Cretan Ethnographic Doors

Back in the early 1980s, we had been working on an archaeological project in the south central area of the Messara in Crete. During that time, the ethnographic museum at Voroi was being planned and beginning to be assembled. We were lucky enough to see the beginnings of the collection, but I hadn’t been back since that time. So, with a few days free in Crete, we drove down to Voroi to see the completed museum which in the meantime had been garnering numerous awards.

The museum is now part of a larger research institution housed in a modern facility and inaugurated in 2004. However, the museum exhibition space is located in the bare bones of an old house, converted for this use. You first come to an archway that leads you into a courtyard.

The archway preserves a number of old stone carvings and inscriptions.

Right in front is the old door to the house, no longer used. It is a lovely weather blue.

A rusty 19th century door pull/handle is attached, contrasting with its background. Its form is based on an older Byzantine type with a cutwork circular base.

Inside, displays take you through such things as traditional Cretan food, textile, pottery and other craft production; customs and festivals; industries such as blacksmithing, copper smithing, wood working, and house construction. The latter includes displays of door fixtures – pulls, locks and keys, braces, hinges, hooks, etc. – primarily from the 19th century.

Back outside, the corner door leads out of the courtyard to the street. It displays the date 1986, around the time the museum was completed.

Not far away, another doorway in Voroi has a possible date of 1732. It has a modern metal door, rusted but still functional.

If you are in Crete, the Museum of Cretan Ethnology in Voroi is worth the visit and there are many traditional houses (and doors) around the village.

Check out Norm’s Thursday Doors for many more posts on fascinating buildings and their doors.


  1. I absolutely love that first shot you took of the door through the archway. That collection of hardware is quite impressive too.
    Awesome post 🙂


    • It was exciting, but I only have a hazy recollection of all we saw – no labels and only the rudiments of interior walls were in place back then. And, we were much younger! I am very glad to have seen it now in its finished state.


  2. Crete – Malta – all these Mediterranean islands I would like to visit (mainly because my brother spent vacations there with his family! Great doors/arches here:)


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