Chania Typography Museum

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Location: Town
Don't miss: Museums guide (free admission dates and other useful info)

The Typography Museum of Chania, the first of its kind in Greece, is located in the Park of Local Industries, close to Souda. The museum was inaugurated in 2005 by the journalist Giannis Garedakis, publisher of a local newspaper. The founder and, at the same time, inspirer of the museum presents an impressive collection of typography tools and interesting exhibits marking the evolution of European typography.

Covering a total area of 1,500 square meters, the museum consists of two large wings, three further exhibition rooms, and a remarkable library, while additional facilities include an amphitheater, a museum shop and a cafe. In 2016, it was nominated for the prestigious prize European Museum of the Year Award.

The tour begins in the main hall, where there are two ornate cast-iron presses dating back to the early 1800s, while a wooden press that closely resembles the one invented by Gutenberg offers a glimpse of the birth of typography in the 15th century. Other exhibits comprise foot-operated and manual presses from various European countries, typesetting benches where typesetters used to compose texts letter by letter, as well as more modern mechanical typesetting devices (linotypes).

The second wing is purely industrial, as it used to house the old printing presses of Haniotika Nea up until 2008. There is also a section dedicated to bookbinding, complete with a workbench, all the necessary machinery and tools, handmade paper sheets, pieces of leather and a bookbinding press. Here, visitors will have the opportunity to watch a video of a bookbinder in action, while various techniques, such as xylography, copperplate engraving, lithography and the Braille writing method, are presented in detail as well.

On the first floor, you will find a History of Writing collection, where 40 boards demonstrate the evolution of communication, from cave paintings to computers. What is more, there is a hall dedicated to photography with rare equipment, as well as a collection of rare Greek and foreign editions. This collection boasts such exhibits as an 18th-century manuscript poetry collection in Farsi, a Quran dating before the 19th century, and a 17th-century publication by Giovanni Battista Giraldi, which is believed to have been the source of inspiration for Shakespear’s plays Othello and Measure for Measure.

Last but not least, visitors will have the chance to see 29 art books created by contemporary artists and visit the library, which selectively exhibits a variety of treasures, like rare international publications, newspapers, maps, stamps, banknotes and handwritten letters.

All exhibits are accompanied by detailed information and descriptions in both Greek and English. During the interactive tour, visitors are also encouraged to try their hand at printing, using 19th-century printing presses.

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