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Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera is situated on a foreland in the east of Santorini. A first settlement might have taken place before the 9th century. Remains from the 7th and 6th century have been discovered, but most of the ruins are from the Ptolemaic era. The excavation site is situated on the Mesavouno ridge.

The Church of Agios Stephanos welcomes the visitor at the entrance. It was built on the remains of an early Christian basilica from the 5th century b.C. The Ptolemaic theatre, with space for about 1,500 spectators, has been redesigned in Roman times. The orchestra remains well recognizable. The temple of Apollon Pythios was said to be a sanctuary and was located on the left side, and more west there was the Basilika Stoa, built by the Ptolemy and later on restaurated by Emperor Trajan. It is thought that behind the portico the remains of Dionysosí temple can be found (it was there that the Roman Emperors were venerated). Even more west, the way leads to the garrisonís Gymnasion, which is supposed to be the commandantís residency.

Artemidorosí Temenos was a sacred district. The Ptolemaic admiral let carve in stone the dolphin for Poseidon, the eagle for Zeus and the lion for Apollo. On a terrace, there remain only the foundation walls of the Apollon Karneiros sanctuary. In front of the temple, on the feast terrace, the Dorians performed ritual actions in honour of the light god. There are petrographs in ancient Theraic letters, ascribed to the 7th and 6th millenium b.C. Cisterns, Roman baths, the grotto of Hermes and Hercules and the gymnasion of the Ephebes have been excavated between 1896 and 1902, led by the German Hiller von Gärtringen.

A hint: You may not use flash or a tripod when taking photos. It is not allowed to film.

The excavation site can be reached best by a twisting road from Kamari. If you are coming from the Profitis Ilias, you can get there on a foot path within ninety minutes.

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