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Battle of Crete Museums – 6 of the best

Heraklion

Historical Museum of Crete (IMK)

The permanent WWII section of this private museum is Crete’s most significant exhibition related to the Battle and the occupation. Curated by Heraklion historian Costas Mamalakis it presents artefacts from the occupation, resistance activity, acts of sabotage and German war crimes, offering profound insights into the island’s wartime experience and the Crete’s four-year-long resistance against German occupation. Admission: €5. Tel. 281 028 3219 Summer opening hours: Monday, Wednesday – Friday: 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday: 11am-5pm. Closed Tuesdays .

Chania

Maritime Museum of Crete

Housed in the historic Firkas Fortress at the entrance to Chania’s Venetian Port, on its first floor the Maritime Museum of Crete has an important collection of artefacts related to the Battle of Crete, beside a rich collection of exhibits exploring the history of local seafaring from ancient times to the 20th century. Admission: €3. Openi 9am to 5pm daily. Tel. 28210 91875.

Kares, Askifou (Chania province)

Askifou War Museum

A visit to the private museum of the Hatzidakis family at the village of Kares is a must for any visitor to Crete interested in the island’s wartime history.Set in the Askifou Plain, 50km south of Chania, the museum contains more than 2000 objects related to the Battle of Crete and the occupation. The Hatzidakis collection offers not only an insight into the weapons used during the conflict, but many intriguing personal items – including letters, photographs and other memorabilia. Open daily. Tel. 697 782 7138. The museum has never received any government financial support or sponsorship, and is reliant on contributions from visitors, so a small donation is most welcome.

Rethymno

Military Museum of Chromonastiri

Housed in a fine 17th century Venetian villa in the hills 10km south of Rethymno city, this museum is owned and managed by the Greek military, and comprises a unique collection of memorabilia and photographs related to the Battle of Crete as well as Greece’s War of Independence.  Tel. 2831 075135. Open Tues-Fri 9am-3pm. Sun 10am-2pm.

Sougia (Chania province)

Sougia War Museum

Hidden up a flight of steps on the main road to the beach, this small lovingly kept museum has a unique collection of photographs and artefacts relating to ‘the Selino gang’ – the legendary resistance fighters of the area who were active in the area, particularly the villages that lie just north of Sougia – Koustoyerako, Livadas, and Moni –  in 1943 and 1944. If the door is locked ask for the key at the Rebetiko Taverna opposite (Tel. 2823 051510).

Platanias (Chania province)

War Tunnels of Platanias

Beside St Dimitrios church, this part of an underground labyrinth of tunnels was built by the Germans using Cretan slave labour during the occupation. Used to store ammunition, today it houses a fascinating collection of artefacts, photographs and weapons from the conflict. Usually open mornings and evenings. Closed Sundays. Tel. 693 241 7259

As Greece continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and with precautionary measures possibly in force, people wishing to visit museums and similar locations are advised to contact the organisation directly to confirm accessibility.

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