History of Santorini

Home -Santorini -History -Minoan Civilization on Santorini

Minoan Civilization on Santorini

During its long history, several influential civilizations settled down on the island of Santorini. The first historically significant inhabitants, arriving here from the island of Crete, were the so called Minoans, a civilization that fascinates the archaeologists for a long time, especially then its extinction.

The Minoan Civilization was born and developed itself on the neighbouring island of Crete, approximately 5000 years ago. The Minoans were educated people, good traders, artists and also experienced sailors. They were the first European nation, that created and used a written language, which was just deciphered not long ago. Unfortunately, something, causing the fall of the whole culture, happened during the time of their rise. However, many traces and artefacts, proving its existence and development, remained preserved until today.

Somewhen between 2000 - 1600 BC, the Minoans landed on Santorini and settled down in the region today known as Akrotiri. Akrotiri belonged to important Aegean prehistoric sites because the first people lived here already in the late Neolithic Period (4th-3th millennium BC). As time went on, the settlement evolved into one of the most important harbour cities of the Aegean Sea, during the Middle and Late Bronze Age (17th-8th century BC).

The Minoans built up a very developed city with public buildings (also multi-staged), stone houses, streets, market place and even canalization. It became rich, mostly because of trading and except traditional handicrafts, the people made also art, for example colour paintings, jewelleries, etc. The frescoes of Akrotiri are known for their lively colours and beautiful illustrations.

Some of them or at least their fragments, remained preserved and together with other interesting artefacts (tools, dishes, marble figures, jewelleries, etc.), can be admired in the Prehistoric Thera Museum, located in the capital city of Fira. In Fira, we can visit also the Archaeological Museum of Thera, showing in its expositions the history of Santorini, from the oldest times until the present.

Around 1600 BC, after a series of smaller earthquakes, a massive volcano eruption took place on Santorini, that dramatically influenced the life on the island and its close and also further surroundings. The eruption of Strongyli volcano completely deformed the shape of the island and it is also assumed to be the main reason of the fall of the Minoan civilization. Soon after the eruption, the city was covered by volcanic ash and dust, what made it remained conserved and preserved until today. Thanks to that, the archaeological site of Akrotiri is a unique sightseeing locality.

Did you visit this place and do you have some additional informations, interessting observation or photos?

Write us