Akrotiri Excavations, Santorini Island
Akrotiri is about 12 km from Fira.
It is built on the most irrelevant part of the island, at the southwestern tip on the most remote part of the island known for the famous ruins from the Minoan period.
The excavations in that area brought up the city of Acropolis, a fortified Venetian castle during the medieval years, which after the occupation of Santorini by the Turks was torn down. The remains of the castle are easily visible. There are two old churches in the village, Aghia Triada and Ipapandi tou Sotiros. As you are taking the road to Akrotiri, on your right, you will stay amazed from the fascinating view of the Caldera. The picturesque atmosphere by the view towards Fira and Oia will rivet you.
The excavations in the area brought to light the settlement known as the City of Akrotiri.
The Archaeological site of Akrotiri should not be missed!
Akrotiri is located 12 kilometers at the S.W of Fira and is a very important archaeological site.The Professor Marinatos began the excavations in 1967 and step by step the scientists are discovering a whole community which was inhabited 3.000 years B.C. and destroyed by an eruption 1.500 years B.C.
The place is awesome, because the ashes of the volcano covered suddenly the town preserving it in almost perfect conditions until today.
Akrotiri was one of the most peaceful places I've ever visited. Its narrow winding walkways meander up and down hills and around the little houses and their patios. And the view of the rest of the island and the ocean is simply breathtaking. I felt like I could just buy a little house and spend the rest of my life lying in a hammock swaying in the breeze.
It's probably not worth going all the way from Fira to modern Akrotiri if that's all you see down on that part of the island, but it's certainly worth a pit stop if you're on your way to or from Ancient Akrotiri.
Ancient Akrotiri is an archological dig in process. Begun in 1967, the excavations continue and you can see what they've already uncovered and where they're working now. The best part is that the excavations are under a roof, so you're protected from the fierce sun.
About 3000 BC, a sizeable settlement was founded on Santorini and was given the name Akrotiri. Around 2000 BC it developed into one of the main urban centres and ports of the Aegean Sea. The settlement was very large(about 20 hectares), and had a very elaborate drainage system, sophisticated multi-storeyed buildings with magnificent frescos, furniture and vessels, shows that the settlement had great development and prosperity. Through the various foreign objects found, it can be worked out where the city and its port conducted their trade. The extent of the objects indicate the wide network of its external relations. Akrotiri was in contact with Crete (Knossos) but also communicated with the Greek Mainland, the Dodecanese, Cyprus, Syria and Egypt. The prosperity came to a quick end around the 17th century B.C. when the inhabitants were thought to have abandoned the island because of severe earthquakes. Then a massive eruption followed. The "liquid hot magma" (sorry about the Austin Powers reference) covered the entire island and the town itself, "fossilising" these materials, and protecting the buildings and their contents, just as in Pompei.
The man recognized as THE guy of Akrotiri, was Professor Spyridon Marinatos of the Archaeological Society at Athens. He died in 1974 after almost 10 years of excavation. He was a scientist who had written in the 1930's about the eruption of Santorini killing the Minoan civilization. He got to start to prove that theory before his death, and it is now the accepted theory.
The bus that takes you to Ancient Akrotiri passes through the modern village of Akrotiri as well. This is a nice little diversion, and well worth getting off the bus in town to go for a walk and see how the locals live.
Akrotiri was very peaceful and quiet when we visited. In fact, we hardly saw anyone at all while we were navigating the winding alleys. We did see a couple places to eat, but we didn't stop because it wasn't meal time while we were there.
A truly amazing archeological site, currently undergoing major renovations (the tourist/viewing facilities) and still very much under excavation. This is an entire village that was discovered in the mid-19th century. It had been covered in volcanic ash, much like Italy's Pompeii, and appears to be undisturbed after being buried for so long. It appears that the residents had warning of the impending danger and were able to flee, but they left much of their daily life behind. The program is well-funded and ongoing -- I can't wait to see how it all turns out.
Truthfully, I never made it into the Akrotiri excavation site as it was a Monday and the site was (irritatingly) closed to the public.
In the end, I decided to make my way to The Red Beach behind the excavation site. Just follow the signs put up along the pebble way right up to the restaurant from the bus stop. From there, a staircase will lead you to a road, and all you need to do is just to follow the road all the way to the end.
The Red Beach is so named, because unlike many of the blackened volcanic sand beaches on Santorini, the sand here is reddish as the beach was carved out from sheer red-coloured cliffs.
The place was packed to the brim, hardly the secluded beach some guidebooks claim it to be. Come on, really, if every guidebook is saying that it is secluded, very unlikely it won't be that for long! It was like being marooned in a sea of beach-goers!
There are 2 or 3 eateries on the beach itself and there is a boat service bringing folks (for a fee of course) from the pier near the bus stop to the beach itself.
This is not a nude beach, by the way. Perish the thought to be hanging loose!
A taste of ancient Greek history.
I suggest to visit the Akrotiri site with a guide, in order to better understand the history of this site and what they found.
You can find guides all over the island of Santorini, offering guided tours and packages.
A great trip is to the archealogical excavations at Acrotiri. It is an amazing site and there is still more to be uncovered. This is not just a pile of rubble, you can see houses and streets and get a feeling for the town. After your visit go down the road instead of back the way you came and have a drink or meal at one of the seafront Tavernas. The one with the cave inside is fascinating.
The prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri is located at the southern end of the island. The city dates from the first phase of the Late Bronze Age.
It is considered to be one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean.
Akrotiri are the ruins of an ancient remains of a minoan city buried by the volcanic explosion.
There are some walls and strrets left, but not much more. I was a bit disappointed, the metallic structure on top makes it look more like a metallurgic industry than like ancient ruins.
I couldn't place myself in the old minoan times. Besides, most of the findings are in museums, so there's not much left.
if coming to santorini you have to visit ancient akrotiri the Minoan town discovered in 1967 under the volcanic ash from the eruption of the volcano that wipe out the Minoan civilisation in 1600BC
the ash as perfectly perserved the 2/3 storey house showing us how the Minoans lived ,beautiful paintings can be seen on the walls of the houses, up to 30000 people lived in the town only 5% has been excavated no skeletons have found may be the Minoans were prewarned by the earth tremors and left before the volcano erupted
I must see, it was closed on my last trip but I'll see it again next year I hope. The people that lived here 3,500 years ago had a very advanced satandard of living. I would list more on this but you'll get better info if you google it.
As this site is the best known Minoan site outside of Crete, it is a very important and interesting place. There are visible walls (some three stories high), streets, pottery, furniture and even a flushable toilet. Parts of some frescoes or wall paintings and some huge ceramic jars are colorfully decorated. Being under several yards of volcanic ash for centuries has preserved the colors unbelievably. You can make your visit in a fairly short time or as part of a daylong tour of the island, as we did. It is amazing to see the sophistication of such and ancient culture and how well preserved some things are. Located on the far south end of the island near the red beach. Entrance fee is 5 euros.