Akrotiri Archaeological Site
Άκρα Ακρωτήρι, Σαντορίνη 847 00, Greece
Photo by Candice Walsh
An Ancient Minoan Town Perfectly Preserved for 3600 YearsIn the 20th century, an archaeologist by the name of Spyridon Marinatos wanted to prove “the biggest volcanic eruption in recorded world history” was the reason for the Minoan collapse. It didn't take long for him to find Akrotiri.
Akrotiri is like a Greek version of Pompeii. For the last couple thousands of years, earthquakes and volcanoes have repeatedly caused havoc in this part of the world. The Minoans always rebuilt. But it was that final volcano -- the one famously responsible for Santorini's dramatic shape -- that destroyed the civilization for good.
The site will take you through the various 40-something rooms of Akrotiri. You’ll see the remains of window frames, beds upturned on top of one another as if their owners would be coming back for them, and even the remains of a clay pipe system carrying a constant supply of water to the city. The lava and ash that covered and destroyed the city helped protect it. Scientists have used plaster casts to create replicas of some of the Minoans’ furniture, including intricately detailed tables. Mosaics with ivory pieces were uncovered, and even a gold ibex in a jewelry box.
It's best to take a guide tour onsite, otherwise you'll miss many important details.