Home>>Greece Map>>Santorini Map

Santorini

Santorini

Santorini is an island located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast from Greece's mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 (28 sq mi) and a 2001 census population of 13,670. The municipality of Santorini comprises the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2 (34.990 sq mi). Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit.

Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic explosion that destroyed the earliest settlements, on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. On the fourth side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon is connected to the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest. The water in the center of the lagoon is nearly 400 m (1,300 ft) deep, thus making it a safe harbor for all kinds of shipping. The island's harbors all lie in the lagoon, and there are no ports on the perimeter of the island; the capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. The volcanic rocks present from the prior eruptions feature olivine and have a notably small presence of hornblende.

Santorini

Santorini

It is the most active volcanic center in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, though what remains today is chiefly a water-filled caldera. The volcanic arc is approximately 500 km (310 mi) long and 20 to 40 km (12 to 25 mi) wide. The region first became volcanically active around 3¨C4 million years ago, though volcanism on Thera began around 2 million years ago with the extrusion of dacitic lavas from vents around the Akrotiri.

The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of feet deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami. This theory is not, however, supported by chronology, in that the collapse of the Minoan civilization did not occur at the date of the tsunami, but some 90 years later. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis.

Santorini

Santorini

Agriculture: Due to its unique ecology and climate, and especially its volcanic ash soil, Santorini is home to unique and prized produce. The Santorini tomatoes are renowned; they are cherry tomatoes that are extremely flavorful and sweet, and with an intensely red, staining color. Santorini "fava" is a pur¨¦e made of the hulled, then sun-dried, then boiled legume Lathyrus sativus - not from the yellow split pea as in the rest of Greece. The white eggplants of Santorini are very sweet, with very few seeds, and can be eaten raw. The katso¨²ni is a unique local variety of large cucumbers which, if left unpicked when green, turn yellow and acquire a sweet taste almost indistinguishable from that of melon.

The traditional architecture of Santorini is similar to that of the other Cyclades, with low-lying cubical houses, made of local stone and whitewashed or limewashed with various volcanic ashes used as colors. The unique characteristic is the common utilisation of the hyposkapha: extensions of houses dug sideways or downwards into the surrounding pumice. These rooms are prized because of the high insulation provided by the air-filled pumice, and are used as living quarters of unique coolness in the summer and warmth in the winter, and also as premium storage space for produce and especially for wine cellaring: the Kanava wineries of Santorini.

Santorini

Santorini

Transport:Santorini is one of the few Cyclades Islands with a major airport. It is about 6 km southeast of downtown Thera. The main asphalt runway (16L-34R) is 2,125 meters (6,972 feet) in length. The parallel taxiway was built to runway specification (16R-34L). It can accommodate Boeing 757, Boeing 737, Airbus 320 series, Avro RJ, Fokker 70, and ATR 72. Scheduled airlines include the new Olympic Air, Aegean Airlines and Athens Airways, with chartered flights from other airlines during the summer. Transportation to and from the air terminal is through buses, taxis, hotel car-pickups and rental cars.

Links: Thira (Santorini) Municipality Official WebSite

Maps of Greece

Greece Attractions