dyed using different recipes, with booklets explaining the different recipes used for each colour.


At the end of the museum there were a range of sample bottles were you could smell preparations made from herbs. I didn't quite understand the full story, but there was an information panel that made us laugh as it described the process of making "The Raki of the Smelling".


There was also a poem on display, inspired by herbs, written by Costis Hatziphotinos.


It was certainly a quirky little museum, but we really enjoyed it and were glad we'd finally got the chance to visit it.

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