The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is one of the largest and most visited museums in Greece. It is also among the most important museums in Europe. It is home to artefacts from all the periods of Cretan prehistory and history. The exhibitions cover a chronological span of over 5,500 years from the Neolithic period to Roman times. The Minoan collection contains unique examples of Minoan art, many of them true masterpieces. The Archaeological Museum is located in the centre of Heraklion and was built between 1937 and 1940 by the architect Patroklos Karantinos. It was built on a site previously occupied by the Roman Catholic monastery of Saint-Francis which was destroyed by earthquake in 1856. The colors and construction materials used in the building, are similar to certain Minoan wall-paintings.