The “Archaeological Museum of Heraclion” is the subject of the new annual publication of the I.S.Latsis Foundation and Eurobank EFG. The publication was presented during an event held in Heraclion Crete in the presence of more than 600 prominent members of the island’s political and social life.
This is a further addition to the I.S.Latsis Foundation and Eurobank EFG thematic publication series, which have included among others the Archaeological Museums of the Acropolis, Piraeus, Elefsis, Delos and Thessaloniki and the Benaki Museum Treasures, as well as the volumes on Post-Byzantine Icons, the 100-year history of the National Theater, Greek Sea-scapes, Gyzis and Dupre.
The Archaeological Museum of Heraclion, one of the most significant Greek museums, with the largest number of visitors, was established one hundred years ago under the name of “Cretan Museum” for the purpose of storing and exhibiting archaeological treasures from all over the island.
The volume on the Archaeological Museum of Heraclion has been issued in 17,200 copies and its 410 large-size pages include outstanding objects from the Museum’s Minoan collection, as well as other exhibits, which together with explanatory texts will provide readers with an insight into Cretan archaeology.
In his speech, Mr. Aristotelis Pavlidis, Minister of the Aegean & Island Policy, underscored the significance of the publication, which showcases, in a unique way, the wealth of the Archaeological Museum of Heraclion and praised the I.S. Latsis Foundation and Eurobank EFG for their contribution to culture with publications that enhance our national heritage.
The volume is prefaced by Mr. Petros Tatoulis, Deputy Minister for Culture, who stresses among other things that “the uniqueness of the Archaeological Museum of Heraclion must certainly be attributed to its famous Minoan collection and the priceless objects from the magnificent Minoan civilization, which flourished in Crete during the third and second millennium B.C.”
In her introductory note, Ms. Marianna Latsis observes that “Crete represents the most splendid chapter in the century-old history of ancient Greek civilization. At this Mediterranean crossroad, where three continents meet and part, a unique civilization was born that spread with incredible vigor and radiance, reflecting the island’s admirable social organization, its religious structures and tremendous economic growth”.
The General Manager of the Latsis Group, Mr. Vangelis Chronis, underlined in his speech that the Museum, as well as the different archaeological sites with the palaces and other remarkable buildings of Cretan civilization, form an archaeological mosaic that makes Crete the timeless cradle of one of the most important periods of Greek history. Referring to the publication initiative, V. Chronis said that “our choice to sponsor high quality publications is an act of responsibility and commitment. Painting, theatre, religion and our very language are the themes that have attracted our interest in the previous decades laying the foundations of a tradition that is gradually becoming established. In this long journey through time and civilization, Eurobank EFG and the I.S.Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, are fellow travellers as members of the same family, fellow travellers sharing the same love for Greek civilization and antiquities. Representing at this event the I.S.Latsis Foundation, the flagship of the Latsis Foundations network, created in the memory of the family patriarch, Yannis Latsis, I want to assure all of you of our firm determination to back financially serious initiatives that promote culture, support scientific research and enhance the values and ideals of Greek as well as world heritage”.
Eurobank EFG’s CEO, Mr. Nicholas Nanopoulos referred in his speech to the initiatives of the I.S.Latsis Foundation and Eurobank for the promotion of our cultural heritage. “The publication on the Archaeological Museum of Heraclion, through the presentation of priceless archaeological finds, follows the emergence, the progress and the catalytic historic and cultural influence of Cretan civilization. During its apogee, this civilization flourished as the Minoan civilization, leaving its indelible mark on the civilization that would grow in mainland Greece” noted Mr. Nanopoulos adding that “the Minoan civilization, a strong, complete and vibrant civilization could easily cross the sea to the mainland of Greece, fascinating and conquering the Arian Greeks at the dawn of their historic existence and spreading to the whole West. It came in contact with the earlier Greek peoples, who already possessed the race’s characteristic traits, an open and progressive attitude, an inquisitive spirit and a thirst for knowledge and progress. On this fertile ground, the Minoan civilization grafted its most vital elements that were adopted in a uniquely creative way. This historic encounter led to an almost magical composition. The first stage was the development of the Cretan-Mycenean civilization, which succeeded the Minoan in splendor and radiance. The road to the creation of a pure Greek civilization, which would determine Western man’s progress and historic evolution during the following centuries, was now open”. Eurobank EFG CEO also emphasized that “our ambition is to see this publication adorn the libraries of universities, schools, centres of culture and economic influence in Greece and throughout the world, thus promoting the significance, the splendor, the beauty and breadth of the Cretan culture and civilization ”. He recalled that “the springboard for the growth of Eurobank EFG was the acquisition, seven years ago, followed by the merger with the Cretan Bank, a pioneering banking institution, with a strong presence and widespread activities on the island”, stressing that Eurobank EFG is expanding its operations in Crete in order to meet, even more effectively, through its steadily improved services, the requirements of the region’s growing economy.
The Director of the Archaeological Museum of Heraclion, Ms. Nota Dimopoulou-Rethemiotaki underlined, inter alia, that “ by combining pictures and text, the publication aims at operating as a guiding “thread” through the captivating labyrinth of Cretan archaeology, highlighting the cultural richness, originality and diversity that flourished on Crete as time went by. The Museum’s treasures make it possible to rank and read the exhibits from different perspectives: chronology, geography-location, type and style. Following the necessary chronological evolution, an attempt is made at developing individual themes for each cultural period, outlining its specific characteristics. The Museum’s famous Minoan collection, which constitutes the central piece of its exhibits, includes the most outstanding and emblematic creations of the Minoan world, as well as thousands other just as important objects that establish the specific character of Minoan civilization and its various facets as interpreted by archaeological research: economic progress and the predominance of strong social groups in the third millennium B.C., the exhibition of wealth and power by means of luxury items such as gold jewellery, silver daggers, ivory seals, the growth of trade, the flourishing of art and the development of technical capability and technology. These developments then led, during the second millennium B.C., to a period of extraordinary achievement, the creation of the Minoan palaces and the introduction of the palace system of government and administration, the spreading of settlements and country villas, the development of sanctuaries, the consolidation of multi-level social structures and a solid political and administrative organization”.
Ms. Eirini Louvrou from OLKOS Publisher referred to the publication’s planning and artistic editing, stressing that “working on the pictures, the layout and the informative texts, we wanted to highlight the variety and richness of this civilization, by capturing in the pages of the book “the marvelous Minoan world”.-
The event was presented by Mr. Alexis Kostalas.