High on History
The second important period in the history of Santorini is linked with the city of Ancient Thira. The excavation there, begun in 1896 by Baron Hiller von Gaertringen in the area of Mesa Vouno, revealed ruins of town which bore evidence of settlement as early as 9th century BC. The mountain of Profitis Ilias, Santorini’s highest peak runs eastward into the lower rocky outcropping of Mesa Vouno. These two mountains are joined by a ridge named Sellada.
Mesa Vouno, with an altitude of 369 metres, extends from west to south and its steep slopes plunge to coast at Kamari to the north side and Perissa to the south.
This naturally fortified spot was an ideal place for the Spartan colonists to found their city. They built two roads, one to Kamari, where they had their port, and the other to Perissa. The strategic location of the town was appreciated later by the Ptolemies. In the 4th century BC, the most important era in the history of the island, Ancient Thira was transformed into an Egyptian naval base with the installation there of a large garrison.
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