Akrotiri Archaeological Site

The Greek island of Santorini may appear to be made entirely of whitewashed villages, panoramic views of the caldera, and breathtaking sunsets. But if you travel south of the well-known Fira and Oia, you'll discover a different kind of Greek settlement—the Santorini ruin city of Akrotiri.

Or at least that is how it is now known. Its original name is just one of the mysteries surrounding it; it was given the name Akrotiri in honor of the nearby modern town of the same name. Santorini has been compared to Pompeii since both cities were significant archaeological sites that were destroyed by a volcanic explosion, but there are some significant differences between the two cities.


The age of the archaeological sites in Pompeii and Akrotiri is the first distinction. Akrotiri makes Pompeii, which was founded in 600 BC and destroyed by Mount Vesuvius' eruption in 79 AD, seem recent. Over 4000 years before Pompeii was established, the ancient Minoans called this place home, and it has been preserved exactly as it would have been in 1500 BC.

Akrotiri is a different side of Santorini and provides a peek into the life of far-off people. Akrotiri began as a modest fishing and farming community that grew grains and olives. But because it was situated on a trading route connecting the Middle East and Europe, money poured in, and the port city expanded to become a sizable, thriving metropolis.

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Visitors are welcome at the open-air, spacious Akrotiri archaeological site. Because the homes are constructed of mud bricks, water damage could result from leaving the remains exposed. It took seven years to fix the damage and reopen the site after it was closed in 2005 after a British visitor was killed when the roof of the prior structure fell.

There is now a clever new structure that is constructed of wood and steel that allows for exactly the right amount of light while keeping things cool and safe. You can go around the outside of the city on walkways that are hung above the ruinous areas. However, in Akrotiri, what is at ground level for us is at roof height.

It has taken a lot of laborious digging and the removal of enormous amounts of rock to descend to the former street level because the layer of ash that covered the city was up to 40 meters thick in some areas. There is a pathway that descends into some of the rebuilt homes, where you can observe particulars like a stone bathtub and an authentic Minoan washroom.

  • imageDuration Required
    4 hours

Address of Akrotiri Archaeological Site

Santorini, Greece

Opening & Closing time of Akrotiri Archaeological Site

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