By Arun Chitnis
With its fascinating geographical features, the island of Santorini (officially referred to as Thera) continues to be one of Greece’s most preferred tourist destinations. One of its primary drawing points is that some believe it to be the location of Atlantis, the mysterious sunken island of fable and myth.
In the collective mind of the world, the dramatic name of this island, which is situated between Ios and Anafi, is synonymous with the word ‘volcano’ – and with good reason. After all, the now sunken volcano is still very much active to the present day. This lends an aura of history in violent making even now.
The name is actually derived from the placid name ‘Santa Irini’, and it has all of 11,000 inhabitants in summer (the population decreases to as few as 6,500 in winter). This island in the southern Cyclades island chain is actually the product of two cataclysmic volcanic eruptions that submerged the center of island in the sea.
The first of these is calculated by geologists to have occurred sometime in 1500 B.C. Whether it did actually sound the death knell to the then thriving Minoan Civilization or not, it certainly rewrote tourism legend in the 20th century.
The second eruption is far more recent (1956) and is therefore better documented. What remained after these two upheavals were the gigantic cliffs, ranging in height from 150 to 300 meters, which brood over an impossibly beautiful rural panorama of hilltop villages.
The Caldera, which Santorini faces, is the inundated crater of this volcanic eruption. Today, Santorini’s geological span is roughly 96 kilometers. It features a spectacular coastline of close to 70×18 kilometers.
Santorini’s inhabited parts reflect a unique village culture borne both from tradition and geographical necessity. Almost all of the homes in the villages of Oia, Firostefani, Fira and Immerovigli seem to pay obeisance to the island’s breathtaking scenery.
This impression, which many an artist has played upon, is created by the fact that these homes (with their trademark blue-stained windows) are built with the imposing Caldera’s black volcanic face as a focal point.
Is this in remembrance of the volcanic eruption that spawned this unique landscape, or only to better capture the spectacularly colorful pyrotechnics of Santorini’s world-famous sunsets?
Santorini is mystery and grandeur impersonalized. Visiting it constitutes one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of a lifetime….
© Arun Chitnis is a professional content and copywriter, proof-reader and editor. He wields his pen on a diverse range of topics, but his primary areas of interest are medical and lifestyle issues, family dynamics, parenting, natural health, home improvement, real estate, humor and fiction.
This article may be reprinted with the complete author bio and a live link back to http://www.goa-beach.com
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