Near the Aegean sea, nestled among narrow, winding roads and tourist shops, sits the Lost Atlantis Experience – a museum in Santorini, Greece. People have told legends of Atlantis for centuries, but no one knows its location or whether it actually existed. As a result, this mystery begs the question, why is there an Atlantis museum in Greece?
A Brief History of Atlantis
The city of Atlantis was first mentioned around 360 B.C.E. by Plato in his famous text, The Republic. Ever since, people have searched far and wide for this utopian city even though it was mentioned in writing by one philosopher and potentially used only as a fictional allegory. In short, we do not have any actual evidence of this civilization’s existence.
However, researchers believe in several possible locations of this mythical city. For example, some suggest that Atlantis could have been located off the coast of America and Antarctica. Also, in 2011, archeologists discovered an entire city underwater off the coast of Spain, believing that this could have been Atlantis as well.
Why is an Atlantis Museum Located in Santorini?
Researchers have recently claimed that Plato’s legendary civilization could have been located on the modern-day Greek island of Santorini. Over the past 3,000 years, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis, possibly large enough to wipe out entire civilizations, have battered the island. According to the Greek Reporter:
“Findings, including those made in 2020, show objects of exquisite artistry found in the area referred to as Akrotiri on Santorini; Akrotiri may indeed be the location of the ancient Atlantis.”
Some of these artifacts found in Akrotiri include well-preserved frescoes. An elaborate one containing vibrant colors and a floral design is depicted below. Click here to view a full video on YouTube and learn more about the ash-buried Akrotiri ruins.
Following this claim, Santorini’s Atlantis museum has used this opportunity to educate and entertain tourists since 2020. Giannis, an employee of the museum, described the impact of the Atlantis museum on Santorini’s culture and tourism. He said, “Since I’ve worked here, quite a few people have visited. There are two or three more museums in Santorini, but this is something different and fun for families.” A patron of the museum posted about his experience on his Instagram account. See below for more details.
So, Did Atlantis Actually Exist?
This question is more complex than one would think. Historians have believed that several cities, such as Troy, were fictional, only to unearth their evidence later. In his article “Where is the Lost City of Atlantis – and Does it Even Exist,” Geoffrey Giller firmly believes that Plato fabricated the story of Atlantis for his own purposes. However, when Giannis was asked his opinion on Atlantis’s existence, he said:
“I think the most important part is the philosophy of Plato. He probably added mythological elements, but an actual society may have existed. The legend says that the people (of Atlantis) were arrogant, so the god Poseidon wiped them out. The most important part is the lesson we can learn from it.”
Perhaps an elaborate, utopian civilization did exist only to be destroyed by a volcano, tsunami, or the wrath of ancient gods. Unfortunately, the fact that Plato is the original and only source of this myth does not add to its credibility. Regardless, the legends we have continued to tell of Atlantis keep its memory alive, and maybe that existence is enough. Because in the end, as Giannis claimed, “The mystery is always more attractive than direct answers.”