The spectacular new Archaeological Museum of Chania rivals those of Europe’s greatest capitals
There are many reasons to love Greece – and one of the first and foremost is its rich and compelling history. Lest we forget, Classical Greece gave birth to the seminal culture that provided the foundation of modern Western democracy, art, theatre, philosophy, and science – and for this reason, Greece is globally recognised as the cradle of Western Civilization.
If you are planning on visiting one of the country’s most historic – and that’s not to mention stunningly beautiful towns – Chania, in Crete, then you cannot miss the new Archaeological Museum of Chania: A feat of modern architecture in sync with its surroundings, the city’s latest gem features more than 3.500 pieces of spectacular art, crafts stelae, mosaics and sculptures, inviting you to travel back in time for a glimpse of life in antiquity.
The New Archaeological Museum of Chania exceeded a budget of 15 million euros, 14 million of which was covered by EU funding
Financed with EU funds, the impressive new institution has replaced the former Archaeological Museum of Chania which was founded in 1963 and was housed in the Venetian Monastery of Agios Fragiskos on Halidon Street, until 2020. Following a painstaking transfer of the treasure-laden collections to their latest home, the New Archeological Museum of Chania was inaugurated in the fall of 2021, with the addition of some 1.000 more exhibits – most coming from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ parents’ private collection of antiquities, which was donated to the Greek state.
Located in the former Hatzidakis camp in Halepa – a historic district, strewn with beautiful neoclassical mansions – the museum’s new single-story premises occupy almost 6.000 sq.m. in a 12.000 sq.m. plot. Designed by architect Theophanis Bobotis to blend with the landscape, the triangular bioclimatic building emerges from a hillside and projects out over the sea. Comprising two distinct linear monoliths, it aims to symbolize the evidence of civilization hidden under the earth’s surface. The impressive entrance features cobblestone and large concrete tiles, while the interiors are no less spectacular in their simplicity, with crisp, white walls contrasting with parquet floors; and open spaces that encourage the free flow of movement.
The museum includes restoration labs, a large room for educational activities and a 120-capacity amphitheatre, also accessible to visitors with reduced mobility. With an emphasis on inclusivity, two touch tables have been added in the atrium for the visually impaired as well.
Intended as a point of reference for Cretan culture, but also aiming to showcase the various different influences this great island incorporated throughout the centuries, the New Archeological Museum of Chania includes a substantial collection of Minoan and Roman artefacts excavated from around the city of Chania and the surrounding regional unit, as well as from Axos and Lappa in the Rethymno regional unit. In addition, covering a period from 4000 B.C. to 300 A.D., the Mitsotakis rich collection is exhibited in its entirety for the first time – some of the donated artefacts were previously displayed at the museum’s old premises on Halidon street, and had also travelled to the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens for a temporary exhibition.
As striking outside as it is on the inside, the recently launched new museum is the town’s latest go-to attraction for history buffs, art enthusiasts and architecture lovers, but also locals and visitors – whether it’s families travelling with their kids, couples or lone explorers.
At the Oscar Suites & Village, we couldn’t be prouder of our hometown’s novel addition – that’s why we would like to encourage all of you, our dear guests and friends to pay a visit to this wonderful museum as part of your well-rounded Chania experience. Until it is time to host you in our family-friendly hotel in the seaside resort of Agia Marina -Platanias, stay tuned to our blog for insights and ideas on how to make the most out of your stay in Crete.