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Santorini   Akrotiri   Fira   Firostefani   Imerovigli 
Kamari   Karterados   Megalochori   Messaria Monolithos
Oia   Perissa   Perivolos   Pyrgos   Vlychada
 
Santorini

Santorin,i one of Cycladic Islands, is the most picturesque island in the Mediterranean and arguably, amongst the most beautiful places in the world. The Island has had a very eventful history and there is even a theory based on the various historical facts that Santorini could even be the Lost Land of Atlantis. The Islands first name was Strongili (meaning round) before the main eruption and later on Kallisti (meaning most beautiful). The Phoenicians named it Thira which some of the residents still call it to this day. The name Santorini (St. Irene) is more recent and goes back to the Venetian influence on the Island, there is also a church named Santa Irini to honour the patron Saint Irene.

 

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A major volcanic eruption of the volcano around 1540 BC caused massive tidal waves which were about 200m high when they left the Island heading south. By the time they reached the Island of Crete they were still excess of 70m high and destroyed the Minoan civilization. The Island of Santorini was buried under layers of ash and lava several meters deep. The eruption of the volcano and removal of such a large volume of magma caused the volcano to collapse and to sink the whole centre and western part of the Island forming today's Caldera (a Spanish word meaning boiling pot). What was once a large Island is today split into a group of Islands Thira (main Island), Thirasia and Aspronisi (the white Island referring to its top layer of white pumice stone).

Many more eruptions happened throughout the centuries forming new Domes from the lava such as today's volcanic Islands Palea Kameni (197BC) and Nea Kameni. The last eruption emitting lava and toxic fumes was as recent as 1950. Santorini lies within seismically active area and apart from having gone through a number of volcanic eruptions it has lived through several earthquakes, the last major one was a non-volcanic earthquake in 1956 causing the death of 49 people and destroyed large parts of Oia and Mesia Gonia. The inexplicable physical phenomena and physical changes caused from the volcanic eruptions in the prehistoric years gave birth to the myth of the destruction of Atlantis, which was identified by many as the prehistoric Strongili.

 
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If you arrive by boat you are met by the breathtaking sight of the collapsed volcano crescent: the caldera, the largest of its kind in the world, with layers of black, pink, red and brown rock it rises 335m above sea level. Along the top you will see the white clusters of buildings that are the towns of Thira, Imerovigli and Oia. Much of the Island today is still covered with layers of Pumice (hardened volcanic ash) and lava several metres deep. The fertile soil produces excellent quality but fairly poor quantity, which is also partly because the Island is almost dry (there are no rivers and only 4 springs on the Island). The high daytime temperatures and humidity at night are ideal for a great variety of grapes to flourish on the Island producing a large yield of wine. There are a number of traditional wineries on the Island the main one being Volcan Wines and in fact wine is Santorini's largest product of export. Apart from wine, Santorini is also famous for its small but very tasty tomatoes ( one of the main ingredients for the excellent dish 'Psefto Keftedes' or tomato balls, a traditional poor men's dish for people who could not afford meat or meat balls. Another very tasty produce is fava beans, pistachios and white skinned aubergine.

 

 

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