Crete. Emerging cities: Aptera – Εleutherna – Knossos

Three ancient cities revived

Exhibition Duration

12 December 2018 - 30 April 2019


The Museum of Cycladic Art and the Regional Services of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports (Archaeological Ephorates of Chania, Rethymno, and Herakleion) are co-organizing the exhibition entitled “Crete. Emerging cities: Aptera ― Eleutherna ― Knossos. Three ancient cities revived” from 12 December 2018 to 30 April 2019.

The exhibition outlines the life of three cities, Aptera, Eleutherna, and Knossos, from their founding and development to their abandonment and rediscovery through recent archaeological investigation and excavation.

Approximately 500 artefacts, some newly excavated, others from old excavations but never presented to the public before, represent these three important cities of hekatompolis Crete (Crete of the one-hundred cities). Some of these artefacts illustrate personified narratives. It is also the first time that so many artefacts leave Crete for a temporary exhibition.

As Professor Nikos Stampolidis, Director of the Museum of Cycladic Art, states: 

“This exhibition is about cities that no longer exist, erased from memory, save perhaps for their name, which persists, often corrupted. Cities that died and were forgotten but later retrieved from oblivion, from the mists of myth and history, by people who remembered, who searched for them, fuelled by their love for and interest in the past, or for a variety of other reasons: cartographers, tourists, antiquarians, naturalists—Renaissance men. 

Cities re-discovered, brought to life again in the hands of archaeologists, diggers, technicians, and students, in the hands of all those who assist morally and practically in this discovery: the state services, foundations, organizations, private individuals. Cities reborn, revived, and populated by new citizens, the modern visitor.”

This exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion, the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno, the University of Crete – Museum of ancient Eleutherna Research Centre, and the British School at Athens – Knossos Stratigraphic Museum, with the participation of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens – Gennadius Library, the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation, and the Benaki Museum, who contributed Renaissance maps and books.

The exhibition is realized with the support of the Region of Crete.


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