Ancient Théra

Ancient TheraAncient Thera
The remains of Théra, the ancient capital of the island of Santorin, extend from the Selláda over the rocky ridge of Mésa Vounó, which slopes down steeply on three sides. The town, which continued in existence into Byzantine times, has preserved its original Hellenistic layout.
From the Evangelismós chapel a path winds its way southwards up the hillside to the retaining wall of a terrace on which are the remains of the temple of Apollo Karneios (sixth century B.C.). The temple has a pronaos, naos and two rooms built against the southwest wall of the naos. The terrace (also sixth C.) to the south of the temple, built up to make it larger, was used for ceremonies in honor of the god. Between the temple and the corner of the wall are the foundations of a rectangular building, within which, cut in the rock, are the names of various gods (northwest side; some dating from eighth century B.C.) and of citizens of Théra (southeast side).

Gymnasion of the Ephebes

At the southeast end of the ridge is the Gymnasion of the Ephebes (second century B.C.). On the northeast side of a large courtyard is the Grotto of Hermes and Herakles; at the east end are a rectangular hall and a round building. Above are rock-cut inscriptions, some of them erotic in content.

Main Street

Flanking the main street are the foundations of a number of Hellenistic houses with ground-plans of Delian type and the Theater, with a Roman stage building, under which are traces of the Ptolemaic proskenion. At the entrance to the theater a side street branches off and runs up to the rock sanctuary of the Egyptian deities Isis, Serapis and Anubis.
Farther along the main street is a colonnade with shops, and beyond this are Roman baths. Then comes the Agora, a long irregularly shaped area with a number of streets opening off it. On its east side is the Stoa Basilike (first century B.C.), with two inscriptions in the name of Kleitosthenes opposite the entrance. The inner hall is divided into two aisles by a row of Doric columns. The pilasters along the walls and the building at the north end (a tribunal?) were later additions.
The main street continues north beyond the Agora. A side road leads west up the hill to the barracks and the gymnasion (to the south) of the Ptolemaic garrison, on the highest point of Mésa Vounó.

Temple of Dionyso

Above the north end of the Agora, is a terrace with a temple of Dionysos, converted in the second century B.C. to the cult of the Ptolemies and in the Roman Imperial period to the cult of the Emperors. Opposite it is a temple of the goddess Tyche (Fortune).

Temple of Artemidoros of Perge

At the lower end of the main street, near the Selláda, is the temple of Artemidoros of Perge (third century B.C.), with rock-cut reliefs. From the Selláda it takes half an hour to reach the picturesque 19th century church of Períssa. Southwest of the church, to the right of the churchyard, are the foundations of a round building of the early Empire, with inscriptions relating to the ownership of land (A.D. second - fourth century).

Temple of Thea Basileia

From Períssa the return to Firá is by way of Emborió and the temple of Thea Basileia (first century B.C.), excellently preserved, with the ancient roof, a handsome door-frame and a niche in the interior, as a result of its conversion into the church of Áyios Nikólaos Marmarítis.

Museum of Prehistoric Thera

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera displays artifacts from the excavations of Akrtotiri, Potamos, and various sites on the island. Exhibits explore the history of research at Thera, the geology, the island's history from the Late Neolithic to the Late Cycladic I period, and the city of Akrotiri.
Ancient Thera - Site map Ancient Thera Map

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