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Santorini Museums : Naval Maritime Museum
In Oia, the picturesque traditional town on the northwest coast of Santorini, an 19th century mansion has been restored and converted into a museum that houses the Maritime History of Thira.

Rare figureheads, Seamens' Chests, old maritime equipment, carrening drawings and patterns, models of old and new Thiran ships, acquarelles featuring old sailing vessels as well as rare photographs and a library, all register year by year the contribution of the Thirans to the glorious history of the Hellenic Navy. Oia reached the peak of prosperity in the late 19th & early 20th century. Its economic prosperity was based on its merchant fleet which plied trade in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially from Alexandria to Russia.

Hence the two-story captains houses built on the highest part of the village which are a reminder of the village's former affluence ...

Hellenic Marine & Thira (Santorini) Island

A Brief Historical Memorandum
The Hellenic Merchant Marine development took place from around the middle of the 18th Century. The Greek merchants had the chance to exploit the International opportunities due to the vacancy left by the Anglo-French antagonism in the commercial routes.

Initially as agents and brokers and later on as independent merchants and seamen, the Greeks were spreading to Eastern Mediterranean starting mainly from the islands of the Aegean Sea.

The Russian - Turkish war (1769-1774) and the Russian expansion in the Black Sea and the commercial privileges granted to Russia by the treaty of Cioutsouc Kynartzi (1774) and of Aynali Cavak (1779), had given the possibility to the Greek ships to raise the Russian Flag during that era to penetrate to South Russia and Ukraine.

Thus the Greeks little by little established their Maritime position, trading mostly the surplus agriculture products (wine, wheat, cotton) and investing in Shipping Company's and Transportation Trade.

These activities were profitable and the profits were multiplied as the Greeks took the risk by carrying mostly wheat. In a very short time the Greek Merchants and Seamen had made a fortune. On the eve of the French Revolution (1789) the Greeks reported that they owned 400 vessels.

The Frenchman Pouqueville in 1813 raised their number to 615 vessels out of which the island of Thira reports that 32 vessels were owned by the islanders (8th in line). The vessels had a capacity of 2560 tons, out of a total of 193,580 tons, with manning crews of 480 persons out of a total of 37,528 persons. They were armed with 120 cannons out of a total of 5,878 cannons. With the Greek Revolution of Independence (1821) the Merchant Navy was converted to a Revolutionary Naval Force.

After the revolution the only vital section of the economy was that of the Mercantile Marine and when the wheat trade dominated the markets the Greeks had the monopoly in South Russia and the Black Sea.

1850 Showed an Increase in Commercial Activity
Trade with Russia, France, Italy, England & Austria
Around the year 1850 the island of Thira shows an increase in commercial activity far more that the rest of the islands. It trades directly with Russia. Almost the total wine production was being exported there. From Russia they loaded cereals, part of which were discharged on the island and the rest was transported by the Thiran Merchants towards France, Italy and England.

It also exported Thiran pumice stone to Austria, but mainly it supplied the newly established Greek state for the building of sea ports and hydraulic works. From Europe it imported porcelain, timber and silverware, fabrics, cotton, silk, furniture, perfumes, food supplies and hardware.

Due to the above activities Thira owned vessels of large tonnage. In 1852 it had 126 vessels of a total capacity of 1094 tons (smaller than 30 tons each) and 74 vessels of a total capacity of 13.661 tons (larger than 30 tons each).

Oia Santorini 847 02 Greece
Daily 10.00 - 14.00 & 17.00 - 20.00 (Tuesday closed)

Naval Maritime Museum Oia

Naval Maritime Museum

Naval Maritime Museum

A Captain's House in Oia


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