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Facts you should know about Santorini

Mariana Salvo

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The island of Santorini was formed by lava during the eruption of a volcano in 1660 BC. The central part of the volcano sank in the sea and leading to the appearance of Santorini as it is today along with the neighboring islands Thirasia, Palea and Nea Kameni.

The eastern slopes of the island are green and fertile, even in October. This is due to the large vineyards, which grow so well in the fertile volcanic soil. The gently sloping mountain slopes to the east use all the available part of this fertile land.

Local products

The inhabitants live mainly from agriculture and tourism. The largest export product of the island is the Thera land with 2,000,000 tons per year, which is used all over the world, mainly to make cement. The Suez Canal was built with this particular Santorini product, for example.

History of Santorini

Santorini used to be a round island, but during the earthquake in the 15th century BC. took the form it has today. This is one of the reasons why many believe that Santorini was once really Atlantis.

The Minoan civilization was destroyed after this explosion, but apparently most people managed to escape.

The island has changed names throughout history. It was originally named Round, as this was the shape of the island. When the Phoenicians came, they named her Kallisti and finally took the name Thera from its first ruler, Thira.

Thiras was the son of the Theban hero Aphthesion who was a descendant of Kadmos. He was regent of Sparta and responsible for the twin nieces of Proclus and Eurysthenes. When his nieces grew up, Thiras along with other aristocrats left Sparta and settled in Santorini.

The Romans initially used the island as a place for exiles, but later helped build the island. The Christianization of Santorini took place between the 2nd and 5th century. The island was frequently looted and destroyed by pirates, in 1204 it was conquered by the Venetians. It was around this time that the island got its current name. The patron saint of the island was Agia Irini -Santa Irini- and the Catholic sailors called it Santarini – so it eventually became Santorini.

The island was destroyed by the Venetians in 1354, and once again in 1397, this time by the Turkish conquest. In 1821 Santorini joined forces with the Greek revolution and then the island was liberated from the Turkish yoke. In 1956 a terrible earthquake occurred that caused huge damage to the island. Many residents in Kamari come from a village that was completely destroyed then.

Nightlife and fun

Santorini has a varied nightlife, and most bars and clubs are located in Fira, Perissa and Kamari. Fira is probably the most popular place, here you should not miss the opportunity for a drink in one of the bars and cafes on the side of the caldera. The amazing view, the relaxed atmosphere and the soft music will give you an unforgettable experience.

Food and Restaurants

You can find almost everything in Santorini – from traditional Greek cuisine to international gourmet restaurants. Try the local Wisanto wine! In Fira on the Caldera side, there are numerous eateries, restaurants and taverns where you can enjoy all kinds of food from cheap skewers, gyros and hamburgers to expensive and luxurious restaurants. You will find the same number of eateries and restaurants in Oia, Imerovigli and all the other resorts of the island.

Shopping

Santorini is a cosmopolitan island, and the number of luxury yachts and cruise ships stopping here is too high for such a small island, so the prices are a bit more expensive than other islands.

Many artists live here, and you can buy very original items – hand-painted such as umbrellas, ceramics, jewelry, artwork, etc. You can also buy pictures and pumice.

It is worth buying local wine and local fava of Santorini, as well as local cheeses and capers. Of course, if you stay in Santorini for a long time and would like to buy everyday items and food, there are large supermarkets such as Lindle, mini markets, grocery stores and all kinds of shops.

Transportation

Santorini is a small island, and it is easy to get around and has many good roads. There are buses that take you to most places, but of course you can also rent a car or bicycle.

There are also many taxis. The port of Athinios, where ferries dock, is connected to Fira and the rest of the island by a good road and you will find here a number of car rental offices as well as many owners of boarding houses, rooms and hotels that offer accommodation in the island.

The old port of Fira below the city is used only for passengers by cruise ships. You can also go down to the old port, almost 900 steps, or go on donkeys. There is also a cable car which is a nice experience.

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