Learn the basics of Santorini

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Santorini is an Aegean island that belongs to the Cyclades island complex. It is located in the southern part of the Aegean south of Ios and west of Anafi. Its distance from Piraeus is 128 nautical miles while from Crete it is 63 nautical miles. Santorini is famous for its volcano.

The last volcanic activity was recorded in 1950 and the wider volcanic arc of Santorini, Methana, Milos and Nisyros is still classified as active. The volcanoes of the wider area of ​​Santorini are Nea Kameni with its last period of increased activity between 1707-1711 AD, Palaia Kammeni and the undersea volcano Kolumbo.

Santorini is the best known active volcano of the Volcanic Arc of the South Aegean. It is a complex stratovolcano with a large caldera that was formed during several large and violent eruptions. The island, apart from a small non-volcanic background, consists almost entirely of volcanic rocks, which can be seen as a colorful sequence on the steep walls of the impressive caldera.

Historically the strongest recorded eruption is placed in 1613 BC. when a large part of the island was submerged creating the current Caldera, while at the same time the most disastrous consequences for the Minoan civilization that prospered on the island of Crete were noted. The name Thira comes from the name of Spartan who, according to tradition, was the first person to settle the island.

On the other hand, the name Santorini is a paraphrase of “Santa Irene” and came from the Frankish crusaders who, during their resupply, stood near the early Christian church of Agia Irene. It is also worth noting that the prehistoric name of the island is “Strongyli”, which refers to the shape of the island before the huge explosion. Nowadays, Santorini is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world.

Throughout the year the island’s airport is used by thousands of visitors, the same is the case with the coastal ferries where, in addition to the numerous ships of the line, the island’s port is also approached by huge cruise ships. So it is certain that a visit to a place of global tourist interest that is constantly at the top of the list of the most beautiful destinations would not leave you unmoved. In this total, we must include the excellent service provision that the local population boasts about.

Santorini is located at latitude from 36o 19′ 56″ to 36o 28′ 40″ North and longitude from 25o 19′ 22″ to 25o 29′ 13″ East. The current semicircular and more horseshoe shape of the island is due to the periodic volcanic eruptions that changed its original round shape. Its aspect from the side of the volcano appears rocky and secluded in contrast to the smoothness of its terrain in the rest of it.

Its surface, 76.19 square kilometers, is mostly pumice very receptive to cultivation. In its SE part, there is the mountain of Prophet Ilias with the homonymous monastery of the 18th century, which has an altitude of 567 meters and consists of titanic rocks and white marble. Continuation of this is the Mesa Vouno or Mount of Agios Stefanos, due to the early Christian church that exists there and which has an altitude of 366 meters. The intermediate pass that connects the two mountains is called Sellada.

The perimeter of Santorini is approximately 36 nautical miles and features six bays: Ammoudi or Agios Nikolaos, in Pano Meria, Armeni, also in Pano Meria, Mouzaki bay, Fira and Athini bays and Balos bay in Akrotiri. In general, Santorini is arid and dry, without lakes, rivers or ravines. Its irrigation needs are mainly covered by reservoirs where rainwater is mainly collected, as well as by wells.

There are three main springs as well as four thermal springs on the island. The terrain of the island is volcanic, flat for the most part and rocky on the side of the volcano. The soil is fertile and favors the cultivation of vines and tomatoes. 15,000 acres are cultivated with vineyards on the island, while almost half are cultivated in the area of ​​Oia. The highest peak is Prophet Ilias.

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