Whenever the guide books mention a significant archaeological find in Crete, they almost always go on to mention that “the original is now in the Archaeological Museum at Heraklion”. So it seemed right for us to make the museum the very first of our sightseeing stops, to gain some sort of understanding of Crete’s history, and in particular the ancient Minoan period represented in the finds at the Palace of Knossos.

Bus services along the Northern coastal road are frequent, and our journey from Rethymno to Iraklio was easy enough to arrange. Tickets are bought from the bus station, and services are provided by fleets of modern air-conditioned coaches. The journey took almost two hours, depositing us at Iraklio’s Bus Station ‘A’ near the port. The museum is a few minutes walk uphill from there.

I thought the museum was incredibly well presented. Although it’s an old building dating back to the 1930s, recent refurbishment was completed in 2014. The glass on the display cabinets is immaculately clean, and so well lit that the front glass almost vanishes from view, convincing you that the displayed objects are within reach of your touch. Here’s a very small sample of the 27 exhibition rooms spread over two floors…