Museum of Ancient Eleutherna

Top choice in Rethymno Province

ELEUTHERNA, CRETE, GREECE - March 19, 2019. Inside the museum of the archaeological site of ancient Eleutherna, Rethimno; Shutterstock ID 1387762328; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digital; full: poi

Shutterstock / Heracles Kritikos

A must-see for anyone visiting the ruins of Eleutherna is the accompanying modern museum that contextualises the ancient city through the exhibition of treasures unearthed at the site over the past 30 years. Located 3km from the ruins, and set over three rooms, the beautifully curated collection covers artefacts ranging from the early Iron Age and Minoan periods to Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine eras.

Its showpiece is the bronze shield with a protruding lion's head, unearthed from the Tomb of the Warriors and dating to the 8th century BC; it sits alongside a polished, gleaming replica of how it would have originally looked. Other artefacts excavated from the necropolis include beautiful ceramic vases and ornaments, detailed gold pendants and marble statuettes, all with exquisite artisanship and much that has retained its colour.