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The main town of Fira (or Thira) used to be located on a perch above Kamari beach instead of in the middle of the Caldera facing the active volcano. I visited the ancient site at the top of the hill here. You can hike it (Vaggelis, the owner of the hotel where I stayed said I could walk it in half an hour-he obviously thought I was an Olympian), drive up, or take a bus. Since the road has hairpin turns and there is no barrier between the cliff and cars, I chose to take Kamari Tour‘s bus for 10 Euros rather than risk my life and save my legs.

The view on the ride on the bus was scary in and of itself as the bus had to maneuver past cars, people and ATV’s on the narrow road.

The bus takes you to the BOTTOM of the site and you must still climb up to the ruins; the car park/turn area is in the top middle part of the picture below.

Once you make the climb, the view is spectacular. Kamari Beach is down below and you can see the entire 5 mile stretch from the top of the hill.

They provide a map at the entrance (3 Euros or $5 entry fee) to the site, but all the ruins are marked with plaques that describe what you are looking at in both Greek and English, so you can make up your own self guided tour of the site.

This is the theatre of the ancient town center.

This was a home (obviously of a wealthy family) since even the ruins are quite large.

This was the Agora, or main marketplace for the city; the columns separated the vendors from each other.

The “streets” of the ancient city are now also in ruins, but they give you a sense of what it felt like to walk in the main town.

My self-guided tour took about an hour to cover the entire area, but it was my first experience in ancient ruins and it was a wonderful introduction to the history and artifacts of life centuries before the US existed.




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