Museum of Prehistoric Thera – Santorini, Greece

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera should be on your list of go-to’s if you ever plan on visiting Santorini, Greece. 

Located in the capital city of Fira, it is a two-story building that hosts many ancient artifacts and paintings. 

In this article, we will discuss why it is a place worth going to and the history behind it. 

What Was Ancient Thera Known For?

Ancient Thera has a long history of different names and its changing inhabitants. 

First, the Minoans settled in this place until the calamitous volcanic eruption of 1600 BC wiped them out. 

In the 8th century BC, Dorians inhabited this land under their ruler King Theras (whose name this island is based on). Archaeological evidence reveals that this city was an important part of trade links in the 6th century BC. 

In the 3rd or 4th century BC, Thera became the naval and military base for the Ptolemaic dynasty during the Hellenistic period. 

After this period, there is little documentation of who inhabited Ancient Thera but it is considered to be a hustling, bustling area up until the 3rd century AD when people began to move near to ports as it became safer and more convenient. 

Museums in Santorini

As discussed, the name of the island used today is Santorini. 

Since this place has a rich history, it’s only justified that there are a number of museums here

Museums or archaeological sites line almost every city in Santorini including Kamari, Oia, Akrotiri, and Fira. 

The two main museums in Fira include the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera

At the top of Ancient Thera, there is an archaeological site but that is not to be mixed up with the Archaeological Museum which is in Fira. 

The Archaeological Museum is a small jewel in the crown of Santorini. It has a few sculptures, inscriptions, and other artifacts. 

On the other hand, the Ancient (or Prehistoric) Thera Museum is a considerably bigger building with more artifacts. 

A Monkey Fresco found at the Prehistoric Museum

How Do I Get To The Museum of Prehistoric Thera?

To get to Ancient Thera, you either need to take a bus or hike from Kamari or Perissa to the top of Thera. To learn more about it, you can check out our article on Ancient Thera Santorini.

The route to the Museum of Ancient Thera is simpler. Since it’s located in Fira, you just need to get to the city and find your way to the museum. 

The easiest way to get to Fira is to take a bus from the airport at Kamari, the beach of Perissa, or port Athinios. If you want to reach quicker, you can also hire a car to drive your around. 

Other traditional ways include taking a cable car from the old port of Gialos which is a 3-minute beautiful route. You can even take a donkey ride from the port of Fira to the main city! Of course, these are a little impractical and should only be used if you crave the experience.

Once you’ve reached the city of Fira, you can get on a bus, car, or just walk to the Prehistoric Thera Museum. 

Keep in mind that the museum is closed on Tuesdays so make your plans accordingly. 

What’s Special About the Museum of Prehistoric Thera 

You might be wondering why you should even visit the Prehistoric Thera Museum…

For 6€, you will get to see over a century’s worth of history preserved inside this two-story museum that was made available to the public in 2000. 

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera has many artifacts from excavation sites. These excavations were primarily led by French geologist F. Fouque and German archeologist Baron Friedrich Hiller von Gaertringen. Baron mainly focused on Ancient Thera. 

The excavations include sites like Akrotiri and Potamos and date back from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Cycladic I period. 

You will find chronologically arranged items and well-preserved historical paintings. There are also preserved fossils of trees and animals that existed in Ancient Thera before humans ever did. 

There are other historically accurate objects including figurines, vases, jugs, furniture, and murals. 

All in all, this is a wonderful place for any history buff to visually look at centuries-old artifacts and walk through the prehistoric city. 

If you want to learn more about Santorini, Greece, you can check out our other articles about other wonderful places worth visiting during your stay on the island.