Archeological Museum of Chania is housed in the katholikon of the Venetian monastery of St. Francis, one of the most important venitian buildings in the area (some documents related to the great earthquake of 1595 mention it as the biggest venetian building in the city of Chania). During the period of the Turkish occupation it was the Muslim mosque of Yussuf Pasha, the ottoman conqueror of Chania. In modern times it was used as a cinema (Cinema Idaion Andron) and even a storehouse for military equipment, after second world war. Since 1963 it has been functioning as the Archaeological Museum of Chania.
The permanent exhibition of the archeological Museum of Chania includes objects that provide an enduring image of the cultural history of Chania from the Neolithic period through the Roman period.
The exhibition is divided widthwise into two major sections: the eastern part, with artifacts of the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age (Minoan times), and, the western part with antiquities out of Iron Age (historical times). The findings are presented both according to excavation sets and themes. The collections include Minoan finds from the city of Chania, prehistoric finds from caves, Minoan finds from various parts of the county, finds from the graves of the Geometric period, historical discoveries from the city of Chania and several other towns (such as the ancient city of Kydonia, Idramia, Aptera, Polyrinia, Kissamos, Elyros, Irtakina, Syia, Lissos, Chania, Axos, and Lappa), coins, jewelry (prehistoric and historical times), sculptures, inscriptions, columns, mosaics.
What to see and not to miss in Archeological Museum of Chania
Major exhibits of the Archeological museum of Chania are:
- Clay sealing from Kasteli, near Chania, with a representation of a Minoan city and its patron deity. Dated to the second half of the 15th century B.C.
- Clay tablet inscribed with signs of the Linear A script from Kasteli near Chania, dated to 1450 B.C.
- Small clay tablets with texts in Linear B script, from Kasteli near Chania. Dated to 1300 B.C.
- Clay bathtub used as funerary larnax. It was found in a grave at the Koubes quarter of modern Chania and dates to 1300-1200 B.C.
- Clay pyxis with a representation of a kithara player. It comes from a chamber tomb in the area of Koiliaris in Kalyves-Aptera and dates to 1300-1200 B.C.
- Gold disks from a female pithos burial from Pelekapina near Chania. Dated to the Geometric period (early 9th century B.C.).
- Head of a clay figurine from a female burial in a family rock-cut tomb in the city of Chania. Dated to the end of the 4th century B.C.
- Clay figurine of a mourner from a subterranean rock-cut tomb in the city of Chania. Dated to the end of 4th or the beginning of the 3rd century B.C.
- Mosaic floor decorated with a representation of Dionysos and Ariadne. It was found in Chania and dates to the 3rd century A.D.
- Bust of the Roman emperor Hadrian. It is made of marble and comes from the Diktynna sanctuary. Dated to the 2nd century A.D.