Two days ago, on June 15th, 2005, after two-and-a-half years of restoration, Thera Gallery once again welcomed people to view its exclusive collection of artifacts dating back to 1600 BC.
Housed in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Thera Gallery had suffered considerable damage due to the massive earthquake that shook Athens in 1999. Then it was refurbished at an estimated total cost of about 10 million euros and the gallery houses again findings from Akrotiri, a 16th century BC settlement that was destroyed by a major volcanic eruption. Akrotiri suffered the same consequence as the Italian city of Pompeii that was buried under tons of lava and ash when Vesuvius Volcano erupted.
Thera Gallery houses not only frescos from Akrotiri but also weapons, tools, vessels and bronze, ceramic and stone artifacts from the whole island of Santorini. The Akrotiri frescoes are well-preserved and remain till today intricately detailed works of art. The Boxing Children fresco portrays two children with heads shaved, wearing belts and a boxing glove each. While one child is wearing jewelry, the other one does not, probably depicting a class distinction. They both have large exaggerated eyes, which was a distinctive feature of the frescoes from that time period.
The other fresco known as Spring once adorned three walls of a house in Akrotiri. Blossoming lilies and swallows in flight amongst the volcanic landscape portrays the celebration of springtime. Painted in hues of white, red, yellow, blue and black, the composition of this fresco is stunning.
Thera Gallery is housed in Room 48, on the first floor of the National Archaeological Museum, and opened for the first time during the Second World War.