Heraklion Archaeological Museum, located in the city centre, is one of the largest and most important museums both in Greece and Europe. The building was constructed between the years 1937 – 1940 by the architect Patroklos Karantinos. The modern building, symbol of modernist architecture is awarded by Bauhaus. Its foundations lies on the remnants of the Roman Catholic monastery of Saint-Francis which was destroyed by earthquake in 1856. It consists of 27 halls in two storeys.
The permanent collection houses representative artifacts from Cretan Prehistory and History, covering a chronological span of over 5,500 years. Most objects date to the so-called "Minoan period", named after the island's mythical king, Minos. Pottery, carved stone objects, seals, small sculpture, metal objects and of course the famous wall-paintings are displayed on museum's expanse. The museum, beyond the chronological grading, follows an extrovert narration with social, ideological and economic aspects with a strong focus on religious and ceremonial practices and daily life.
Minoan art is worldwide known mainly from the follow excavation findings: Figurines of Snake Goddesses, the Bull's head Rhyton, the gold Bee Pendant, the Hagia Triada Sarcophagus, Kamares Ware vases, the Linear B tablets from Knossos and the enigmatic Phaistos Disc.