Ancient Akrotiri provides a rare glimpse into urban life in the Minoan period. Its elaborate architecture and vivid frescoes demonstrate the high level of culture on ancient Santorini. It has been estimated that the 40 buildings uncovered so far account for only 1/30th of the huge site.
The impressive buildings of Akrotiri include three-story houses faced with masonry (some with balconies) and extensively decorated with frescoes, which were very well preserved in the ash. Most of them are displayed in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens; Santorini is trying to get them back. Meanwhile, a few frescoes are in the nearby Museum of Prehistoric Thira.
Visitors tour the Akrotiri site along ancient Akrotiri's main street, lined with stores and warehouses of the ancient commercial city. Many large earthen jars (pithoi) were found here, some with traces of olive oil, fish, and onion inside.
There are descriptive plaques in four languages at various points along the path through the town, as well as small pictures of the famous frescoes next to the houses where they were found.
The best view of the town as a whole can be had from a triangular plaza near the exit, where the buildings rise to two stories. Also near the exit is the burial place of the site's chief archaeologist, Professor Syridon Marinatos of the University of Athens, who died in a fall at Akrotiri. Akrotiri Map