In “Report to El Greco” Kazantzakis wrote that his father’s extended family originated from a village on the island of Crete, which is called Barbarians. One of the etymological interpretations of this strange toponym, which is located 18 km away from Heraklion, is associated with mercenaries, perhaps varyazi - used by Emperor Nicephorus Phocas in the 10 century to repel the invasions of Arabs and reclaim the temporary conquered Crete. Later it was renamed in the more euphonious and Greek Myrtia. The museum of the world famous writer Nikos Kazantzakis that existed here since 1983 was completely renovated, presenting the exhibits with a completely new concept. Its inspirer and designer - the writer and artist Dimitris Kalokiris - stresses that its focus is more on the global dimension of Kazantzakis, on symbolic odyssey and wandering to spiritual areas, rather than the image of a Crete young man, devoted to his native land.
”Travels and dreams” writes Nikos Kazantzakis, “were the greatest benefactors in my life.” The visitor is greeted by a video wall showing rough sea expanse - the element of the character of Ithaca - as embodiment of that passion and philosophy of the Odyssey. Тravelling acquires another dimension nowadays - that of immigration and refugees. In 1919 Kazantzakis himself was charged by the government of Venizelos Elefeterios a mission for the repatriation of 150,000 Pontian Greeks from Caucasus from the flames of the October Revolution of Russia in which the writer must overcome many difficulties.
The two floors of the museum contain the writer’s personal belongings, manuscripts, correspondence with his brothers in pen, portraits of thinkers and writers that had influence on him - Bergson, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Dostoevsky, Buddha, Lenin, Francis Asizki, M. Meterlink, personal acquaintances as the Fire Circle of revolutionary-minded Russian-Polish Jewish women, with whom he met during his studies, memorabilii, the first editions of his books translated into dozens of languages cross-referenced with footage of their adaptation, old passports of the writer and his second wife Eleni Samiu studded with stamps from around the world, etc. Kalokiris arranged several opened suitcases that pour the contents of the travels of Kazantzakis. Visitors will be intrigued by all the drawers, windows and hiding places in the exhibition, where surprises await them. Opening one of them you see unreleased manuscripts of Kazantzakis, in others old photographs in sepia color are looking at you.