Ancient Thera and Akrotiri – The Pompeii of the Aegean in Santorini

Santorini is not only romance and sunsets, it is also a  place for time travelling. Visit the Archaeological site of Akrotiri and the Ancient City of Thira and set yourselves in the urban lifestyle of pre Christian era!

Akrotiri: Akrotiri is the excavation site of a Minoan Bronze Age settlement, associated with the Minoan civilization due to inscriptions in Linear A and similarities in artifact and fresco styles. The excavation is named after a modern Greek village situated on a hill nearby, while the name of the site in antiquity is unknown. Akrotiri was buried by the widespread Theran eruption in the middle of the second millennium BC, during the Late Minoan period. As a result, it is remarkably well-preserved. Thanks to its excellent state of preservation and the wealth of finds it has yielded, it is the most important prehistoric settlement found in the Eastern Mediterranean. Akrotiri could be characterized as the Pompeii of the Aegean.

Frescoes, pottery, furniture, advanced drainage systems and three-storey buildings have been discovered at the site, during the excavations that started in 1967 by Spyridon Marinatos. Excavated artifacts have been installed in a museum distant from the site (Museum of Prehistoric Thera), with many objects and artworks presented.
Paintings of vervet monkeys were found on the island, hinting that the monkey was present circa 2000 BC.

The Pompeii of the Aegean in Santorini - Akrotiri

The Pompeii of the Aegean in Santorini – Akrotiri

Ancient City of Thera: The ancient city lies on a ridge of the steep, 360 m high Messavouno mountain. The strategic position of the area attracted the Lakedaemonian colonisers of the island who founded their city utilising the limestone rock of Mesa Vouno as a natural fortress. It was named after the mythical ruler of the island, Theras, and was inhabited from the 9th century BC until the spread of Christianity . That period, the city of Mesa Vouno was the only urban center in the island. The site boasts antiquities such as the Sanctuary of Artemis, the Forum, the Royal Stoa, the Temple of Apollo Karneios, the Basilistai House, the Gymnasium of the Epheboi, a theatre and the Terrace of Festivals. Ancient Thera is open to the public and can be reached through a winding road that starts at Kamari.

As the visitors walk through the cobbled streets of the ancient city among buildings that are usually very high, they can realise its shape and the way the settlement was organized, know its monuments and feel the lifestyle of its residents, while enjoying the magnificent view to the Aegean.

The Pompeii of the Aegean in Santorini - Ancient Thera: The Royal Stoa

The Pompeii of the Aegean in Santorini – Ancient Thera: The Royal Stoa