THE ELEUTHERNA ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM AS A POWER FOR DEVELOPMENT
The archaeological site of Eleutherna is a blessed place in the heart of Crete. Southwest of Eleutherna, a few kilometres away, is the Arkadi Monastery, and some 5 km to the east is the Venetian village of Margarites, with a long tradition in pottery manufacture and impressive remains of traditional pottery workshops. Because Eleutherna is located almost halfway between Chania and Herakleion, the island’s two principal cities with airports and harbours, visitors can easily plan a day or half-day excursion to a place of natural beauty and great archaeological interest, a place that is magical and unspoilt, away from the bustle of the cities and the island’s over-developed north coast.
At the same time, those residing between Rethymnon and Panormos can combine Eleutherna with other destinations, such as Arkadi, this unique monastery of freedom, and the Venetian potters’ village of Margarites, in the morning or afternoon, without sacrificing their swim or evening outing, since Eleutherna is only a breath away from the region’s large hotels
(approx. 10 km).
Professor Stampolidis believes that, if properly exploited, the museum can boost the development of Rethymnon and Crete in general: “Like Herakleion which has its museum and Knossos, Rethymnon now has its own museum and Eleutherna.
This museum will provide education for future generations. It is for our children and grandchildren, but also for our visitors, an endless source of learning, life, and culture. Naturally, excavations at Eleutherna will continue, since excavations are the oxygen for archaeological research and a school for students, including those from the University of Crete and others from Greek and foreign universities. The museum will host conferences and serve a form of ‘conference tourism’, which is a major tool in Crete’s economic development. As long as it is done without excess or mistakes, and as long as the area remains protected, clean, and with a sense of proportion.”