16 June 2019


High above the little church, on top of the mountain, that's where ancient Greeks built a small town. Later it would be subsumed by Roman inhabitants. No doubt its history is rich and tangled and not everything is known. Far from it. Today Ancient Thira lies in a tantalisingly ruinous state.

I woke at six thirty this morning and rather than rolling over and reconnecting with sleep, I got up, donned my walking boots, kissed Shirley farewell and headed off to the mountain. After half an hour I was back on the rocky path that winds up to the ridge.
After forty fairly gruelling minutes I was at the gates of Ancient Thira. The turnstile opened at eight thirty. I waited and then presented my passport and two euro coin before proceeding along another rocky path. I was the first visitor of the day.

The hilltop town's history goes back to 800BC - getting on for three thousand years ago. There must have been good reasons for choosing such a site. Perhaps the cooling winds were attractive. Perhaps they were closer to the gods. Perhaps it was all about defence.
They stored water in underground cisterns. They had social meeting places and baths. They had temples and shrines to different gods - including some Egyptian gods. There were big houses and little houses and a theatre that could accommodate a thousand spectators.

I spent ninety minutes up there, observing the ruins and wondering about the lives that were lived there over a period of a thousand years. It is at times like this that I wish I had studied archaeology when I was at university.

When I got down from the mountain I spotted that procrastinating donkey once again. In my head, I have named her Jenny. I think she's a Canadian donkey. Perhaps I will start a campaign on her behalf. Free Jenny! Let Jenny go!


  1. I have those thoughts about wishing I had studied archeology too.
    It is an almost spiritual experience being in a place like that, isn't it? All of the lives of all of the people so much like us in many ways, I'm sure. And their voices are now stilled, not even a whisper on the breeze.

    1. You put it so poetically Ms Moon. I couldn't have said it better.

  2. What a wonderful place to visit! I would love to see a place like that and dream about the ones that once walked and lived there. Like you and Ms. Moon, I have also wished I would have studied archaeology. But our interests do change as we experience life and in my youth I never thought of it. Thanks for sharing this adventure.

  3. We, the inhabitants of this wonderful planet, are surrounded by history - by relics, reminders of the past...myriad stories that should never be left hidden, untold. If more emphasis was put upon the history of our planet and its peoples, perhaps we, and future generations, would be all the better for it. I live in hope, and dreams....

    English, history and geography were my favourite subjects when I was a school student. Little has changed.

  4. When I see these ruins, I wonder how things were constructed with the technology they had at the time.

  5. Amazing civilization you have described.

    Poor donkey. It doesn't look like it even has any grazing area, let alone water. I hate seeing animals mistreated. Animals, children, and the elderly. All so vulnerable to those with power over them.

  6. I love that eagle, or falcon, or vulture, or whatever it is. Poor donkey! He looks like he needs a spa day.

  7. That does not look like a healthy donkey, poor bugger.


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