Santorini ,officially Thira,is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece’s mainland. The precious gem of the Aegean, is actually a group of islands consisting of Thira, Thirassia, Aspronissi, Palea and Nea Kameni in the southernmost part of Cyclades.
The whole complex of Santorini islands is still an active volcano (the same as Methana, Milos and Nisiros) and probably the only volcano in the world whose crater is in the sea!!
The islands that form Santorini came into existence as a result of intensive volcanic activity.
Twelve huge eruptions occurred, one every 20,000 years approximately, and each violent eruption caused the collapse of the volcano’s central part creating a large crater (caldera). The volcano, however, managed to recreate itself over and over again.
Another popular theory holds that the Thira eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis. It is the most active volcanic centre in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, though what remains today is chiefly a water-filled caldera.
Santorini is considered to be the most romantic place in the world ,where you can enjoy exquisitely clear waters while perched on the rim of a massive active volcano in the middle of the sea! The island has a growing reputation as a “wedding destination” for couples not only from Greece but from all over the world. A trip to Santorini with your other half is a dream for anyone. Santorini is famous for the perfect sunset !!
Santorini Island Sightseeing
Volcano and Hot Springs
The famous volcano of Santorini stands in the middle of the sunken caldera, right opposite the coastline of Santorini. It is located on the island of Nea Kameni and many tour boats go there from Fira. On the neighboring island of Palea Kameni, there are the hot springs, which are said to have curative properties. One of the ultimate adventures you can experience in Santorini is to join a volcano tour. There is a wide selection of volcano tours that offer the opportunity to admire the island from the sea.
Firá is the capital of the island. Is located on the edge of the Caldera and it looks like a marvellous painting. Firá, together with Oia, Imerovígli and Firostefáni located high above on a cliff, make up the so-called “Caldera’s eyebrow”, the balcony of Santorini, which offers an amazing view of the volcano.
Santorini Museums & Churches
While many outstanding archaeological finds from Santorini will be found at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, the Historical and Cultural Archaeological Museum of Santorini in Fira contains artifacts from excavations on the island .
It was built in 1960 by the Ministry of Public Works in order to replace the old museum (built in 1902), that had collapsed during the earthquake of 1956.
Noteworthy are a fine collection of geometric red and black vases from the fifth century BC Inscriptions are plentiful among the displays in the museum and a certain amount of Minoan ware is also on exhibit.
Museum of Prehistoric Thira
The Museum of Prehistoric Thira houses finds from the excavations at Akrotiri, rescue excavations at various other sites on the island, which were carried out by the 21st Ephorate of Antiquities for the Cyclades and Samos.
Also on display are other objects discovered fortuitously or handed over .
Wall Painting Exhibition in 4 Parts
The exhibition is structured in four units, referring to the history of research at Thira, the geology of Thira, the island’s history from the Late Neolithic to the Late Cycladic I period (early 17th century BC) and the heyday of the city at Akrotiri (mature Late Cycladic 1 period, 17th century BC). In the last unit, various aspects are presented, such as the plan and architecture of the city.
The exhibits include fossils of plants that flourished before the human habitation of Thira as well as archeological objects.
The History of the Mansion
Argyros Mansion is an elegant Neoclassical house, located in Messaria, a village famous for its architecture. This mansion was constructed in 1888 by Georgios Argyros, a landowner, and wine merchant. Today, it has been renovated and works as a museum.
It combines the traditional architecture of Santorini with elements and influences of eclecticism.It hosts wall paintings, traditional furniture, and other artistic objects. The ground floor serves as a five star hostel while there are guided tours for the public on the upper floor.
The churches of Santorini, show a Western influence in their relatively large size. The volcano’s eruptions and the catastrophic earthquakes that shattered the island from time to time strengthened the religious fervour of the locals, which intensified when they were confronted with Catholicism during the Frankish occupation.
Before the 1956 earthquake, the island boasted some 260 churches. Most of those that have survived are of the one-aisled basilica type with dome, while others are cruciform in shape with dome.The dome, which may be white, as in most churches, or blue.
Some of them are :
• Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral
• Church of Panagia Episkopi
• Agios Nikolaos Monastery
• Catholic Cathedral
Santorini Traditional Products
Santorini is the perfect place for a delicious food journey. The island is renowned for its wine and many more traditional products, thanks to the rich volcanic soil.
Visit exclusive wineries, fine restaurants and traditional taverns in order to taste local recipes and specialties and try the famous delicious Greek cuisine. You should taste :
• Santorini Cherry Tomatoes
• Santorini Fava Beans
• Tomato-keftedes (tomato-balls)
• Fish and Seafood
• White Santorini Eggplants/ melitzanes santorinis
Santorini Folklore Festivals and Cultural Events
Religious Feasts & Festivals
15th of August
On 15th August the feast day of the Diocese of Virgin Mary is celebrated in Akrotiri, Firostefani and most villages of Santorini. The biggest celebration held in Santorini for the feast day of Holy Virgin, in the church of Panagia Episkopi. Preparations start one day before with traditional food and local wine which is distributed to the people.
Megaro Gyzi Cultural Center
The Cultural Center ‘Megaro Gyzi’ was founded in 1980, the main purpose being spiritual development and the cultural improvement of the residents, as well as the promotion of Santorini.
Megaro Gyzi survived the earthquake of 1956.It was donated by the Catholic Diocese of Santorini for the activities of the Cultural Center.
For over 25 years, since 1981, the Cultural Center ‘Megaro Gyzi’ has been annually organising between the 1st and 31st of August a festival of various cultural events including music concerts and painting exhibitions of well-known artists.
Deep blue waters , white, red and black sand, vertical cliffs, red and black volcanic pebbles and spectacular rock formations… the beaches of Santorini are the strangest, that anyone have ever seen !
At the same time, the thought of swimming in volcanic waters makes the experience unique.
There are also few who say that if the Moon had beaches it would look like Santorini!
The best Santorini beaches are: