The Sitia Archaeological Museum is considered to be one of the best museums in Crete and was opened to the public in 1984. Nikos Papadakis, a Cretan archaeologist, founded it. It is the home of many essential artefacts from eastern Crete such as Palekastro, Pseira, Pithoid jar, and Black Figure Kantharos. Palekastro is a 0.50 metre-high gold and ivory statue that came from Sitia. Pseira is a stirrup jar that has a marine type of decoration. These exhibits are from the Minoan, Geometric, Archaic, and Greco-Roman periods. It is open from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, except Tuesdays. The entrance fee is €3 for all visitors and €2 for senior citizens and students. The best time to visit Sitia is during summer, as there are more routes that connect Crete to other islands in Greece. Tourists rated the museum 4.5 out of 5 mainly because despite it being small, the museum is very neat and organised.
Sitia in which Sitia Archaeological Museum is located is a sparsely populated area with monasteries, historical ruins, palm-forested beaches, dazzling bays, and exciting mountain climbs. Tourists visit Sitia Archaeological Museum because of its great appeal due to its display of archaeological discoveries and artefacts. Sitia Archaeological Museum also has an adjacent tourist destination. In 2018 alone, the island of Crete welcomed more than 5 million tourists. Tourists’ itinerary often includes the beach and the mountainous tours but of course, for a historic experience also visit Crete’s museums that house historic discoveries such as Sitia Archaeological Museum. For a more exclusive, organised, and time-worthy exploration on the island of Crete especially when visiting archaeological sites, a car rental in Crete is the best option. It will give you ample time to reflect and understand the culture, and appreciate the artefacts, and the palace itself. Sitia Archaeological Museum displays Minoan artefacts, Zakros exhibitions, Geometric and Archaic Periods exhibits, and displays from the Greco-Roman era which all carry purpose and role during the Minoan time.
Where is the Sitia Archaeological Museum located?
Sitia Archaeological Museum is located at Sitia – Piskokephalos National Road, 72300 Sitia, Lassithi, Greece. One hundred years after the Italian Archaeological School’s first recognised unearthing in the region, Sitia Archaeological Museum opened its doors in 1984. The greatest and most valuable collection of its displays is made up of several artefacts from the Minoan palace of Kato Zakros, including some works of art. The gold and ivory figure from the Minoan city of Palekastro is the collection’s most well-known piece.
What are the artefacts displayed in Sitia Archaeological Museum?
The most significant discoveries from eastern Crete are housed in Sitia Archaeological Museum. The museum also features workshops, storerooms, offices for personnel and researchers, and exhibition spaces. The exhibit’s explanatory labels are written in five different languages. One of the best Archaelogical museums in Crete is Sitia Archaeological Museum, which houses artefacts from Sitia Province and Lassithi’s surrounding region. Thirty display cases, organised into four sections, house the exhibits dating from 3500 BC to 500 AD.
Listed below are the artefacts displayed in Sitia Archaeological Museum.
- Minoan Artefacts: The best-preserved and most illuminating surviving examples of Minoan art are its pottery, paintings, palace architecture (with frescos that feature the earliest pure landscape anywhere), small sculptures in various materials, jewellery, and metal vessels, and intricately carved seals. The Bronze Age Minoan civilisation of Crete exhibits a love of animal, sea, and plant life embedded in the artefacts.
- Zakros Exhibitions: Zakros exhibitions, which include numerous Minoan-era artefacts from the Palace of Kato Zakros, are one of the most significant collections of archaeological riches on display in the Sitia Archaeological Museum. A bronze saw and big jars with clear signs of fire from the conflagration that destroyed the palace are among the artefacts.
- Geometric and Archaic Periods Exhibits: Greek art became more naturalistic and less strictly stylised throughout the Archaic era. Vase paintings progressed from geometric patterns to depictions of real beings, frequently serving as illustrations for epic stories. The prominence of geometric motifs in vase painting gave rise to the moniker “Geometric Period”. As grave markers, monumental kraters and amphorae were created and embellished.
- Displays from the Greco-Roman Era: The Greco-Roman Era has attained harmony and calm in its works of art, as well as idealised and realistic characters that depict daily activities or heroic figures. Architecture is the part of the Greco-Roman Era and culture that has left the biggest imprint on contemporary files.
1. Minoan Artefacts
The best-preserved and most illuminating surviving examples of Minoan art are its pottery, paintings, palace architecture (with frescos that feature the earliest pure landscape anywhere), small sculptures in various materials, jewellery, and metal vessels, and intricately carved seals. The Bronze Age Minoan civilisation of Crete exhibits a love of animal, sea, and plant life embedded in the artefacts. These elements were utilised to embellish frescoes and ceramics and served as inspiration for the shapes of jewellery, stone vessels, and sculpture. The flowing, realistic lines and patterns that Minoan artists loved to create have a vibrancy that cannot be found in current East art. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, Minoan art provides important information on the social, religious, and burial customs of one of the first cultures in the ancient Mediterranean. Some Minoan Artefacts that are housed in Sitia Archaeological Museum are a variety of paintings, pottery, and sculptures.
Below are sample images of Minoan Artefacts.
Agios Onouphrios ware pottery.
Vasiliki style Minoan jug
Minoan clay bottle showing an Octopus.
Praying woman, Minoan figurine.
Minoan fresco, commonly known as the “Prince of the Lilies”.
Octopus frieze, Knossos.
2. Zakros Exhibitions
Zakros exhibitions, which include numerous Minoan-era artefacts from the Palace of Kato Zakros, are one of the most significant collections of archaeological riches on display in the Sitia Archaeological Museum. Big jars with clear signs of fire from the conflagration that destroyed the palace and a bronze saw are among the artefacts. Zakros Palace was constructed in 1900 BC, around the same period as Knossos and the other Minoan palaces. However, an earthquake destroyed the first palace, and a new one was built in its place in 1600 BC. Around 1450 BC, the second palace was finally destroyed by a fire, and it was never rebuilt. Thus, leaving some artefacts with the marks of fire on them. The smallest Minoan palace, Zakros is nearly five times smaller than Knossos, and thanks to its proximity to Egypt, Cyprus, and the Middle East, it became a significant centre for trade and military activities.
Below are sample images of Zakros Exhibitions.
Rock-crystal ritual vessel found in Zakros.
Big jars with remnants of the fire.
The Palekastro Kouros, is a gold-and-ivory statuette which has been badly damaged by fire.
3. Geometric and Archaic Periods Exhibits
Greek art became more naturalistic and less strictly stylised throughout the Archaic era. Vase paintings progressed from geometric patterns to depictions of real beings, frequently serving as illustrations for epic stories. The phrase “archaic period” refers to the early stages of culture in history and archaeology. It is most usually used by art historians to refer to the time of growth in Greece between approximately 650 and 480 BC when the Persians sacked Athens. On the other hand, Greece’s Dark Age came to an end during the Geometric Period, which spanned from 900 to 700 BCE. The prominence of geometric motifs in vase painting gave rise to the moniker “Geometric Period”. As grave markers, monumental kraters and amphorae were created and embellished. Geometric and Archaic Period Exhibits in Sitia Archaeological Museum are composed of art, pottery, human figures, and animal figures.
Below are sample images of Geometric and Archaic Periods Exhibits.
Seated male figure.
Geometric horse statuette.
Terracotta dinos (mixing bowl).
4. Displays from the Greco-Roman Era
The Greco-Roman Era has attained harmony and calm in its works of art, as well as idealised and realistic characters that depict daily activities or heroic figures. Architecture is the part of the Greco-Roman Era and culture that has left the biggest imprint on contemporary files. In the Greco-Roman Era, artistic achievements are notable. It was because and during the Greco-Roman Era that the art of Ancient Greece and Rome became an essential component in investigations. Investigation of the manner in which gendered bodies and sexual differences are conceived of and transmitted visually because of the priority placed on the classical body in the European culture. Thus, artefacts from the Greco-Roman Era are mostly a depiction of body presentation, as evident in the statutes and tablets of writings.
Below are sample images of displays from the Greco-Roman Era.
Akhnaton Prayer Relief Fragment
Babylonian Spirit House
How was the Sitia Archaeological Museum preserved?
Sitia Archaeological Museum is preserved well. The initiative to preserve Sitia Archaeological Museum is pushed by the Greek state to preserve and maintain the historic value of Sitia Archaeological Museum through reconstruction, reassembly, removal, and excavation, as well as artefact interpretation. In general, the Council of Europe, the legislation provides that from the beginning of the modern Greek State’s foundation, the preservation of cultural assets such as the Sitia Archaeological Museum was a state duty. Law 3028/2002, “On the Protection of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage in General”, is the primary piece of legislation governing the protection of cultural heritage. It establishes a thorough and detailed system of protection regarding both movable and immovable monuments and artefacts, as well as the intangible heritage.
What are the nearby attractions in the Sitia Archaeological Museum?
Sitia in which Sitia Archaeological Museum is located is a sparsely populated area with monasteries, historical ruins, palm-forested beaches, dazzling bays, and exciting mountain climbs. The nearby villages of Zou, Ziros, and Handras– all bustling with modern activity– abandoned Ethia, and the area around Karydi– to name a few, all have great appeal due to their historic structures and archaeological discoveries. Sitia Archaeological Museum also has an adjacent tourist destination.
Listed below are the nearby attractions in Sitia Archaeological Museum.
- Folk Museum of Sitia: The Folklore Museum of Sitia was founded by the educational and cultural organisation “Vitsentzos Kornaros” in 1975. The Folklore Museum of Sitia includes numerous significant folklore artefacts, primarily hand-woven textiles, embroidery, regional costumes, and furniture.
- Kazarma Fortress: The Kazarma Fortress is visible from the shore and towers over the city. The Casa di Arma, also known as Kazarma, was constructed by the Venetians as the guard barracks in the 13th century. Kazarma Fortress served as Sitia’s primary defensive stronghold by frequent pirate raids and encroaching troops severely devastated it. It was partially damaged by a local earthquake in 1303, and although it was restored, it never regained its full strength.
What is the contribution of the Sitia Archaeological Museum to Crete Tourism?
The Sitia Archaeological Museum contributes a significant amount to Crete Tourism. Tourists pay €3, €2 for senior citizens and students upon visiting Sitia Archaeological Museum. Greece’s largest island, Crete, is a diverse and energetic place full of historic sites, bustling cities, and gorgeous coastlines. Although many visitors come for the sun, sea, and sand, there is much more to do in Crete than what is usually included in vacation packages, such as visiting Petra Archaeological Site for a historic experience. More than 5 million tourists arrived in Crete in 2018, accounting for nearly one-sixth of all visitors to Greece, and 20% of all tourism-related revenue was earned there. Following the threat of COVID-19, the number of tourist visits not just to Sitia Archaeological Museum but on the island of Crete has significantly slowed down. Thus, Covid-19 has affected the tourism industry, but countries and travel destinations are slowly opening and operating with the maximum safety possible to revive tourism.
Can you rent a car to get to the Sitia Archaeological Museum?
Yes, renting a car is a necessity to get around Crete, especially when visiting the Sitia Archaeological Museum. Renting a car when visiting Crete is an advantage to go around the island and maximise time. There are tourist destinations in Crete that public transportation does not stop at. Public transportation sometimes only stops at the nearest station to these attractions, so tourists take a taxi to take them to their destination. Thus, Car Rental Crete should be considered when planning to visit the island, especially when planning to go around different archaeological sites such as Sitia Archaeological Site for a better experience, convenience, and appreciation of the destinations by travelling exclusively.
What are the factors to consider before renting a car in Crete?
There are buses and taxis available that tourists can use to travel around Crete. But another type of transportation is Car Rental, which is a more private mode of transportation. Car rental, most of the time, is a must when going around and travelling in Crete. Tourists need a car for them to be able to reach tourist destinations they wish to visit. There are different car rental companies that tourists can opt to rent their car in Crete during their stay. It is a great option for those who want private transportation when going to their destination, especially during the pandemic.
Listed below are the things to consider before renting a car in Crete.
- Insurance: Make sure that the car has insurance that will cover the damage that may be caused by any possible accidents.
- Driver’s Age: To rent a car in Crete, the driver should be at least over 21 years old and hold a driver’s licence for at least 12 months.
- Driver’s Gender: Some tourists can be picky regarding who will be their driver. The gender of the driver is one of the things that tourists consider, as many people believe that men are better drivers than women. There are no restrictions on gender for driving in Crete.
- Car Type: There are different car types that are available to be rented. Each type caters to a different number of passengers and the amount of bags they can carry.
- Documents: Other than having a driving licence, a debit or credit card is a must to rent a car. A debit or credit card with the tourist’s name is needed to provide the rental car company guarantee.
How much does a car rental in Crete cost?
Crete Car Rental costs depend on how many days that car will be rented, the number of passengers, and the type of car that will be rented. Crete Car Rental for a week can cost around €250. Day trips and night trips in Crete will cost about €30 to €40. It can be used for a week with unlimited mileage and four-seaters. The rental cars are manual transmission, air-conditioned, and have four doors. The rented car should be returned to the company with the same amount of fuel as at the start of the trip to avoid charges.
Are children permitted at the Sitia Archaeological Museum?
Yes, children are permitted at the Sitia Archaeological Museum, but parents are encouraged to be vigilant about the children’s actions to preserve and protect the artefacts that are available and displayed at Sitia Archaeological Museum. As Sitia Archaeological Museum provides you with the opportunity to explore and become knowledgeable about the artefacts displayed at the museum, children can surely enjoy the visit. Taking the tour of the Sitia Archaeological Museum is a fun activity for children when visiting Crete with kids. However, there are other Fun Places in Crete to Take Your Kids for a memorable, fun-filled, worthy, and enjoyable visit in Crete.