Ancient Thera | Santorini
Updated: Apr 13
Ancient Thera is an antique city of the 9th century BC, 360 m high on Messavouno mountain in Santorini island. It was named after the mythical leader of the island, Theras, and was inhabited from the 9th century BCE until 726 CE.
Excavations started in 1895 by Friedrich von Gaertringen (University of Berlin) and continued in 1961 by N, Zafeiropoulos under the auspices of the Archaeological Society of Athens (who found the necropolis) and in 1990 by Wolfram Hoepfner (Free University of Berlin).
The ancient city consisted of a main 800m street with several buildings, an area of about 100 x 100 meters on an exposed plateau high above the rocky coast, an Agora, a theater built into the lower slope, a small sacred area with temple grounds and public facilities, a necropolis at the edge of today's city of Kamari, a harbor and two seaports, Oia (today's Kamari, different from modern Oia) and Elefsina (today's Perissa).
Noteworthy are: the Agora (the main square of the city, about 110 m long and between 17 and 30 m wide), the Basilike Stoa (the center of public life, 46 x 10 m, with a roof supported by a row of ten doric pillars along the middle axis), the Theater (constructed in the 2nd century, with seating for about 1,500 people), the Sacred Area (dedicated to Hermes and Hercules), the Temple of Apollo Karneios, the Gymnasium for epheboi. Archaeological remains are sparse, with the most famous being the several larger-than-life statues of youths, known as kouri, sculpted in the second half of the 7th century BC.
Ancient Thera is open to the public and can be reached from Kamari village.