An extraordinary and very interesting museum lies in the center of Fira, the capital of Santorini, very close to the cable car. The Archaeological Museum of Thera is a very educational small gem that offers an insight into the island’s past and proves how sophisticated the civilizations that preceded us were. It was built in 1960 by the Ministry of Public Works since the previous one, constructed in 1902, had collapsed during the destructive earthquake of 1956.
The Archaeological Museum is open to the public daily 8:00-15:00, except Mondays, and is a great place for those who are interested in other cultures and wish to become acquainted with the history of Santorini. There are three main collections on display ‒ sculpture from the Archaic to the Roman Period, inscriptions dating from the Archaic to the Roman Period as well as vases and clay figurines from the Geometric to the Hellenistic Periods.
A significant part of the exhibits comes from the excavations carried out on Mesa Vouno Mountain where a settlement of the Hellenistic Period was discovered. The majority of them was found in the cemetery of Ancient Thera and includes ceramic objects, pots, amphorae as well as ancient statues, like the representative nude male statue called kouros. The rest of the finds can be admired in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. It is recommended that visitors visit both the archaeological site of Ancient Thera and then the Archaeological Museum in order to gain an understanding on the history and evolution of the island.
Some artifacts on display of great importance is a Theran amphora with geometric decoration, found in the archaic cemetery of Ancient Thera that dates back to the beginning of the 7th century BC, a volcanic boulder that weighs 480 kg, with an inscription concerning the athlete Eumastas who managed to lift it with his bare hands and, finally, a krater with Attic black figures that dates back to the second half of the 6th century BC. Notable are also some Byzantine works of art and an impressive collection of geometric vases from the 5th century BC. There are even some finds, which date back to the prehistoric times, from Akrotiri and Chistiana islet.
The outstanding exhibits and the unique collections of the Archaeological Museum of Thera will captivate all visitors as they will have the opportunity to travel back in time and watch the history of the island unfolding before their eyes. A visit here will also reveal Santorini’s true essence and the fact that it is a multifaceted island with many secret treasures and a rich cultural heritage.