Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

The Cyclades Sights

Ancient Akrotiri

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 09/08/2014

Fodor's Review

If Santorini is known as the "Greek Pompeii" and is claimant to the title of the lost Atlantis, it is because of the archaeological site of ancient Akrotiri, near the tip of the southern horn of the island. The site re-opened in April 2012 after undergoing lengthy structural repairs of the protective roof spanning the entire enclosed site, which is in fact a whole ancient city buried under the volcanic ashes and much of it still waiting to be unearthed—almost intact.

In the 1860s, in the course of quarrying volcanic ash for use in the Suez Canal, workmen discovered the remains of an ancient town. The town was frozen in time by ash from an eruption 3,600 years ago, long before Pompeii's disaster. In 1967 Spyridon Marinatos of the University of Athens began excavations, which occasionally continue. It is thought that the 40 buildings that have been uncovered are only one-third of the huge site and that excavating the rest will probably take a century.

Marinatos's team discovered

many well-preserved frescoes depicting aspects of Akrotiri life, some now displayed in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens; Santorini wants them back to join the small selection that are on view in the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira. Meanwhile, postcard-size pictures of them are posted outside the houses where they were found. The antelopes, monkeys, and wildcats they portray suggest trade with Egypt.

Akrotiri was settled as early as 3000 BC, possibly as an outpost of Minoan Crete, and reached its peak after 2000 BC, when it developed trade and agriculture and settled the present town. The inhabitants cultivated olive trees and grain, and their advanced architecture—three-story frescoed houses faced with masonry (some with balconies) and public buildings of sophisticated construction—is evidence of an elaborate lifestyle. Remains of the inhabitants have never been found, possibly beacuse they might have had advance warning of the eruptions and fled in boats—beds have been found outside the houses, suggesting the island was shaken with earthquakes that made it unwise to sleep indoors.

Read More

Sight Information

Address:

South of modern Akrotiri, near tip of southern horn, Akrotiri, Santorini, 84700, Greece

Phone:

22860-81939

Website: www.culture.gr

Sight Details:

  • €5
  • Tues.–Sun. 8–8

Updated 09/08/2014

Advertisement

What's Nearby

  • Restaurants
  • Sights
  • Hotels

See all sights in The Cyclades

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?

Experience

Ease

Value

Don't Miss

Advertisement

X

No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

How we use your email

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.