In the late 12th Century B.C. one of the most feared military forces in the greek world arrived at Santotini. They called themselves the Spartans. The Spartans were led by King Theras, who the city was later named after: Thera. The city of Thera was built atop of a hill named Messa Vouno. They chose to build a life there because it is the highest peak in all of Santorini. A natural fortress.
The town of ancient Thera is located in a fortified position, about 365 meters above sea level. The only way to reach the city of Thera is through the stone paved roads running along the hillsides of Messa Vouno and another hill called Profitis Ilias.
Till this day most of the roads and trails going up to the city of Thera still traverses the mountainanous terrain, which still remains unaltered since antiquity. The Spartans took this same route everyday to reach the city of Thera.
At the top of the city, the Spartans have complete view of the landscape below it. The Spartans had a very closed off society, and it was mainly influenced because of its strategic position.
At the top of the Messa Vouno, where the city is located the Spartans had a clear view of anything or anyone approaching from all directions of the sea. Any naval forces approaching would be seen. This is one of the biggest reasons the Spartans chose this spot to settle in, and because the Spartans were a military state it only made sense that they would choose this fortress to live at.
Ancient Thera was a successsful settlement. Because of their high vantage point, they did not have many enemy’s that would risk a fight on their territory. The city itself had many sanctuarys where people would go to worship the gods. They had there own theater, and an Agora where they did trade and discussed politics.
1. “Ancient Thera” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, O1 June 2018. Web. 02 June 2018.
2. “Mt. Mesa Vouno” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 01 June 2018. Web. 02 June 2018.