For guests of Fodele Beach & Water Park Holiday Resort interested in the history of Crete, the Museum of Ancient Eleutherna within the archaeological park of Eleutherna is a must-see attraction. Located about 25 kilometers south of the coastal town of Rethymno, Eleutherna is a unique site in all of Crete.
Set somewhere between the famous Arkadi Monastery and the village of Margarites, the archaeological site of Ancient Eleutherna (sometimes spelled Eleftherna) occupies an area of about 13 acres. Known in ancient times as Apollonia, this was actually a city-state that flourished from primeval Greek times until the Byzantine rule. Eleutherna is one of the few cities that minted its own coins in the fourth century BC. Also, the city leveraged its might in a battle against Knossos and Rhodes back in the third century BC.
Visitors to the site will see ruins of Hellenistic walls and buildings, as well as Roman structures and an Early Christian basilica. There’s also an ancient necropolis (cemetery) from the Late Geometric and Archaic Periods, along with remnants of a Hellenistic settlement to be discovered.
The Eleutherna Bridge, not far from the city, is another noteworthy attraction dating from the Hellenistic period. Cut from unmortared limestone, this is a well-preserved Greek corbel arch bridge with a unique opening in the shape of an isosceles triangle.
At the Museum of Ancient Eleutherna, which only opened its doors in June 2016, visitors can appreciate archeological finds from the site of Eleutherna. This is the first museum on Crete that emulates the style of those at Olympia on the Peloponnese, at Delphi on the mainland, and Vergina in Macedonia. The permanent collection of the museum counts roughly 15,000 artifacts unearthed by the archaeologists from the necropolis and the site of Eleutherna.
Step in, to marvel at discoveries from as far back as 3000 BC to the Byzantine period. The vast collection displays art objects, items of daily life, as well as sacred and cultural pieces. The new museum also features interactive displays for educating guests about the culture and tradition of Crete’s early history. Also, since excavations are ongoing, new items are continually placed in the museum. Among the most noteworthy artifacts in the museum, the legendary archaic sculpture of the Kore (maiden) of Eleutherna (circa 650 BC) compared by historians and ancient art experts with the Lady of Auxerre (Kore of Auxerre) – another Cretan limestone statuette, currently on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The Museum of Ancient Eleutherna is organized in three areas of interest, the first depicting artifacts imported from outside Crete, the second focused on Eleutherna, and a third dedicated to the necropolis of Orthi Petra and the burial customs of the Homeric Greece.
Eleutherna is the birthplace many outstanding personalities including the poet Linos, philosopher Diogenes, and the tragic poet Ametor, not to mention the famous sculptor Timochares. It is a place of ancient archeological wonders, as well as a picturesque location at the northwest foot of Mount Ida, a take-home memory we would like all of our guests to experience.