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Museum of Prehistoric Thera

Museum of Prehistoric Thera

Museum of Prehistoric Thera

The prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri is one of the oldest and more important urban centers of the Aegean, so, in terms of importance, the Museum of Prehistoric Thera is considered to be equal to the Acropolis and Vergina Museums, as its collection reveals that Thera of the 17th century BC was an advanced and pioneering society.

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Museum of Prehistoric Thera
One of the most important museums in Greece

Museum of Prehistoric Thera map location

General Information

Museum of Prehistoric Thera
Fira Santorini 847 00 Greece
Tel: +30 22860 23217
Open: 8.30 - 15.00 (Mon closed)
Price: 3 €

Free on Sundays from November to March and the first Sunday of every month except July.

Small but concise, the well-structured Prehistoric Museum offers a unique time travel in the faraway past of Santorini and Greece and helps the visitor discover, step after step, the continuity and the progress of the Theran civilization through the centuries.

Dwelled from at least mid-5th millennium BC, it was in the 3rd millennium BC that Akrotiri grew from a fishing village to a notable coastal element. Just a few metres from the entrance of the Museum, the early Cycladic marble figurines and the Northeast Aegean-originated vases stand eternal witnesses and reminders of the active role that Thera played not only in the early Cycladic civilization but in the Aegean area in general.

After that, the next rooms do not come as a surprise, but they do amaze us as we realize the high level of development the 17th century BC Akrotiri achieved when it became an urban center and a commercial harbour. Therans invented their own ways of measuring and recording the quality, the ownership and the provenance of commodities. Vases in standardized shapes and decorations, wide range of lead balance weights, seals from the vases with the goods that arrived from Crete, Linear A tablets - they all make us imagine what it must have been like to be a tradesman back then. But it does not end here, as we also admire the carved wooden table, the bronze incense-burner, the round furnace, all of them proving that Therans were not only specialized craftsmen but also valued comfort and beauty.

Their appreciation of beauty becomes more evident on the domain of art. The wall paintings, the jugs and the vases, the jewellery cover almost half the surface of the museum. From the moment we set our eyes on the frescoes of the Ladies and the Monkeys, we are overwhelmed by their rich colors, their lines, their vitality, their sense of movement. And, we are more than impressed by the shape of the clay jugs that remind us of birds ready to fly away. Theran's avant-garde creations possess a timeless quality even though they were made thousands of years ago.

Last but not least, the gold ibex figurine is an impressive small statue; its magic is enhanced by the fact that they have not found out yet what its function was.

Leaving the Museum, we can not but look at Santorini from a different, more humane point of view. At the same time, we feel that our preconceptions about Prehistory have been challenged and that prehistoric is not necessarily a synonym of primitive.