Santorini Museums | Discover the Hidden Gems of Santorini

The admirable Naval Maritime Museum stands in the picturesque village of Oia and offers insight into the local and Greek, in general, naval history. The museum was founded in 1956 by the captain Antonis Dakoronias and since 1990 it is housed in a beautiful captain house, a donation made by Dina Manolessou-Birbili. It is an impressive two-story mansion which was restored and converted into the current museum. Oia owns several captain houses that are the remainders of a former flourishing period of the village.

The museum of Oia, which is open to the public daily except Tuesdays, constitutes a “window” back in time when Santorini was a prosperous island thanks to shipping and played a vital role in the maritime history of Greece as it formed an integral part of its glorious navy. Through its exhibits, which have been collected since 1951, it provides valuable information on the fascinating evolution of Greek shipping as well as on parts of life in the Cyclades.

Santorini’s huge contribution to the Greek Navy was very significant for the island itself as its economic prosperity was based on its merchant fleet. The island’s nautical commerce reached its peak in the late 19th and early 20th century. Santorini owned multiple vessels of a large capacity of tons that travelled from Alexandria to Russia, crossed the Eastern Mediterranean exporting the renowned wine of Santorini and pumice stones from its volcanic land. The captains returned with all kinds of goods, such as cereal, cherry tomatoes, porcelain, cotton, fabrics, timber and furniture but they also had gained knowledge, experiences and wealth which were of equal importance.

On the ground floor of the museum visitors can observe the nautical equipment and different tools accompanied by a brief description concerning their use, including compasses, maps, sextants, portholes, hanging hurricane lamps, log meters, propellers, anchors, pulleys, deadeyes and more. The most notable tools on display are a manual driller and a massive foot operated lathe in excellent condition. Additionally, visitors will admire a library that includes special books and documents, delivery dockets, logbooks and nautical charts.

Moving to the first floor one can come across old and new ship models, mariners’ chests, uniforms and portraits of local captains as well as rare figureheads. Finally, the rich collection of the Naval Maritime Museum includes a wide range of impressive aquarelles featuring old sailing vessels and rare photographs of families, crew and vessels that bring to life an old era when Santorini was a thriving island.

Location & area

 Area map & nearby

Naval Maritime Museum is located in Oia village