Traditional Naval Architecture at the Nautical Museum of Crete
The very well appointed and scientifically founded permanent exhibition of ancient and traditional naval architecture awaits its visitors at the Nautical Museum of Crete in Chania, which has been open to the public since April 1st.
The Nautical (or Naval) Museum of Crete is also trying to restore the Neorion (Venetian Arsenal) that houses the exhibition. The project – of 50,000 Euros – is managed by the Polytechnic School of Crete but in order to make it materialize, sponsors are urgently needed.
The main reconstructions that took place when the north-eastern arsenal (Neorion) was chosen included the restoration of the ground floor, the entrance door, and the sealing of the roof. The latter was of significant importance as the officials managed to limit the wear of the monument.
The first exhibition took place two years ago when the “Sea Routes” was launched. Afterward, the permanent collection of ancient and traditional naval architecture was exhibited there.
The Minoan Ship
The major exhibit is the fully equipped Minoan Ship, as well as other models and pictures. Items such as relics, objects found in the bottom of the sea, paintings, maps, nautical equipment, and more are also on display.
The President of the Museum, Constantinos Manioudakis, indicated that the main goal is to radically restore Neorion and maintain and preserve its heritage. The director of the Museum, Stylianos Falieros, refered to the Minoan Ship as well, emphasizing its importance.
The Minoan Ship is a theoretical version of the original ancient ship, since until now we haven’t found a wreck that will demonstrate the exact way Minoans used to build their ships. It is scientifically founded and justified, because the experimental trip proved that it can sail safely, protecting its crew. It is 17m long and 4m wide, and is made of cypress tree’s trunks, and 22m long. During the Minoan Era, there was no way to merge trunks, therefore solid and seamless trunks were used.
The ship participated in the Torch Relay during the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 and in the exhibition of rowing ships, as well as in other events that took place in the Chania Gulf.
The exhibition also houses two more vessels of traditional architecture, as well as tools used by naval architects and builders.
Visiting the Naval Museum in Chania
According to Efi Perdika, the curator of the exhibition, the first signs were quite encouraging, as more than 10,000 adult visitors and 5,000 children came to the museum last year. She believes that despite the current crisis, this number will be exceeded. Comments written in the visitors’ book suggest that visitors are indeed very satisfied with the exhibition.
The Naval Museum in Chania is open from 10am to 3pm and 6pm-8pm, and summer schedule will be announced. Entrance fee costs 2 Euros for the adults, 1 for students and pupils, while entrance is free to children under the age of 7.