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Sculptures

Starting with typical column capitals from the early Christian centuries (4th-5th century), the Historical Museum of Crete Sculpture Collection is ordered chronologically up to the end of the Venetian period (mid-17th century). Individual thematic units are organized within the context of this chronological layout, such as church and urban architecture, sculpture for public and private use, offering visitors a range of information on Cretan society and living conditions for the population. Stone and marble sculptures, tombstone inscriptions, coats of arms in relief and symbols of secular or religious power relate the history of medieval Crete, in combination with two video shows and a sound installation. The exhibits include two impressive mosaics from the Hersonissos area, while architectural sculptures and inscriptions from the Basilica of St. Titus at Gortyn are on display in a separate room, together with liturgical objects from the same church. The section dedicated to the Venetian period is dominated by metopes from the Loggia (Venetian Noblemen’s Club) in Heraklion (early 17th century); inscriptions from the walls, where the agony of war left its imprint; and the large marble medallion that once adorned the city’s Saint George Gate. Particular reference is made to the Jewish community, via the few inscriptions to survive from the synagogue and graveyard. Selected examples of contemporary coats of arms are presented in a separate section, bearing traces of the island’s ethnic groupings. Scattered throughout the sculpture rooms there are also typical examples of reused objects, as in the case of a pseudo-sarcophagus carved in relief, which was later converted into a drinking fountain.