Ancient Eleftherna and the New Museum
After 30 years of excavation by the University of Crete, ancient Eleftherna gradually reveals a civilization that, for archaeologists, is comparable to importance to Knossos in Heraklion. In the roots of highest mountain of the island, Psiloritis, and only 25 km southeast from the city of Rethymno, close to Arkadi Monument, great findings of all the historical periods of the island have been recovered, a glorious city founded by the Dorians around the 9th c. B.C. The poet Linus, the philosopher Diogenes, the lyric poet Ametor, and the sculptor Timochares, creator of the famous statue Victory of Samothrace, were all natives of Eletherna.
Surrounded by olive trees, oaks, laurels and streams flowing east and west, the new museum of Eleftherna stands in the site of the excavations that took place over 30 years. It is a contemporary with interactivity on-site museum, in the archaeological park of ancient city overviewing the peak of Psiloritis mountain. It accommodates the amazing artefacts from prehistoric, geometric, archaic, classical, hellenistic, roman, early Byzantine and Byzantine period of its life. Afterall, Eleferna is recording the dawn of the Greek civilization, also mentioned in Homer's Iliad. Eleftherna Museum is the fourth largest on-site museum in Greece, after those of Olympia, Delphi and Vergina and is going to surprise us even more, as the plans are to change "clothing" every four or five years, in order to welcome the visitors with a different selection of artefacts and stories.
The building is consisted of three consecutive halls with exhibits related to the public, private and ritual life of ancient Eleftherna, characteristic of the timelessness of the city and Crete's presence in ancient Greek culture. "Trademark" of the Museum is an incredible jewel of 700 b. C. that represents the Golden Bee Goddess (Melissae) that fed with her honey the infant Zeus.
* Another wonderful location, next to the ruins of ancient Eleftherna is the homonymous gorge with dense vegetation and streams. Follow the way of the rebuilt path, after 1 hour walk ends in the village of Alfa.
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