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In Search of Atlantis

One of the most fascinating and enduring myths of the world is the tale of Atlantis; an island civilisation described by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, which sank beneath the ocean long ago. It’s become part of popular culture, featuring in comics, novels, TV programmes and films – but some believe that it may, in a way, be more than just a tale. Some of those scholars further believe that the remains of the Atlantean civilisation may not be entirely under the sea – and some may lie on the modern island of Crete.

Plato described Atlantis as lying “in front of the Pillars of Hercules”, which many modern scholars believe refers to the straits of Gibraltar. Of course, “in front of” is a subjective description, so many differ in their interpretation of which side of the straits that might mean – whether it refers to the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean.

He is also supposed to have said that Atlantis was “larger than Libya and Asia together”, which is altogether more problematic for those trying to place it – however, it is considered possible that the ancient Greek words for “larger” and “between” were at some point confused in translation and transcription. If Atlantis did lie in the Mediterranean Sea, and was between Libya and Asia, that would point quite squarely towards the area of the Greek islands.

That’s a pretty weak argument though – so what else points towards Crete? Well, there are Minoan remains on Crete and other islands nearby which show evidence of their advanced engineering knowledge, something they would have had in common with the Atlantean civilisation as described by Plato. The island of Thera (Santorini) to the north, where the ancient settlement of Akrotiri is found, has further evidence; quarries of red, black and white stone, which Plato described the city of Atlantis being built from, and a fresco which seems to show a city in the central lagoon – just like Atlantis.


Then there’s the Santorini eruption – one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, which happened in around 3600 BC. This was at the height of the Minoan civilisation; the eruption devastated the settlements around the area, such as Akrotiri. It would also have sent a great tsunami to Crete, which would have had a significant impact upon their coastal settlements there. If this was enough to spell the end of the Minoans, what do you have? An ancient civilisation, advanced in their technologies, who were wiped out when the ocean swept over their lands.


The Minoan city in Thera’s central lagoon may have inspired the city of Atlantis, but the civilisation itself was largely based on the island of Crete. So, if you’re in search of ancient Atlantis, you could do a lot worse than a Cretan holiday, where you can explore ancient Minoan remains as well as enjoying the sunshine, the beaches and the glorious landscapes that they would once have inhabited.

Here at Freelance Holidays, we offer a great selection of villas in Crete which are a great base for your exploration – whether you’re here for the culture, the beaches or the sunshine! For more information, or to check on availability, contact us on 01789 297705 today.

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