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Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera
The Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera is the second most important archaeological site in Santorini after Ancient Akrotiri. It was uncovered during large-scale excavations between 1896 and 1902 by German archeologist Friedrich Hiller von Gaertringen. The ruins on the NE and NW slopes were excavated by N. Zapheiropoulos between 1961-1982.
It is located on the peak of Mesa Vouno (“Inside Mountain”), on the southwest side of the island in a small area called Episkopi Gonia, close to Kamari town and about 3km up a winding, narrow road or walking trail. Mesa Vouno (369m) and neighboring Mount Profitis (567m) in Pyrgos are the highest peaks on the island and offer beautiful panoramic views. There are trails from Kamari, Perissa, and Pyrgos to Mount Profitis and to Mesa Vouno and Ancient Thera, the longest one being 5km long. There is also a 2km trail connecting the two mountains. All trails lead to a snack bar just below a little cement road leading to the entrance of the site. Directions for trails are found in all three towns.
Ancient Thera was discovered in the 9th century BC by Dorian colonists, one of the four major ethnic groups in Ancient Greece. Thera (modern day Santorini) was named after the Dorian’s leader, Theras, and was inhabited up to the Byzantine period. The city was in a strategic location at the peak of the mountain, between the coasts of Kamari to the north and Perissa to the south. The Dorians built two roads, one to Perissa beach and the second to Kamari beach, where they built their ports which enabled them to control the southeastern Aegean Sea.
The archaeological site is well organized with a defined route across it. Open-air sanctuaries, temples, an agora, public buildings, private residences, neighborhoods, and a well-developed road network with drainage system make up the ancient city. The preserved ruins belong mainly to the Hellenistic and Roman periods of the city. Well-written descriptions in Greek and English are available throughout.
Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera Hours and Information
- Season: Open through the year except on Tuesdays.
- Hours: Open daily 8:30am to 3:30pm. Last admission at 3pm.
- Website: odysseus.culture.gr
- Location: Kamari, Santorini 847 00
- Telephone: +30 228 608 1939
- Admission Fee: €6. €3 for EU senior citizens (65+) and those under 25 from non-EU countries. Combined ticket at €15 per person includes single admission to the archaeological site of Akrotiri, archaeological site of Ancient Thera, and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira. Valid for 3 days.
- Free Entry: 6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri) • 18 April (International Monuments Day) • 18 May (International Museums Day) • The last weekend of September (European Heritage Days) • National Holidays • 28 October • Every first Sunday from November 1 to March 31
- Parking: There is a parking lot at Sellada (2km). There is also parking on the road just outside the site entrance, but its limited.
- Bus: The closest bus stop is in Kamari (3.5 km). The site can be reached by driving, taking a cab, or hiking up the mountain from the bus stop.