The Nikos Kazantzakis Museum was founded by Yiorgos Anemoyiannis in 1983. The founder's intention was to create a museum capable of housing the numerous significant exhibits relating to author and thinker Nikos Kazantzakis. As a point of reference in designing and creating it, Anemoyiannis mentions similar European museums dedicated to Goethe, Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Hans Christian Andersen, which offer a comprehensive picture of each author.
Up until that time, the only place at the disposal of those interested in getting to know Nikos Kazantzakis was the specially designed room at the Historical Museum of Crete, in the Kalokairinos mansion. This was laid out according to the author's wishes, as appearing in the will he drew up in 1956.
The need for a museum exclusively dedicated to the life and work of the author Yiorgos Anemoyiannis to choose Myrtia, Kazantzakis' ancestral village, as a satisfactory solution that linked the museum to his memory. The paternal home of Yiorgos' father Antonis Anemoyiannis, a distant relative of Nikos Kazantzakis, lay in the same village. Adding financial assistance from the Minister of Culture and private individuals to lavish personal expense, Yiorgos Anemoyiannis set about demolishing the old building. In 1983 he then constructed what was, at the time, a modern exhibition space.
The museum opening ceremony was held on 27th June 1983.
The Museum was renovated from the ground up in 2009, offering a new perspective on how the collections are displayed. The entire undertaking bears the hallmark of architects Y. Psomadakis and M. Marinou (new permanent exhibition design), author D. Kalokyris (graphic design) and Dr. L. Chatzopoulou (texts and editing).
The project was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (80%) and national funds (20%).