ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM (FIRA)
While many outstanding archaeological finds from the excavations at Akrotiri in Santorini will be found at the Athens National Archaeological Museum, the Archaeological Museum of Santorini contains artefacts from excavations on the island and especially from ancient Thira. Of note in the museum is a fine collection of geometric red and black vases from the 5th century BC. Inscriptions are plentiful Minoan ware is also on exhibit. The museum also hosts sculptures of the Hellenistic period, Byzantine art and prehistoric times remains.

Open daily (except Mondays) from 08.30 to 15.00. Admission fee 3.00 Euro Tel. +30 22860 022217.

PREHISTORIC THERA MUSEUM (FIRA)
The museum endeavours to sketch the course of prehistoric Thera, through selected finds from various excavations. The exhibition covers units such as the research history at Thera, the island's history from late Neolithic to late cycladic I period and the heyday of Akrotiri with aspects as the architecture of the city, the emergent bureaucratic system, wall painting and pottery art etc. Noteworthy are the furniture plaster casts, household equipment, weapons, seals, impressive wall paintings and the unique gold ibex figurine.

Open daily (except Mondays) from 08.30 to 15.00. Tel. +30 22860 023217.


FOLKLORE MUSEUM EMM. A. LIGNOS (Kontohori, Fira)
Located in a cave home built in 1861 in Fira, in the Folklore Museum you will witness an original old winery, carpenter's, barrel maker's, shoe maker's and tinsmith's workshops, art gallery, library, chapel and courtyard. The museum is open daily from 10.00 to 14.00 and 18.00 to 20.00. Admission fee and guiding 3.00 Euro. Tel.+30 22860 022792.

MARITIME MUSEUM (OIA)
If you are looking to find out more about Santorini's maritime history, the Maritime Museum in Oia is the place not to miss. Displays feature marine objects which trace the history of the island, especially during the 19th century. Open daily (closed on Tuesdays) from 10.00 to 14.00 and 17.00 to 20.00. Admission fee 3.00 Euro. Tel. +30 22860 071156.

ARCHONTIKO ARGYROU (MESSARIA)
A richly decorated mansion built in 1888 by landowner and wine producer George Argyros. Shut down after the 1956 earthquake, the mansion reopened and got restored with special care given to retaining its original appearance, furniture and equipment. Open from May to October. Admission fee 3.60 Euro. Tel. +30 22860 031669, +30 22860 033064.
Before visiting the museums, calling to check the exact visiting hours.


Visiting AKROTIRI

At the southern end of Santorini is the ancient excavation site of Akrotiri. This site is a must to visit during your stay on the island and one, which will impress you. This is one of the archaeological sites in Greece where a good guide, or at least a good guidebook, will come in handy as explanations are needed for one to really appreciate what unfolds before you.

Much of the credit for the finds at Akrotiri, which date back as early as 3000 BC, went to the late Dr. Spyridon Marinatos, a well-known Greek archaeologist. His work began in the early 1930s and lasted until the day he was killed during an accident at the site in 1974. However work did not stop there and continues even today, so don't be surprised to see archaeologists busy at work on the site. Professor Marinatos found the paved streets of Akrotiri lined with multi-story houses all connected by a sophisticated central drainage system.

Most of the ground-floor apartments were used for storerooms, and hundreds of pithi jars and other utensils have been found within them. The upper floors were the living quarters for what appear to have been wealthy families; each house had at least one room lined with frescoes, some among the most magnificent yet found in Greece. These, along with the best of the pottery and stone vases unearthed at Akrotiri, are on exhibit at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

The original inhabitants of the town, used to the hazards of life on a volcano, had enough warning from earth tremors to clear out before the eruption, dated at about 1500 B.C.; the only remnant of a living thing found during the excavation was the skeleton of a pig. What happened to the people once they left remains a mystery; they may have made it to safely, although no traces have been found, or they may all have died while escaping in the tidal waves that followed the eruption.

The archaeologists have added cement support to walls already leaning before the earthquake, and have replaced the wooden beams and frames that were carbonised by the heat of the volcanic eruption. Otherwise, no changes have been made in the site, except to cover it with a protective roof.

The site is open daily from 8.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. except Monday, with a small entrance fee charged. Taking photographs is allowed however the use of flash is prohibited. Regular bus service takes one to the Akrotiri archaeological site from Fira and taxis are also available in the main town.