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  • An exemplary modern museumAn exemplary modern museum© Μουσείο Καζαντζάκη

Nikos Kazantzakis Museum

One of the few literature museums in the country is exclusively dedicated to the life and work of great Cretan writer Nikos Kazantzakis. Situated in the historical village of Myrtia, just 15km from the city of Heraklion, the recently renovated Museum of Nikos Kazantzakis impresses with its sophisticated structure and aesthetics. 

Additional Info

  • Type - Category: Museum
  • Address: Myrtia, Heraklion
  • Telephone: +30 2810 741689
  • Working Hours:

    March – October: everyday from 9am to 5pm

    November – February: Sundays 10am-3pm

  • Visit Duration: 45 minutes - 1 hour
  • Entrance Fee:

    General entrance €3

    students €2

    people with disabilities & children under the age of 18: free

  • Audio guide: Yes
  • People with disabilities: accessible
  • Parking: You'd better leave your car near the entrance to the village, then the streets becomes narrower
  • How to go:

    Car, bus (KTEL, you will find detailed instruction in the Museum website)

Cretazine Tips

  • You can read the biography of Nikos Kazantzakis on the Museum's website. But we still think that the best way to get to know him is by reading his books!
  • The village of Myrtia was once called “Varvari” (meaning 'barbarians'), because according to a theory it used to be the 'base' of vicious pirates. According to another theory, the 'barbarians' were Saracen Arabs who escaped the army of Nikiforos Fokas and settled here. There is also a third theory claiming that the name refers to the first inhabitant of the village, the Venetian Lord Barbaro.  
  • If after feeding your spirit you want to also feed your body we suggest you make a stop to the village of Skalani. There are several traditional taverns and even gourmet restaurants in the entrance and the main square of the village. If you just want a quick bite, there are several souvlaki stores around the Museum.
 
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An exemplary Museum of literature receives international recognition and then finds itself in danger of being shut down...

If you take a walk around the village you will notice unusual street names, such as Don Quixote. They are all inspired by Nikos Kazantzakis, the titles of his books, his main literary characters, the places he lived and the people he met.  

The Museum was founded in 1983 by set and costume designer Yiorgos Anemoyiannis, a pioneering figure in Greek theatre who was also related to the Kazantzakis family. 

Anemoyannis chose the birthplace of Kazantzakis’ father, Captain Michalis, to create the Museum. The second wife of Kazantzakis, Eleni, actively participated in this effort. Its renovation was funded by the EU and the Ministry of Culture and was completed in 2009. 

The Museum accepts dozens of visitors everyday from Greece and abroad who come to learn more about the astounding personality of the writer through his personal correspondence, manuscripts, diaries, travel souvenirs and other personal items. The collection also includes rare photographic material, models, costumes and other material from theatrical adaptations of his work, rare audiovisual material and works of art inspired by his work.

The visit starts with a 20 minute documentary screening (available in six languages –just ask the person in the counter) on life and work of Nikos Kazantzakis. Your experience will be enriched with interactive audiovisual displays, including scenes from films that were based on Kazantzakis books (‘Τhe Last Τemptation’ and ‘Christ recrucified’). 

At the end of the visit, remember to take a look into the souvenir shop where you will also find the books of Nikos Kazantzakis in various languages. It is worth buying even something little, just to support this important self-funded Museum. You can also buy stuff online through the Museum’s website, which also provides interesting and updated information about the Museum and the writer.

Τhe Museum faces a contradictory situation: on the one hand it is nominated for the “European Museum of the Year 2012” award by the European Museum Forum and on the other hand, it is in danger of shutting down

Actions, awards and economic difficulties

The permanent exhibition might be the 'soul' of the Museum, but its members never settle. They always plan new projects, such as educational seminars and workshops for adults and educators (in the frame of EU lifelong learning programs) and other educational programs for students, book presentations, participation in festivals, ect. 

At the same the Museum faces a contradictory situation: on the one hand it was nominated for the “European Museum of the Year 2012” award by the European Museum Forum. The nomination is based on the criteria of innovation and quality of services, and this year 57 Museums are nominated along with the Museum of Nikos Kazantzakis. On the other hand, the Museum of Nikos Kazantzakis is in danger of shutting down, as it is a self-funded institution solely based on ticket sales and the souvenir shop. These funds, however, are not sufficient to cover the basic expenses or the cultural activities of the Museum. Donations were not sufficient either, so in 2011 the association “Friends of the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum” was founded, having as its main goal the economic survival of the Museum and its promotion in Greece and abroad. You can also become a “friend” of the Museum. For more information contact the Museum personnel: +30 2810 741689.