Description of Santorini
Santorini is one of the most famous Greek islands worldwide and it has any right to be! The volcanic island of Santorini or Thira as it is called officially deserves all the superlatives. Some of the best hotels are located in Santorini facing the unique caldera, whereas the restaurants serve dishes of the delicious local cuisine and exceptional wine. It is the island with the most surreal and dramatic landscapes in Cyclades and has, along with Mykonos Island, a leading role in tourism, providing high quality of services and facilities. Santorini causes so many different feelings but only one could sum up all of them: awe.
Geography of Santorini
Santorini is actually a group of volcanic islands that span in total an area of 90,62 sq. km. with a total population of 13.670 residents. The islets that can be seen in the centre of the caldera are not inhabited and in fact the black islets of Palia Kammeni and Nea Kammeni are undersea volcanoes that breached the sea surface. The island of Therassia is inhabited and the islands closer to Santorini are Anafi on the east, Ios on the north, Sikinos and Folegandros on the northwest.
History of Santorini
Santorini is the relics of a massive volcanic explosion in the 16th century AD. The ‘Thera Eruption’ as scientists refer to, is the reason of the extinction of the Minoan Civilization that has spread in the Aegean. The astonishingly well-preserved findings of the archaeological site of Akrotiri indicate the advanced civilization of ancient times. Santorini remained uninhabited for several years after the eruption. In Hellenistic era, Santorini is a naval base for Egypt. In the 13th century AD Santorini goes under the Franks and takes its present name of the Catholic church of Saint Irene. In the 16th century goes under the Ottoman Rule and in 1830 becomes part of the independent Greek State. In 1956 Santorini sees a devastating earthquake with many losses and in the early 70’s starts attracting tourism.
Sightseeing on Santorini
The island of Santorini is a sight itself. The unique landscape formed of the volcanic eruption is stunning and famous for the colours during the sunset. Walking around the traditional village of Ia and watching the famous sunset is a must for every visitor. You can also visit the islet of Palia Kammeni and walk on the volcano’s heart or swim in the extraordinary beaches of black or red sand. The very interesting archaeological site of Akrotiri is closed to public because of the collapse of the canopy covering the site and a new one is currently being built. You can visit instead the small but really interesting Archaeological Museum in Fira with important recent findings of the pre-eruption era.
Local Products of Santorini
Because of the unique desert climate of the island and the rich volcanic soil, the arid land of Santorini has many vineyards still cultivated in the traditional local way. The wine produced in Santorini is of exceptional quality and intriguing taste. The famous Vinsanto is made of sun-dried grapes. Also, there is production of cherry tomatoes, the local white eggplant, the local round cucumber and capers.