The Archaeological Museum
is located in the historical centre of the city.
It is housed in the former temple (katholikon) of the medieval Franciscan monastery, one of the most important monuments of the Venetian period in Crete (1211-1669).
During the period of the Ottoman occupation, the building was converted into a mosque. Its operation as a museum was established in 1963.
The museum galleries host antiquities recovered from the city of Chania and the wider region of western Crete, which cover a time span from the Neolithic
to the Roman periods (4th millenium BC - 3rd century AD), thus presenting a diachronical picture of the historical and cultural evolution of the region.
1/3 of the exhibits derive from the Mitsotakis Collection which has been donated to the Museum in 2006.
The museum collections include:
• Late Neolithic finds mainly from caves and Bronze Age finds from Minoan settlements and cemeteries.
• Finds of the historical antiquity derived mainly from cemeteries but also from various habitational sites.
Among the most important exhibits of the museum are:
• The clay "seal of the Ruler (Hegemon)" with a unique pictorial representation of a Minoan landscape - perhaps the Kastelli hill.
The center of the scene occupies a building complex, on the roof of which dominates a male figure holding a spear or rod
(a ruler or a divinity). Found on the Kastelli hill at Chania (second half of the 15th century BC).
• Early Minoan bird-shaped vessel
• Clay model of a ship
, dated to the Old Palace Period (1900-1700 BC).
• Clay tablets archive inscribed with Linear A and B scripts. Dated to the Neopalatial (New Palace) and Postpalatial periods (1450-1300 BC). From Kastelli at Chania.
• Clay vessel (pyxis) with the representation of a kitharodos (citharist). It comes from a chamber tomb in the area of Koiliaris at Kalyves- Aptera and dates to the Postpalatial period.
• Gold disks from a female pithos burial. From Pelekapina near Chania. Dated to the Geometric period (early 9th century BC).
• Mosaic floor with a representation of Dionysos and Ariadne
Found in the city of Chania (3rd century AD).
• Marble bust of the Roman emperor Hadrian
. From the Diktynna sanctuary (2nd century AD).