Greek Islands Stories and Tips

About The Excavated Minoan Village

Square of the 3500 year old Minoan village Photo, Greek Islands, Greece

This is probably one of the most interesting archaeological sites I have seen in Greece so far, because the Akrotiri has been kept as it was before the volcano eruption that buried it. The archaeologists haven’t restored it and are not trying to rebuild the town to make it more realistic. Probably because there is already a lot left from this town. The only work they seem to have done to it is putting some new wood and cement supports on the windows of the houses, which was of course necessary to avoid the whole thing to collapse!

The Akrotiri is located at the southwestern tip of Santorini island. Some tunnels through the volcanic ash uncovered the structures, two and three stories high, first damaged by an earthquake then buried by the eruption. Professor Maritanos, the excavator, was killed by a collapsing wall and is also buried on the site, which made him an "island hero". The excavators have never found any human bones on the site, which made historians guess that the Minoan people knew about the eruption, and had decided to leave the island and go to Crete (South of Santorini), which had the largest Minoan community at the time. Unfortunately, the eruption was so big that it also reached Crete and killed these people who had tried hard to find a safer place to live in.

Only a small part of what was the largest Minoan city outside of Crete has been excavated so far. This part contains the square (center) of the village that is believed to have been the meeting point in the past, and the place from where the general (equivalent of the mayor of the town) could watch his people and observe what was happening on the main part of the town. That is why one building on the square has a huge window: the general was probably sitting there observing the activity of the town. Lavish frescoes adorned the walls, and Cretan pottery was found stored in a chamber. Most of the frescoes are currently exhibited in Athens, though you see excellent reproductions at the Thira Foundation in Fira.

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