Are you in Chania and want to explore the rich history and culture of the area? If yes, you are in luck. Chania is one of the most historical cities of Crete and an ideal destination for culture lovers. As a result, the city is full of incredible museums. Of course, a select few of them stand out. Keep reading to discover the best museums in Chania.
Did you know Chania is older than 3000 years? Previously known as Kydonia, the region of Chania was first inhabited around 1100 BC by Dorian Greeks.
However, some signs hint at the presence of local populations in the area already from the Neolithic era. Want to learn more?
All you have to do is visit the Archaeological Museum of Chania, and you will find answers to all your queries. The museum, although relatively small, has a rich collection of Minoan and Roman artifacts from the nearby area.
Keep in mind that the museum temporarily closed in 2020 and relocated to a new building in Halepa in June 2021. If you can, do not miss the chance to be one of the first visitors in the new sight.
If oceans and ships excite you, you have to visit the Maritime Museum of Crete. Located in the old Venetian Firka Fortress near the harbor of Chania, this museum depicts the naval tradition and history of Cretans. Here, you will explore the maritime history of the island.
The museum covers everything from prehistoric times and the Minoan era to the Greek revolution and modern times.
Next to the main collections, the museum is also home to a shell exhibition that shows the unique beauty and diversity of the sea life in Crete.
There is even a fully-equipped library on site. Finally, apart from all the exhibits, this building signifies the unification of Crete with Greece because it is here that Cretans first raised the Greek flag after unification in 1913.
All in all, your visit to the Maritime Museum of Crete will take you on a journey through history. This time, however, the voyage will be by sea rather than land.
So, prepare to discover the rich maritime history of Crete, sailor
For the lovers of Byzantine history out there, you don’t want to miss a visit to the Byzantine Museum of Chania.
Housed in the church of San Salvatore in the old town, this museum presents the historical and artistic background of Chania during the Byzantine and post-Byzantine period.
Your visit here will remind you of Crete’s long and much-disputed past.
Although small, the museum hosts a rich collection of local Byzantine artifacts, including statues, Venetian coins, jewelry, even tomb inscriptions.
What you will love the most, however, is the ambiance of the place.
As a deconsecrated 15-century Catholic church, the building features floor mosaic and wall frescoes that will make you travel back in time.
Apart from its rich history and culture, Greece is also proud of its national football team. Back in 2004, a so-called miracle took place in football history: Greece beat the 1 to 150 chances against them and unexpectedly won the European Cup.
The museum depicts this story, along with the history of Greek football.
Here, you can see jerseys of world-famous players, original balls of popular games, pennants, tickets, and much more.
The admission is free, and the owner of the museum will proudly guide you through his collections.
He will also ask you for your favorite team worldwide and then show you everything he has about the country and the club in his collection.
In short, you have to visit this museum if you are a football fan spending your holidays in Crete.
One of the best museums about printing and typography in Europe, the Chania Museum of Typography will surprise you with its rich displays and interactive exhibits.
The museum facilities include demonstrations, speakers, and multimedia presentations. In addition, you will find rare printing presses and other machines from the 19th century.
Most importantly, you will have the chance to do some hands-on printing on-site. If that is not enough, the museum also houses a library full of Cretan books and magazines from the 16th century onwards.
All in all, visiting the museum will equip you with interesting information and knowledge about typography, from the days of Gutenberg to our days.
Have you heard of Eleftherios Venizelos, the so-called “Maker of Modern Greece”?
Thanks to him, Crete managed to get autonomous status from the Ottoman empire and later unified with Greece.
If you want to learn more about this important historical figure, do not miss the chance to visit his family home in Elena Venizelou Square.
His house is now a modern museum that presents his life in detail. Apart from the original furniture, each room features information boards in both Greek and English.
You can even visit the garage and see the damaged car Venizelos drove during a failed assassination attempt in 1923.
There is so much to learn about Greece and its greatest statesman from this museum.
If visiting a city museum on a hot summer day is not your thing, worry not. The area of Chania is full of small but unique museums.
Hence, not only can you visit a museum in the countryside, but you will also explore the surroundings on your day trip there.
One museum that offers this possibility is the War Museum in Askyfou, about an hour’s drive from Chania.
This war museum is a dream come true and the creation of one man, George Harzidakis.
Since 1944, 14-year-old George has been collecting army material, mostly from Cretan fields, which were at the time full of war equipment after the Battle of Crete in 1941.
Once you are at the premises, he will give you a short explanation of all the exhibits, which you are welcome to explore yourself as long as you want.
Finally, admission is free, but you are encouraged to leave a donation to help the owner run the museum. In short, if you have a car, you will love this day trip to the village of Askyfou, and the visit to its War Museum.
If you are not fond of strolling around a museum, looking for exhibits that all look similar, consider a visit to the Minoan’s World 3D museum.
Here, history means entertainment. A 9D cinema will take you back in time with fully immersive special effects.
And if you are wondering what 9D cinema means, think of wind, bubbles, lightning, rain, fog, snow, even earthquakes.
Next to the thrilling 9D cinema, the premises also feature a 3D Museum with life-like statues made from silicon.
Using your smartphone’s camera, you will bring to life 3D art that will mesmerize you. In short, you will love all the interactive exhibits and cinema. Especially if you have kids, this museum is a must-go.