Santorini

19 October 2020

Santorini is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. It was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, forever shaping its rugged landscape. The whitewashed, cubiform houses of its two principal towns, Fira and Oia, cling to cliffs above an underwater caldera (crater). They overlook the sea, small islands to the west and beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles and sands.

If you appraoch Santorini (also called Thira) from the water, you will be awed by the sheer cliffs that soar above a turquoise sea, as you are sailing in the immense crater of a drowned volcano. Snow-drift of white Cycladic houses line the cliff tops and spill like icy cornices down the terrace rock. And then, there are the sunsets, with the crowds breaking into applause as the sun disappears below the horizon and you spend the night under the stars…

Santorini Old Vines

Not only Santorini is blessed with a dry Volcanic microclimate that results in some of the best wine in Greece, but its vines are also Europe’s oldest, impervious to the phylloxera bug that wiped out most of Europe’s vines in the late 19th Century.

Grapes are grown close to the ground, in a kouloura (nest) of vines to make the most of the moisture and protect the grapes from fierce winds.

Santorini’s most lauded wine is a crisp dry white asyrtiko and aidini, as well as the amber-coloured, unfortified dessert wine know as Vinsanto. You will also come across mavrotragano (full-bodied red), and the medium-bodied mandelaria red.

Ancient Santorini sights

First settled by the Dorians in the 9th century BC, Ancient Thira (see below) consists of Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine ruins.

In 1967, excavations at Akrotiri in the island’s southwest uncovered an ancient Minoan city burried deep beneath volcanic ash from the catastrophic eruption of 1613 BC. Housed within a cool, protective structure, wooden walkways allow visitors to pass through the city. Peek inside three-storey buildings, see roads, drainage systems and stashes of pottery.

[sources: LonelyPlanet. Best of Greece & The Greek Islands]

Ancient Thera

After 17th c. BC volcanic eruption that shattered Thera, burying the prehistoric city at Akrotiri beneath thick layers of volcanic deposits, the island remained deserted for centuries, until…

From the 8th c. BC when Dorian colonists from Sparta settle there under the leadership of Theras, to whom it owes its name.

The colonist founded the city on a the hill (Mesa Vouno) of the pre-volcanic core of land on the island overlooking the southeastern coast and lying between plain of volcanic ash.

Open-air sanctuaries, temples, heroa, public buildings, a theatre, an agora, shops, neighborhoods with residences, and a well-developped road network complete with drainage system made up the picture of the city that excavations brought to light by the German Hiller von Gaertringen between 1896 and 1902.

A night under the stars @ Katikies Oia, Santorini

Timelapse from Sunset to Sunrise from Leading of the World hotel – Katikies Santorini. With stunning views over the volcanic crater and cliff forming the island.

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2 comments

  1. Comment by Jenny Williams

    Jenny Williams Reply 27 November 2020 at 6:05 pm

    This would be my favourite

  2. Comment by Guillaume DUMON

    Guillaume DUMON Reply 29 November 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Seen from afar
    Never saw human architecture as much in harmony with the natural environement

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