“The great Egyptian Age was but a remnant of the Atlantian culture,
The antediluvian kings colonised the world,
All the Gods who play in the mythological dramas
In all legends, from all lands, were from fair Atlantis”.
That song from 1968 and a handful of movies over the years were all we really knew about the myth of Atlantis – until Scoot Airlines took us to Greece – and we visited the magical island of Santorini.
As we now know, the Atlantis legend dates to about 360 BC, describing a prosperous land that disappeared into the sea.
So where does Santorini come into it?
There is a school of thought that Santorini – the famed isle of white buildings, blue rooftops and glorious sunsets – was once Atlantis, until a volcanic eruption wiped out the Minoan culture.
The Atlantis theory centres on the former Minoan settlement at Akrotiri, destroyed by a volcano about 1450 BC – and now partially excavated.
All this talk of a mythical land beneath the sea adds plenty of spice to one of Santorini’s most popular attractions, the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, which displays ancient artefacts unearthed at Akrotiri and similar sites.
Although relatively small and housed on the site of a former church at Fira, the Museum of Prehistoric Thira covers Santorini’s history from the late Neolithic period to late Cycladic times.
There’s decorative ceramics; religious and ritual objects; stone and ceramic vases; bronze tools; and complex wall paintings.
The museum has four specific sections containing findings dating from the 5th millennium B.C. (late neolithic era) to the 17th century B.C.
We were particularly impressed by the glowing gold ibex goat figurine, measuring around 10cm in length, dating from the 17th century B.C. which was discovered in mint condition in 1999.
There were also some remarkable fossilized olive tree leaves that dated to 60,000 B.C.
9/10: From our experience, the Museum of Prehistoric Thira is well suited to visitors of any age and mobility.
Because it is located on the ridge at Fira, the museum does have about 12 steps on its main approach. However, a level alternative entrance is provided.
When we visited, the cost of admission was a modest three Euros. There was a reduction for senior visitors from within the European Union and free admission for children under 18 and students from the EU.
Once inside, the layout of the museum is simple and easy to follow. The exhibits are clearly labelled in relatively large writing – and all explanations and direction signs are in both Greek and English.
The floors are level; there are public conveniences; and a shop – again all on the same level.
The Museum of Prehistoric Thira could be viewed in a little over an hour, but a thorough visit would take a little longer.
The building is air conditioned; staff are multi-lingual; and the attraction is open year-round.
So, why only 9/10?
Because of its central location in Fira, visiting the museum may require navigating the narrow village streets, which are often extremely busy – particularly in summer. This can be a real effort for anyone- regardless of fitness or mobility.