Akrotiri with its prehistoric settlement and its culture is one of the most significant centers of the Aegean territory in the Prehistoric era. The first people settled in Santorini in the Neolithic Age. Archaeologists believe that, at the beginning of the Bronze Age, there was already a settlement in Akrotiri. In the following years, the settlement grew and thanks to its port it became one of the most important and biggest trade centers of the Aegean Sea. The variety of imported products found incinerated inside the remains of the buildings show how wide the trade network of Akrotiri was. It maintained close relations with Minoan Crete, but was also in constant contact with mainland Greece, the Dodecanese, Cyprus, Syria and Egypt.
The wealth derived from trade gave the inhabitants of Akrotiri the opportunity to create a unique civilization that lasted around 4000 years in the Aegean. The excavation process has proved the high standards of living of the inhabitants of Akrotiri. Typical examples, such as the high-rise buildings, the sewerage and the magnificent wall paintings are signs of great development and progress.
However, life ended abruptly in the last quarter of the 17th century BC., because of strong earthquakes. The latter were basically the warning of the great volcanic eruption that rocked the Aegean. Akrotiri, as well as the entire island, was buried under the ashes, which kept the buildings and their interior intact until the archaeological excavation brought them back to light. Arguably, Akrotiri is considered as the Greek Pompeii.
Evidence of the colonization of Akrotiri in the Prehistoric era came to light in the second half of the 19th century. Particularly, the excavation started in 1967 by the Archaeological Society of Athens. The archaeologists in charge decided to excavate in Akrotiri hoping to verify an old theory saying that the eruption of the Thera volcano caused the collapse of the Minoan Cretan culture. It is estimated that only 26% of the area of the settlement has been excavated to the foundations. In this buried state, which has been discovered step by step with precision and patience, you can feel the way of living of Europe’s first civilization.
In order to imagine the full glory of the prehistoric civilization that prospered in this area, try to visit and see both Akrotiri and the Museum of Prehistoric Thira that is located in Fira.
Keep in mind that the adult ticket costs 12€ and children up to 18 years old are free of charge.
Visiting hours are:
From 8am to 8pm (1/4 – 31/10)
From 8am to 3pm (1/11 – 31/3)
Make sure you check the schedule on bank holidays as it is possible slight changes to occur.
You can discover the archaeological site of Akrotiri on your own. However, a professional and experienced guide will definitely help you get the right feeling of this prehistoric settlement as well all the necessary information about it. Kamari Tours Excursions offers the perfect guided tour to this specific site.