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There are many museums one can visit in the Rethymnon prefecture that cover a wide range of interests and areas, from archaeological museums to folk art and ecclesiastical collections, to contemporary art exhibitions.
Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon
The museum’s collection started to take shape back in 1888, on the initiative of the Greek Educational Association of Rethymno. Until 1990 the museum was accommodated in the Loggia. In 1991 it was moved into a pentagonal building that can be seen in front of the Fortezza main gate. You can read more information about the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno here.
Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete
The Municipal Gallery “L. Kanakakis ”started its operation in 1992 and is housed in a building in the city centre of Rethymno next to the Archaeological Museum. The collection of the gallery comes from donations of collectors and artists such as Alexis Akrithakis, Petros Zoumboulakis and Lefteris Kanakakis. There are more than 500 permanent exhibits that showcase samples of 20th-century art, from abstraction and geometry to neo-expressionism, new representation, minimalism, object in space, conceptual art, photography, and others.
Historical & Folklore Museum of Rethymnon
The museum is housed within a restored 17th-century Venetian mansion, and the collection originates from donations and purchases. It numbers over 5.000 exhibits. The permanent exhibition areas extend into five rooms and mostly include traditional handicraft and folk art objects.
Arkadi Monastery Museum
The museum of the Arkadi Monastery houses a very remarkable collection of images from the post-Byzantine era, hierarchical vestments, weapons, handwritten codes and even personal belongings of the Abbot Gabriel. An important exhibit is also the wood-carved iconostasis of the Katholikon with a representation of the Resurrection, the only part that survived the burning of the monastery by the Turks. The banner of the holocaust bearing the representation of the Transfiguration of Christ is kept in a special display case. Finally, there is an extensive collection of weapons that includes, in addition to the well-known Kariophile, other Turkish weapons such as the Sisan.
Arkadi, 74100, Rethymno
Winter Season: Daily 09:00-18:00
Summer Season: Daily 08:00-20:00
Telephone: +30 28310 83116
Price Ticket: €2
*Opening hours and information subject to change.
Pottery Collection of Margarites
When heading east of the city of Rethymno, one will reach the village of Margarites and arrive at one of the most important pottery centres of Crete. This collection was organized by the Cultural Movement of Margarites in cooperation with the Modern Pottery Study Centre of Athens. Seeing the collection, one can learn a lot about the local art of pottery (which is also common in the whole of Crete), as well as about the work of the potter specifically. For example, a potter may only work for a brief period each year, from the 21st of May until the 15th of August.
The layouts of the stone workshops and the double spaced chimneys are well worth seeing, while one can also derive information on the different types of pots and the sorts of clays that were traditionally used. A rich collection of photographic material and drawings decorate the walls of the museum.
Margarites, 74052, Milopotamos, Rethymno
1 April – Mid-October: By telephone appointment
Tel.: +30 28340 29371
Price Ticket: Entrance Free
Potamianos Waxworks Museum
Οn the northern side of Mount Psiloritis, in the village of Zoniana, is the Museum of Wax Figures Potamianos. It was created on the initiative of the sculptor Dionysios Potamianos who dedicated many years of work to make the 104 wax figurines. The museum focuses thematically on personalities and snapshots from the History of Crete. The figures represent life-size prominent figures, such as Eleftherios Venizelos, Vitsentzos Kornaros, Dominikos Theotokopoulos and Nikos Kazantzakis, but also important periods, such as the actions of Nikiforos Fokas for the liberation of Crete. Until a few years ago, the 80-year old sculptor, Dionysis Potamianos, would welcome visitors and tour them around the museum himself. In recent years, Potamianos is no longer living in the village and their day to day operations are overseen by others.
Preveli Monastery Museum
Preveli Monastery is located south of Rethymno, near Preveli beach and is made up of two complexes, Kato (Lower) Monastery and Piso (Back) Monastery. The church museum is housed in a renovated vaulted building at the back of Kato Monastery. The collection includes objects from neighbouring monasteries, chapels and hermitages that have managed to be saved from looters. Old icons have been incorporated in the gilded iconostasis of the Katholikon of the Monastery. The visitor also has the opportunity to see images of Michael Prevelis and Mercury from Santorini. Many manuscripts are kept in the library of the Monastery. Even more objects of ecclesiastical content such as wood-carved crosses, gospels, silver disks are exhibited in the museum.
The Skinakas Observatory is located at the top of Mount Psiloritis at an altitude of 1,750 meters. It is a research facility, focused on researching Astrophysics. The first telescope came into operation in 1986. The second one, with a mirror diameter of 1,3 m., is the largest observatory in Greece and was first used in 1995. The observatory of Skinakas is a joined project of the University of Crete, the Foundation for Research and Technology (ITE) and the Max Planck Institut fur Extraterrestrische Physik of Germany. Also, it has excellent technological equipment. The Observatory is visited during the summer months, one Sunday in each month. The historic village of Anogia is located not far from the observatory, and visitors to the area may also want to stop at the cave of Ideon Andron, where Zeus grew up as an infant.
Summer Hours: one (1) Sunday of each month. For more information, be informed of the website of the Observatory.
Tel.: +30 2810 394238
Fax: +30 2810 394240