The fascinating ruins of Ancient Thira (also spelled Thera) are located on Mesa Vouno Mountain, at an altitude of 400 metres and from which there are spectacular views down to the sea and the two popular beaches of Kamari and Perissa.
Excavations began in 1895, revealing many wonderful artefacts from the ancient city. During its time, ancient Thira played host to Phoenicians, Dorians (whose leader was Theras), Romans and Byzantines; the ruins you see today are from the Hellenistic phase (around the 4th century B.C.) but there are also extensive Roman and Byzantine remains.
The Sanctuary of Artemidoros, founded by Artemidoros of Perge in the late 4th or early 3rd century BC, is entirely hewn from the rock and contains engraved epigrams and inscriptions including the symbols of the gods worshipped here: an eagle for Zeus, a dolphin for Poseidon and a lion for Apollo.
The agora was the commercial and administrative heart of Thira. In the Roman period the northern precincts were added, which include a portico, monuments and sanctuaries erected in honour of dignitaries of the period.
The Hellenistic Temple of Dionysos (3rd century BC) is a small Doric temple built on an artificial terrace to the north of the agora. The façade and roof were constructed of marble, with local stone being employed for the remainder of the building.
The Sanctuary of Apollo Karneios (6th century BC) stands in part on an artificial terrace, with the remainder being hewn from the rock face. It includes a temple, a square courtyard with six large monolithic pillars and an underground cistern.
The Necropolis of ancient Thera is located on either side of the roads that led to the north and south harbours of the ancient city, the modern villages of Kamari and Perissa, respectively. The graves excavated span from the Archaic to the Roman period.
The site of Ancient Thera is open Tuesday to Sunday: 8.30 AM – 3 PM