In his work ReporttoGreco, among other things Kazantzakis relates that: "My father's family hails from a village two hours' walk from Megalo Kastro, which is called Varvari".
In 1983, Anmoyiannis wrote that "In his childhood he [Kazantzakis] lived in Varvari, where he would play tag with the other children, as the oldest people in the village could recall up until a short time ago".
The name of the village where the museum is located preserves its place in history. According to historical research, having retaken Crete after 138 years of Arab rule, Nikiforos Fokas settled part of his expeditionary force here. The men in question were Varangian mercenaries (barbarians being the term for non-Greeks), to whom Phocas granted land to cultivate as part of the colonisation policy implemented on Crete by the Byzantine Empire after 961 AD.
From 1206 onwards, the village's name is referred to in historical sources as the seat of Cretan noble Stephanos Agiostephanitis. Nikos Kazantzakis himself wrote his own version of how Varvari was founded: "When Nikiforos Fokas, Emperor of Byzantium, took Crete back in the tenth century, he penned the Arabs that had survived the massacre into a few villages, and those villages were named Varvari." From that time on, the village is frequently encountered under the same name in Venetian and Turkish censuses. The name was boorishly disregarded in 1955, when it was changed to Myrtia, as part of a plan to "Hellenicize" Greek place names.