According to a legend, Santorini rose up from the depths of the sea and this, in combination with the eruption of the volcano, has led scientists to correlate and compare it to the lost city of Atlantis. The first signs of life were evident as far back as the mid 3rd century B.C. (Early Copper Age).The first name given to the island was Strongyle (“the circular one”) due to its shape. According to Herodotus however, the island was later renamed to Kalliste (“the most beautiful one”) due to its incomparable beauty. Once the island was colonized by Spartans (following the Phoenicians) the island changed its name to Thera, named after the Spartan leader of the time. Finally, the name Santorini , which is a contraction of the name Santa Irini , was given to the island by the Latin Empire referencing the name of the old cathedral of Saint Irene , the ruins of which were discovered in 1992 at the foot of the mountain in the village of Perissa.
The large volcanic eruption of circa 1613 B.C. (Late Copper Age) , and the following collapse of the volcano’s magma chamber /reservoir, lead to the formation of the caldera (a large underwater cauldron-like depression).
The rare natural beauty, the rich history and the unique geomorphology of Santorini have contributed to it becoming one of the world’s top and most sought after destinations. It has become the subject of study for numerous influential scientists as well as an inspiration to famous poets and writers. It is worth noting that the island was even mentioned in Jules Verne’s novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, as well as Santorini being his main source of inspiration in writing his novel “The Mysterious Island”
The wondrous capital of Santorini majestically dominates the west side of the island, built high up on the sharp Cliffside at an altitude of 250 meters above sea level. White –washed houses, scenic alleyways and important museums (Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Archaeological Museum of Thera ,Megaro Gizi ) make up a Cyclades settlement of outstanding beauty which simultaneously has all the necessary infrastructure (hotels,restaurants,commercial shops) so as to satisfy even the most demanding visitors.
The “Crown of Fira”, as the name suggests, makes up a separate settlement on the outskirts of Fira. The walk from Firostefani to Fira constitutes a truly unique experience since what truly stands out is the blue dome of Aghioi Theodoroi church (Saints Theodore) which has been featured is countless pictures and images worldwide.
At the north section of the island, at a distance of 11 km from Fira, resides the settlement of Oia, which a true architectural gem…with its rock-hewn buildings and imposing so-called “captain’s houses.Its renowned sunset provides a magical and almost spiritual experience, with people arriving from around the world so as to gaze at its enchanting grandeur.
The beautiful and gorgeous beaches of Perissa and of Perivolos together comprise an extensive coastline which surpasses 5 kilometers .The fine black sand, the crystal clear water and all the comforts provided by an organized beachfront creates ideal conditions for all visitors that wish to truly enjoy the sea and taste exquisite local dishes.
THE ANCIENT VINEYARD
Excavation findings reveal that grapes were grown and cultivated on the island at least since the 17th century B.C.The ancient vine varieties, the unique climate and ecosystem of Santorini and the fertile volcanic soil contribute to the production of high quality wine. The rock-hewn wineries constitute quite a wonderful and rustic sightseeing destination for the island.