5 Things You Didn’t Know About Santorini
When Santorini comes up in one of your friends’ vacation stories, the first images that pop to your head are probably the world-famous sunset, the crystal clear beaches, and the white-washed villages dotted with tiny blue-domed chapels. But there is so much more to this Mediterranean jewel! Santorini holds many unveiled secrets relating to its otherworldly landscapes or to the island’s true identity. If you are one of those travelers who like to study the peculiarities of their next destination, you will be fascinated to learn about these 5 local curiosities.
There is no need to cancel your flight in a hurry, the Santorini volcano is unlikely to erupt in our lifetime. A few years ago, a research program has been conducted by a group of Greek and international scientists who determined that the volcano is dormant. The sleeping beast has been dozing for centuries; therefore, it’s not considered hazardous. If you are feeling adventurous, you can book a Santorini sailing cruise that will take you up close to visit this natural phenomenon.
The lost kingdom of Atlantis
The remaining manuscripts of the famous Athenian philosopher Plato mention a mysterious flourishing continent that fell victim to the anger of the Greek gods, and thus it had to plunge to the bottom of the sea. Numerous theories have been born about the possible location of the sunken kingdom. In the debate, compelling evidence points to Santorini as the site of the lost paradise. The devastating volcanic eruption, the ruins of the ancient Akrotiri, and the original circular shape of the island provide tantalizing clues to Santorini’s real identity.
Never seen before vineyards
Santorini wine has a worldwide reputation due to its distinct mineral-rich flavor. However, it’s not just the taste that is so unique but also the way the grapevines are cultivated. Santorini grapes form the unusual shape of a large wreath-like basket. This pruning technique is called kouloura that means round in Greek. It protects the plants against harsh weather conditions such as scorching heat and heavy wind. The traditional quaint vineyards of Santorini are must-see attractions when you visit the island. Plus, you have one more reason to savor some delicious local wine!
Back in the old days
Even though Santorini is considered one of the hottest summer destinations today, it wasn’t always the case. Prior to the sudden boom in tourism a couple of decades ago, Santorini was a rather old-fashioned rural place. The 1956 earthquake destroyed 85% of the settlements; therefore, the island needed a long time to revive itself. Imagine, Santorini didn’t even have electricity until the ’60s. The rainwater was collected in underground cisterns and donkeys were used to carry heavy materials up to the villages from the port. The island’s international fame came long after the construction of its airport in 1972.
Strogili – Round Island
In ancient times, Santorini bore the name strogili (round in Greek) for its original circular shape that was destroyed by the 1600 BC volcanic eruption. The natural disaster cut off four small parts of the island that’s how Palia Kameni, Nea Kameni, Thirasia, and Aspronisi were born. Most of these tiny islets are uninhabited or have a private owner.
The current name of the island was given by the Crusaders after the Saint Irini chapel in Perissa. The virgin saint was sent to martyric death by his father who didn’t agree with her devotion to Christianity. Nowadays, the Greeks refer to Santorini as Thera.