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Elefterna and its museum

The ancient city of Elefterna is located 380 m above sea level, on the foothills of Psiloritis, in the heart of the island of Crete. Your stay on the island must absolutely go through this place. He is unique... 

Elefterna was discovered through research by the University of Crete from 1865.

The secrets of Ancient Elefterna date back to 3000 BC The discovery ofthe necropople of ORTHI PETRAshowed that from the time of the Iron Age the area was occupied and that it was one of the most important cities of Crete, directly associated with Greek civilization and Homer. (the Illiad and the Odyssey).

This is the reason why this region was chosen to develop an archaeological park, create hikes, rest areas and a vast reminder of history. This place is unique in Crete.

The museum


It occupies an area of almost 2000 m2 with its showrooms, warehouses and laboratories. Among the most interesting pieces that the new museum exhibits are  inscriptions that date back to 500 BC. AD, discovered last summer. The exhibits are the testimonies  of the evolution of the ancient city of Elefterna, its periods of apogee but also of decline.


At the same time, they shed light on the different aspects of public and private life, religious practices and funerary customs. The exhibition also includes objects imported from other regions of the Mediterranean, objects that point to the importance of trade between these geographical areas during antiquity.

Located in the heart of the island of Crete, about 30 kilometers from Rethymno, and in the slopes of Mount Idathe archaeological site  offers a magnificent view of the sea.


Time had completely erased its traces, so much so that when the Ministry of Culture in 1985 granted the University of Crete permission to dig, no one could imagine that un palimpsest* would be found.  Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and Early Christian Byzantine prints bear witness  to a constant human presence in the region since the third millennium BC.

The main promoter of the opening of the museum in the same archaeological site is professor Nikos Stampolidis, a Greek archaeologist who shares his life between excavations in Crete and the management of Cycladic Art Museum in Athens. While inspecting the excavations, for more than a quarter of a century, Stampolidis and his team have discovered hundreds of objects, remains and ruins of the houses and have brought to light the untold stories of many of the people buried there. 2800 years old, in the necropolis of Elefterna.

 ''We wanted Elefterna to become a model for how an archaeological site is presented. We intervened discreetly to evacuate the noise of the cars in order to preserve the purity and respect the tranquility of the landscape. Almost everything here is done by hand and a lot by ourselves, the archaeologists and all those who work in the excavation,'' said archaeologist Stampolidis, while expressing his belief that the project of _cc781905-5cde- 3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_Elefterna will attract a large number of visitors every year.

Stampolidis chose two symbols for Elefterna and the museum: the first being a golden bee, which refers to the hard work of his team to realize this dream and because the first traces of the cult of this insect were found in the ancient times. And the second is a "shield" which represents the head of a lion   and symbolizes the strength to protect the ideas and values of this effort.

The exhibition will be divided into three units to be able to accommodate  15,000 discoveries. The first large room will be dedicated to the city and its history from 3000 BC until the period Byzantine, the second to the customs and traditions of the city and the third will be devoted to the necropolis.

* a palimpsest: (du grec ancien παλίμψηστος / palímpsêstos, «_cc781905 -5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_gratté de nouveau ») est un manuscrit constitué d'un parchemin_cc781905- 5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_already used, whose inscriptions have been removed in order to be able to write to them again.

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