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The exhibit

Zakros, Palace. 1600-1450 BC

The exquisite stone ritual vessels found in the shrine treasuries of the palaces of Zakros and Knossos, some of them true masterpieces, attest to the luxurious ceremonies of official palace cult. A representative example is this vase from Zakros, known as the “Sanctuary Rhyton”, which bears a religious scene. The rhyton is a ritual libation vessel of green steatite. The whole surface was originally covered in gold leaf, of which only tiny scraps survive in seven places. It is decorated with a relief scene of an open-air sanctuary in a rocky landscape with wild goats. The sacred space is delimited by the façade of a tripartite building and a wall enclosing an open area around it. The central part of the building resembles a closed door decorated with spirals. In the inner open area are three structures identified as altars. The sides of the building, the enclosure wall and one of the altars are crowned with horns of consecration, one of the most important Minoan religious symbols. The whole composition, with its especially vivid and detailed depiction of the landscape and structures, provides a reasonably realistic picture of the peak sanctuaries or other open-air sanctuaries that have been brought to light by excavations. Enclosures containing stepped platforms have been excavated at the open-air sanctuaries of Juktas and Syme Viannos, leading most scholars to believe that a similar sanctuary is depicted on the Zakros rhyton.
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1 January: closed

6 January: 08:30 – 15:00

Shrove Monday: 08:30 – 15:00

25 March: closed

Good Friday: 12:00 – 17:00

Holy Saturday: 08:00 – 15:00

1 May: closed

Easter Sunday: closed

Easter Monday: 08:00 – 20:00

Holy Spirit Day: 08:00 – 20:00

15 August: 08:00 – 20:00

28 October: 08:00 – 20:00

25 December: closed

26 December: closed