This weekend Crete’s Governor Stavros Arnaoutakis was joined by Heraklion MP Dr. Nikos Igoumenidis and other officials for the opening of the new Archaeological Museum of Mesara. The event debuted the stunning “Islands of the Winds” exhibition, which projects to visitors the full extent of the nautical culture of the prehistoric Aegean.
The new Archaeological Museum of Mesara is situated in the Gortys Municipality is an almost €12 million euro project by P&C Development S.A. for the creation of a multifaceted and ultra-modern complex in the center of Crete’s picturesque Mesara Valley. Organized by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Heraklion and the Institute of Classical Archaeology of the University of Heidelberg in cooperation with the Region of Crete, the museum opening gave a preview of what visitors can expect when the permanent exhibitions go live.
With beautiful and highly detailed models depicting Minoan Civilization maritime power, the new exhibition captivated two hundred or more archaeologists, government officials, and cultural and history enthusiasts attending the Saturday opening. Crete Region Governor Stavros Arnaoutakis was joined by Heraklion MP Nikos Igoumenidis, who addressed reporters later in the program.
Also attending were Dr. Vassiliki Sithiakaki, Director of the Heraklion Ephorate of Antiquities, Knossos Curator Dr. Kostis Christakis, Dr. Popi Galanaki, Dr. Athanasia Kanta, and many other key stakeholders, experts, and decision-makers of involved in Crete’s antiquities studies. Dr. Diamantis Panagiotopoulos, the distinguished Director of the Institute of Classical Archaeology of the University of Heidelberg who personally guided visitors through the new museum on Saturday, had this to say before the opening:
“A key objective of this exhibit is to go beyond the more narrow framework and purely archaeological approach, to present a more comprehensive and easily understood display of navigation in the Aegean in the 3rd and 2nd millennium B.C.”
Dr. Panagiotopoulos went on to discuss how the museum exhibit lays out in intricate detail the geographical background, social and economic conditions, administrative organization, and especially the technological progress the Minoans carried out in their shipbuilding sector. This technical superiority illustrated in the form of beautiful models of Minoan vessels and the shipbuilding yards at Kommos and other centers conveys for the first time a true sense of the importance of Bronze Age maritime traditions and the powerful Minoan influence.
The nautical exhibit runs from January 26th until August 31st of 2020, when another traveling exhibition will take its place among the permanent exhibitions at the almost 3,000 square meter facility.