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The exhibit

Knossos, “Temple Repositories”. 1600-1500 BC

Among the most important exhibits of the Museum are the two famous statuettes known as the “Snake Goddesses”, iconic symbols of the Minoan civilisation and exquisite examples of Minoan miniature sculpture. They belong to a group of objects that includes pieces of six or seven similar figurines, believed to depict the chthonic Minoan snake goddess. They were used, together with other religious or ritual objects, in the Central Palace Sanctuary of Knossos, an organised complex of cult rooms in the West Wing of the palace. After the area was destroyed around 1600 BC, the objects were placed as sacred relics in cists in the Temple Repositories, which were sealed before the rebuilding and reuse of the sanctuary in the next phase of its history. The figurines are made of painted faience. The various parts were made separately in moulds and joined with wire. The female figures are interpreted as goddesses or priestesses. They are wearing the elaborate Minoan garment, consisting of a long, flounced skirt, a woven or embroidered apron and a tight bodice leaving the breasts exposed, familiar from other Minoan depictions of goddesses and priestesses. The figurines are named after the snakes coiling around the body and the tall headdress of the larger figure, and the snakes held by the smaller one. Snakes symbolise the chthonic nature of the figures, their relationship with the underworld, while the feline on the head of the smaller figure signifies her dominion over wildlife. Besides the “Snake Goddesses”, the group of artefacts includes faience plaques with animals, plant symbols, sea creatures and astral symbols, all highlighting the attributes of the Goddess as the protector of nature. There are also various insets from wooden objects, models of garments, miniature faience vases and many large vessels, both local and imported from the Cyclades.
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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