High on History
Akrotiri is one of the oldest villages in Santorini, Greece. Some evidence dates it back to prehistoric times. In its early days, it was a fishing and farming village, but as time went on, it became a center for trade. It was a main outpost along the commonly used trading routes for copper trade, and with this prosperous position, it became quite a cultural and commercial hub.
Streets were paved, an elaborate drainage system was installed, and art became more celebrated through Akrotiri, all things that would have been considered signs of fortune at the time. The architecture was also elaborate and modern compared to Akrotiri’s neighbors. It is often believed that Santorini, Greece, but especially Akrotiri was the inspiration for Plato’s Atlantis.
It was at the height of this success and prosperity that the volcanic eruption of Thera occurred in the 17th century BC. The disaster destroyed the city, burying it in volcanic ash as famously happened to the island of Pompeii. Unlike Pompeii, however, Akrotiri seems to have been evacuated before the worst occurred. For over three millennia, the remains of ancient Akrotiri, Santorini were left untouched until it was excavated by archaeologists in 1967.
Top things to Do
Akrotiri Archaeological Site
The buildings of Akrotiri are a unique example of impressive architecture. Magnificent structures with carved facades housed communal services. Private houses included workshops and warehouses besides the rooms for the family. The building materials came from the island itself or were imported from other areas. Stone from the quarries of Thira was the main building material. Pebbles and gravels were collected and used for walls and floors. Valuable timber from Crete was used for wooden frameworks in the walls providing antiseismic reinforcement. Slabs of plaster from Knossos quarries were placed on the floor over a layer of crushed purple shells. Know-how and good taste were obvious in every activity.
The Akrotiri lighthouse, which was manufactured by a French company in 1892, is among the first lighthouses in Greece. It stopped operating during World War II but started again in 1945 with a reconstruction by the Greek Navy. Originally it was powered by petrol fuel until 1988 that it became automatic. The tower above the lighthouse keeper’s house is 10 meters high and emits a luminous white light.
The most famous beach in Santorini feels like swimming into a volcano, with its dark blue waters, red sand and red-black giant vertical cliffs. It is organized and one of the hottest island attractions.
On White beach, which the locals often call White Sand (Aspri Ammos), the thing that sets it apart is exactly what gave it its name: the white color, which contrasts with the dark, reddish or ocher tones encountered on other shores.
Food & Drinks
The local restaurants and taverns offer a wide range of typical dishes, so don’t miss the chance to try them. Greek cuisine is based on the healty Mediterranean one, but more enriched.