The Eleftherna region in the prefecture of Rethymno, Crete aims to become the most important tourist destination on the island by capitalising on the huge archaeological wealth discovered in the area, as well as its new museum.
Professor Nikos Stampolidis, who name has become associated with the finds in ancient Eleftherna and the museum, focused on the need to link culture with tourism.
After yet more new finds were unearthed in ancient Eleftherna, it has become the “heart” of Crete and stands as the second major pillar of ancient Cretan civilisation after Knossos and Faistos, Stampolidis said at an event organised by the Grecotel group and Nikos Daskalantonakis Foundation.
He underlined that it is the story of the dawn of Greek civilisation, of the post-Minoan era and the counterweight of Knossos and the one-sidedness of Crete’s Minoan past.
Following the recent ancient finds in the most important archaeological site of Rethymno, Stampolidis’ discovery of two Christian basilicas in Eleftherna adds new information concerning the area’s cultural profile, which had previously been identified with the heroes of Homeric times. Stampolidis said that archaeologists are currently examining whether these two churches were built by Christians by destroying pagan monuments or whether they used abandoned monuments of the ancient world .”Did the Christians act as jihadists or simply peacefully write their own story?” asked the professor.
The museum of Elefterna welcomes over 600 visitors a day. The innovative feature of the museum lies in that all the exhibits will be periodically renewed with new and older finds from the excavations. In this way, the public’s interest will be constantly kept alive and linked with the revelations from the ongoing work at the archaeological site.