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Akrotiri Thera: after seven years it was well worth the wait!

Aegean Odyssey really was in the right place on Sunday when we were the first cruise ship to visit the re-opened Akrotiri Thera site on Santorini. Regarded by many as the ‘Pompeii of Greece’ the site was destroyed by a volcanic eruption nearly 4,000 years ago and was closed to tourists after a safety incident in 2005.

Many of our guests were unaware that the site was being re-opened and as the first cruise ship into the island, we were assured of a warm welcome and most importantly few other visitors.

Dr Matthew Nicholls at Akrotiri

Dr Matthew Nicholls at Akrotiri

Commenting on his first visit to site, Dr Matthew Nicholls, one of our guest lecturers onboard said, “The winding road up from the port takes you over the rocky spine of Santorini and you can imagine what life would have been like on the island before the volcanic eruption which covered the town and its inhabitants. The archaeological site has been completely rebuilt and covered with a new steel roof and is now fully open to visitors.

“We were lucky to have been accompanied by one of Voyages to Antiquity’s tour guides which helped us uncover the wonders of the site. You really need a guide to get the most out of the visit as many of the signs and info boards have yet to be completed. This made our whole experience so much richer and enjoyable.

A guide at the site

A guide at the site

“One of the best parts of a Voyages to Antiquity visit is you don’t have to fight through hordes of visitors. We had the site to ourselves and were able to see so much. This really is a ‘must see’ for anyone interested in Greek history. The whole site dates back 850 years before Homer and is truly unique. We were privileged to have seen the re-opened site in its newly refreshed style and I hope to be back in the coming years to discover more.”


Dr Matthew Nicholls read Greats (Literae Humaniores) at the University of Oxford, at St John’s College and graduated with a double first. He began his graduate work there and was then elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at The Queen’s College. His doctoral thesis was on Roman public libraries and he is now writing a book on that subject for Oxford University Press, as a lecturer at Reading University. His research interests include the buildings and cities of the Roman and Greek world, and he also has an interest in 3D computer reconstructions of ancient architecture.

Matthew been a consultant to the BBC TV programme Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections and appeared on BBC Radio 4 In Our Time in his quest to bring Classics to a wider audience. He spends part of each summer in Rome and enjoys travel throughout the sites of the ancient world and beyond.