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About Santorini island Greece

Santorini has about fifteen thousand inhabitants during the winter time and approximately forty thousand in the summer. Santorini is a crescent shape surrounding the black volcanic islands lying in the bay. What was once the island of Thira sank to the bottom of the caldera in the apocalyptic explosion in 1450BC. The lagoon-like caldera measures 32 square miles and is 300 to 400 meters deep. In the center are Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni.

Santorini is one of the southernmost islands of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. Its distance from Piraeus is 128 miles, from Iraklion Crete 68 miles and from Rhodes 147 miles.

In its present form Santorini has an area of 76 sq.kms and a population of 15.000. Its coastline is 70kms long. The whole group consists of the Thirassia, Aspronisi, Palia Kameni, Nea Kameni and Mikri Kameni.

There are 14 villages including Fira, the capital of Santorini island which is full of motion and night life. Each one of the villages has its own character, while all together create the unique Santorini atmosphere. On the western side where the volcano is located, the sheer cliffs, 300 meters high, are multi-colored strata of black, red, grey, and brown.

The villages include: Akrotiri, Ammoudi, Fira, Firostefani, Oia, Village Kamari Karterados, PerissaMonolithos, Perivolos,  Pyrgos, and Imerovigli.

Getting There: - Daily ferry connections with Piraeus (9 Hours), Crete (3 Hours), Naxos (3 Hours), Paros, Mykonos, Ios. Santorini is also connected with other islands of Cyclades, Dodecanese, Skiathos, Thessaloniki. Ferries call at Athinios port southern to the Capital Fira. Cruise ships call beneath the cliffs at Fira. Climbing up to Fira can be done by either donkeys or cable car. There is also frequent catamaran service from Piraeus and other Cycladic islands. There are direct schedules from Athens and charter flights from Europe.

Santorini has access to the mainland by ship and airplane.

 

There are three main airlines that fly to Santorini:

http://en.aegeanair.com/Default.aspx : Aegean Airlines

http://www.olympicair.com/Home.aspx?a_id=256 : Olympic Air

http://www.athensairways.com/cgi-bin/airkiosk/I7/181002i?ZF=2&LANG=EN Athens Airways

http://www.aia.gr/  Eleutherios Venizelos, Athens International Airport

The flight from Athens to Santorini lasts 30 minutes. If you book tickets in advance you can find very good deals. All three airlines provide good offers. During the summer season, Sky Express connects Santorini with other popular islands such as Crete, Rhodes and  Mykonos, check with the airline for current schedules.

There are many ferries that reach Santorini, some of them are:

http://www.bluestarferries.gr/site/content.asp?sel=&loc=2 Blue Star Ferries

http://www.hellenicseaways.gr/index.asp?a_id=209 Hellenic Seaways

http://www.anek.gr/english/index.html Anek Lines

http://www.olp.gr/index_en.html  Piraeus Port Authority

If you choose to come via ferry the route lasts 8 hours with Blue Star ferries, 4-5 Hours with the high-speed ferry and more than 8 hours with other ferry lines. Ferries dock in Athinios port. At the airport and the port there are always taxi waiting to take you anywhere. You can also get a bus from the port if you wish.

If you travel by cruise ship the experience will surely leave you with lasting memories. Cruise ships that reach the island of Santorini do not anchor at Athinios port, but one or two miles away from the old port of the island. Locals with fishing boats transfer cruisers to the old port, which seems not to have changed over the last 50 years. From there you can either use the cable car to reach the town of Fira which will take no more than 5 minutes, or if you like small adventures you can ride a donkey, which climbs up a small path on the cliff to Fira.

Excursions Nea Kameni(appeared in 1720AD), is a volcanic islet. The trip involves 30 minutes walk from the mooring up to the crater of the islet. Boat trips operate to Thirassia island (half an hour from Ia), a small island originally part of Santorini until another eruption-earthquake in 236 BC split them apart. The port village is about 300 steps up the cliff face.
Ia (north of Fira) with spectacular views sitting on the cliff, Akrotiri (south west) the island's archaeological site are not to be missed.
Perissa and Kamari (south east) are the beach resorts with black sand. In Fira the Archaeological Museum accommodates finds from Akrotiri and early Cycladic sculpture. Megaron Gyzi Museum exhibits island's history.

 

Places to visit:

  • » The New Museum of Fira, which opened in March 2000, is the second largest pre-historical museum in Greece. It exhibits frescoes from Akrotiri and the first golden find in Cyclades.

  • » The Old Historical Museum in Fira, with finds from Santorini and the Greek Hellenic Period.

  • » The Archaeological site of Akrotiri, where the ancient town (1500-1600 BC) was destroyed. You can still walk through the streets and houses. (recommended)

  • » The Nautical Museum in Ia, with rare marine items, models of old and new ships and library.

  • » Boutaris Winemakers, in Megalohori. Excellent decoration, wine taste and multimedia with the history of the island.

  • » Megaron Gyzi in Fira, with old clothes, maps and cards from Santorini before the earthquake in 1956.

  • There is a frequent bus service which operates between Fira, Ia, Perissa, Kamari, Athinios, Akrotiri, Monolithos. Car and motor bike hire is available. Taxis are also available.

  • Entertainment - Lively. Watch the sunset at cafe shops sitting at the rim of Fira. Cool bars where you will drink remarkable cocktails. You will dance till you drop down.

 

Santorini History:

There are many stories and legends about Santorini. These legends do no refer only to the island’s history but also to the causes of its geological structure and its specific shape. Santorini is recognized at the most valuable pearl in the string of the Greek archipelago.

Universally known and attracting all kinds of people, aesthetes and romantics, realists and dreamers, who ardently strive to get acquainted with it. Also the mystery of Atlantis is identified with this island through legends and writings. The first name of the island was Stronghyle, later it was known as Calliste and eventually as Thera. The name Santorini is evidently modern and derived from the island’s church of St. Irene. Foreign seamen used to call the saint Santo Irini and in the course of the time this became Santorini.

Santorini in particular was formed by the lava and ashes of many volcanic centres. Initially the shape of Santorini was round, hence also its name Stronghyle, before being called Calliste.

The tremendous volcanic explosion of the former island of Stronghyle took place in Santorini around 1500 b.C. The earthquake which accompanied the sinking of the central part of the island at the eruption of the volcano and the huge seismic wave which ensued , hit even the coasts of Egypt. This seismic wave first hit Crete with great speed reaching the island within 20-30 minutes.  Coastal cities and settlements such us Knossos, Mallia, Zakro, Phaistos, Gournia etc. were devastated within a few seconds.

More than 83sq.kms of land, that is about one half of the total surface of Stronghyle (Santorini) submerged into the sea at a depth ranging from 300 to 400 metres, creating from one moment to the other the largest caldera in the world. The Caldera of Santorini has a surface which is two and a half times, and a volume of about five times larger than the similar caldera of Krakatoa. The Tsunami of Stronghyle must have been approximately 200 metres and reaching the coasts of Crete it was still some 70m high.

 

 

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