The Naval Museum of Crete was first set up in Chania in 1973 and has already received an award from the Historical-Ethnological Society for its work. It is located at the entrance to the Venetian fortress ‘Firkas’, which dominated the port entrance.
The displayed exhibits in the Naval Museum are fascinating, especially for the enthusiast, because of their numerous, marvelous ship models as well as dioramas and old maps of the Venetian Chania as well as ancient sea battles.
The two-storey museum has 13 exhibition areas ranging from ancient times to the Battle of Crete.
You start by visiting the Naval Museum in the foyer, where the age of the Venetian rule over Crete from 1204 to the year 1669 is represented. Models of the Venetian fortresses and of Chania from this period are exhibited.
Chania, however, was already conquered by the Turks under heavy losses in 1645 after a two-month siege, which is reflected in the fact that the Turkish commander was executed after his return because of the loss of 40,000 men.
A corridor from the Venetian area leads to the other exhibition halls on the first floor.
First you will find an interesting collection of shells in different colors and sizes. Amphoras are also exhibited from ancient shipwrecks.
In the next exhibition area, models of ships from the Bronze Age to the Roman times can be found. There is a replica of the Minoan ship Symio as well as the model of an Athenian Trireme. Additional, panoramas of ancient sea battles, especially from the Persian wars.
Then follows the exhibition area with ship models from the Byzantine and Ottoman area, including the Corvette.
In the fourth and last hall on the first floor there are ship models from the Greek War of Independence in 1821 to the unification of Crete with Greece, and the two Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913 and finally World War One.
In the large area on the upper floor there are exhibits from WW2 up to the present day as well about the Greek commercial fleet.
Particular attention should be paid to the Greek cruiser Elli, the submarine Papanikolis and smaller ships of the merchant navy, such as Theseus and Elpis.
Most impressive, however, is the reconstruction of a bridge of a torpedo boat from the Second World War, with authentic machine sounds and the impression for the visitor to move across the open sea.
A good part of this floor is also concerned to the Battle of Crete and shows life-size figures of British, New Zealand and Greek soldiers as well as Cretan freedom fighters. In addition, there are numerous photographs and equipment of German paratroopers and from the occupation troops.
The Naval Museum also has a well-stocked library with books in Greek and other languages on the subject of naval science.
In the evenings during summer seasons are shows with Greek national dances in the yard of the Naval Museum.
As you pass the main gate to the Naval Museum, you can also reach the small naval fortress ‘Firkas’, where you can walk on the renovated fortifications of the sea-side. Here it was the first time that the modern Greek flag was hoisted on Crete in 1913.
More photos from the Naval Museum:
Visits and entrance fees
The Naval Museum is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm during the season (from 1 April to 31 October) and from 9 am to 2 pm during the other times.
Admission is 2.50 Euros for adults, 1.50 Euros for students and children under 6 are free.