When I was 19, I’ve never seen or heard anything about Santorini. But, after watching, ‘The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2’, everything changed. The stunning view of the Aegean Sea and purity of the whitewashed houses with colourful flowers mesmerized me. At that point, I’ve yet to meet the love of my life, but I knew, that Santorini was the ultimate destination for my honeymoon. Now, I am weeks away to touch, feel, taste, see and hear anything about Santorini, first-hand. During my research, the most intriguing moment was discovering about the ancient and modern history of Santorini.
1. Santorini was a volcano.
There have been many claims about the formation of the caldera (cauldron-like) land of Santorini. Some said that it was formed due to the violent Thera Volcano violent volcanic eruption millions of years ago that caused the exodus of one of the earliest civilisation, The Minoans. While others believed that it is a combination of earthquake and Tsunami that caused the structure of the separated islands. But what was coherent was the fact that this alluring island has gone through one of the most catastrophic natural disasters of al time. Throughout the years, Santorini has erupted several times of with varying degrees of explosivity. But the most famous eruption was the Minoan eruption, thousands of years ago. The effects were so great that it was compared to thousands of time the destruction of the Hiroshima bomb in Japan during World War 2 and also 5 times more than the Mount Krakatoa dated in 1800s. Understanding Santorini from this perspective makes me respect the tenacity, resilience and determination of this island. The spirit of people, island and environment managed to re-build the island again and again, eruption after eruption, should be admired and learned and respected and emulated within our lives.
Kalliste (The most beautiful)
According to tradition, the island was first called Kalliste, ‘The most beautiful’. Indeed, this infinite beauty island is surrounded by beautiful nature 360 degrees of natural beauty. It is a perfect description of Santorini in the modern day and the past. It surpassed the disastrous calamity and preserves its beauty and defies time and endless beauty.
Stronghyle (The rounded one)
Before the enormous violent eruption, Santorini was a round shape group of islands. At that point, for easy identification, the inhibitants named the land the rounded shaped compared to the other Cyclades islands
Thira (or Thera)
In the past, the name Thera was named after one of the ruling party of the islands, Polyneikes. The ruler named the island after his son. It shows that the ruler showed massive love for son and also the island. No doubt it means harvester or reaper now, but it is one of the most fertile land in the world due to the volcanic soil.
The name Santorini, has a Latin root, which was given by the Venetians who was dominonion over the islands. It came from a Chapel (Santa Irini), situated at Therasia. This Chapel was situated on a small bay where the Venetians moored their boats. For the ruler to name the place after a Chapel showed great respect and a place of worship for the sailors and crusaders Santorini has to offer.
3. Santorini is rich in history
Santorini is a mysterious land, where there are many myths and legends. The entire truth of what exactly happened to this sacred island has yet to be uncovered. Some claim that Santorini was the City of the Lost Atlantis. This has put the world to the edge of their seats and kept the archaeologists and historians busy.
Somewhere in the 1862, a French geologist, Ferdinand Fouque found Fresco-covered walls of houses and painted pottery 8 metres deep in Akotoriri, Thera (Santorini) and also in Knossos (Crete). The excavation site discovered was extensive and majority of the Frescoes depicted a peaceful and good life the Minoan civilisation had. There was no hostility with enemies and it was shown mainly as a naval hub that has abundance of food.
Majority of the Frescoes were filled with vibrant colours portraying the celebration of life and gardening that the Minoan civilisation enjoyed.
The discoveries of the Frescoes and stunning views of Santorini has inspired tourists all over the world to learn about the island. This mythical island has history-rich stories and spectacular surprises at every corner. It is, without a doubt, the ultimate destination in everyone’s bucket list.