Santorini and Minoan Civilization

The influence of Santorini on the Minoan civilization: Santorini was occupied by many civilizations throughout its history, but the most influential early inhabitants were the Minoans. The destruction of the Minoan Civilization is an issue that has troubled many archaeologists since archaeological excavations brought to light the Minoan palace of Knossos in the 19th century.

The Minoan Civilization was born and developed in Crete about 5,000 years ago. The Minoans were educated people, good traders, artists, and experienced sailors. They were the first who created and used written language in Europe, which took experts years to decode. At its peak, the Minoan civilization was destroyed and disappeared for good, leaving behind some impressive traces which prove their existence.

At some time between 2,000 and 1,600 BC, the Minoans arrived in Santorini and settled in the area of Akrotiri. They built a developed Minoan city with public buildings, streets, stone houses, market place, and even a sewage disposal system. Akrotiri was getting rich out of the trade, like all Minoan towns, and also developed arts, like painting with colors. The frescoes of Akrotiri are particularly famous for their vivid colors and wonderful representations. Nowadays, those frescoes are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Around 1,650 BC, a chain of earthquakes and eruptions caused an intense explosion of the volcano. The volcanic ashes covered the Minoan settlement of Akrotiri and even reached the northern coasts of Crete and destroyed towns like Knossos. In fact, archaeologists have discovered volcanic ashes in the Cretan soil, proving that the ashes caused the end of the Minoan Civilization.