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Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection of Chania

Last Update: Nov 2013
82, Theotokopoulou Street, San Salvatore Venetian Church, 73100 CHANIA , CRETE , GREECE
Tel.: +30 28210 96046 , Fax: +30 28210 96046
Opening hours:
01Jun - 31Oct Tue-Sun, 0900-1600
01Nov - 31May Tue-Sun, 0800-1500

Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection of Chania - Overview

  The rich archaeological material yielded by excavations conducted over many years by the 13th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities in the county of Chania, and also by retrieval of material and donations, forms a Collection that records, with great clarity, the history of the westernmost county in Crete from the Early Christian times to the period of Turkish rule. Representative examples of this Collection are displayed in the church of San Salvatore. Built on the west side of the fortress of Chania, next to the bastion of the same name, the church was the katholikon of the Franciscan monastery of San Salvatore. The cloister (chiostro) that housed the cells of the monks is still preserved on the south side of the monument. The extensive restoration of the church made it possible to identify more clearly the various building phases of the monument, unify the space, and display its austere, uncluttered architectural features to good effect. The original church, which probably dates from the 15th century, was the small domed section on the east side. In the 16th century, this was extended to the west, following the same type of a vaulted hall with strainer arches. At the end of the Venetian period (middle of the 17th century), the church was extended to the north by the addition of two rectangular rooms with an entrance on the west side. These rooms, in which a limited use of Gothic motives can be observed, were roofed by cross-vaults and communicate with the nave by means of large archways. Under the Turkish domination, the church was converted into a mosque, the original church being detached and a sanctuary apse (mihrab) created at the south-west corner of the south aisle.
  The aim behind the presentation of this material is to sketch the historical and artistic profile of the county of Chania during Byzantine and post-Byzantine times. The exhibits have been divided into groups based on the kind of object: mosaics, funerary inscriptions, wall-paintings, icons, architectural sculptures, ceramics and items of minor arts, and coins. The objects in each unit are presented in chronological order. Maps and explanatory panels inform visitors about the provenance of the items on display and the historical background of their period.

  Some of the most important exhibits of the Collection are:
• Part of a mosaic floor of an Early Christian basilica with a depiction of a deer and a vine. 6th century.
• Two-zone column-capital decorated with acanthus leaves and birds. 6th century.
• Gold pendant with a bead of glass-paste. 6th-7th century.
• Bronze lamp with handle decoratd with a cross and a winding tendril. 6th-7th century.
• Jugs. 6th-7th century.
• Two-sided closure panel with representations of animals and plants and crosses on the narrow sides. 8th-9th century.
• Part of a wall-painting with a depiction of Saints Merkourios and Mamas. 11th century.
• Pair of bronze earrings from a female tomb. 11th-12th century.
• Grosso of Doge Pietro Gradenigo (1289-1311).
• Sherd of a glazed vase with a depiction of a human figure. 15th - 1st half of 17th century.
• Apotropaic horned mask. 16th-17th century.
• Votive inscription with coats-of-arms of Venetian families from the town of Chania (1623). The inscription read as follows: "...the governor Jacopo Palma, and all his infantry and cavalry forces had this monument erected in the year of Christ 1623, in honour of this great man, who courageously resisted the enemy in battle, the founder of peace, the just ruler".
• Icon with a depiction of Saint George on horseback slaying the dragon. By the painter Emmanuel Tzanes (1660-1680).
• Bronze lamps. 17th century.

Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection of Chania - Map

Executives & Departments

  • Information office, Tel.: 28210 56119, 28210 53033, Fax: 28210 56118, Email:  
    28th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, 24 Sourmeli Street, Chania

Principals / HQ / participations...

Activities / facilities / services / specialization


Art & culture

Museum • Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Museum
Visiting Information • Fixed hours / Admission fee
Museum exhibits • Architectural parts • Frescoes • Icons • Inscriptions • Reliefs • Coins
Periods of the exhibits • Byzantine period, AD 324-1453 • Venetian period in Crete, 1204-1669 • Ottoman period, 1453-1821

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