The Volcanic Diamond
George Papadellis | SG Head
Panagiotis Papadellis | SG Team
If someone wants to describe total beauty, we would advise just to point to Santorini. This dragon-born beauty of the Aegean Sea. The child of a power that came from the sea, just like Goddess Artemis. On its peaks, small houses, like jewels, suck the noted light of Greece and reflect it to the coasts around. And when the light goes to sleep, you must be at Santorini Oia to calm your senses, to eat at the symposium of this white-blue celebration and to let yourself on a trip to beautiful dreams. Around 3.500 years BC, the first people arrive in Santorini Greece. They come in contact with many other civilizations and they build a high cultural product day by day. But from the day this started, until the day when the “monster woke up” (the eruption of the Santorini Volcano), only 35 years have passed. The Dragon, jealous of this glory, came from the center of the Earth and covered everything with its hot lava. But this offered immortality to the people and the ruins of this civilization, i.e. beautiful houses with wall paintings, laboratories for textiles, vases, smithing products, shipbuilding and other exportable goods.
The younger generations of Santorini Greece have shown respect to the Aegean beauty of the island. They made high aesthetic value settlements, such as the ones of Fira, Oia, Akrotiri, Pyrgos, Emporio, Therasia. The harmony of Santorini dazzled the great Nobel prize poet Odysseas Elytis to write his great poem “Song for Santorini”: “it sparkled in the preach of the wind, the new and eternal beauty, when the sun of three hours goes up in the sky, all white, playing the harmony of Creation”.
Also, the Nobel prize poet, Giorgos Seferis, wrote in his poem “Santorini”: “Bend, if you can, to the dark sea, forgetting the sound of a flute, on naked feet that stepped on your sleep in your other sunken life. Write, if you can, on your last shell, the day, the name, the place, and throw it to the sea to sink …
Santorini Greece (the name comes from Santa Irini, the old cathedral of one of the villages of the island called Perissa) is the world famous island of the Cyclades complex, situated at the southernmost of the South Aegean Sea. It is a group of islands, remnants of a caldera, which include the two inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia, and the four uninhabited islands of Palea Kameni, Nea Kameni, Aspronisi and Christiana. Its name since the 19th century is actually Thera, but Santorini is the most famous name of the island until today. There are also two more names (Kallisti/ Kalliste and Strongyli/ Strongyle), but they are not widely used for Santorini.
The Santorini complex is the result of the largest volcanic eruption of global recorded history, the Minoan or Thera eruption (about 3.600 years ago), which left a huge under- and over- water caldera. This severe eruption had its center on a small island north of the existing island of Nea Kameni in caldera’s centre.
Photo by: ID 42056417 | © Olga Lipatova | Dreamstime.com
The reason of the volcanism of Santorini Greece is the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, with a length of about 500 Km and a width of about 20 to 40 Km, which is part of the Hellenic arc, including Milos (in the Cyclades complex), Methana (in Attiki, the region of Athens) and Kos (in the Dodecanese complex). Due to volcanism, Santorini has an astonishing geomorphology, with 300 meters caldera cliffs (consisting of lava layers), cities on the crests, deep and steep beaches in the inside of the Santorini caldera, shallow and smooth Santorini beaches at the outside of the caldera, and so different sand and pebbles colors due to different lava layers: red (like its Santorini Red Beach), white (like its Santorini White Beach) and black (like its Santorini Black Beach). Volcanism in the area appeared around 4 million years ago, while in the island around 2 million years ago in the area of the Akrotiri Pre-Historic Town. In total, Santorini island has experienced twelve large eruptions. The first eruption took place around 650.000 years ago in Akrotiri. The last major eruption took place in 1707, when an undersea volcano reached the sea surface, transferring the centre of activity at Nea Kameni, with small eruptions continuing until 1950.
Santorini has been inhabited since the Late Neolithic Age (4000 BC). However, it thrived during the Bronze Age (from 3000 BC to 1630 BC) with the Minoan site of Akrotiri, whose well preserved ruins are often compared with the ruins of Pompeii in Italy, and whose port was one of the most important in the Aegean Sea, trading with Anatolia, Crete, Cyprus, Egypt and Syria. At around 1500 BC (Late Minoan IA Age or Late Cycladic Age), the Minoan eruption actually stopped the time for the island and its surrounding islands. After the collapse of the Bronze Age, the island, at that time called Callista, was inhabited by Phoenicians. In the 9th century BC, the Dorians arrived at the island and founded a city called Mesa Vouno, which today is Ancient Thera. In the 5th century BC, Thera sent colonists to northern Africa and later, during the Peloponnesian War, Thera stayed at the side of Sparta against Athens. During the Hellenistic period, Santorini Greece was a major naval base for Ptolemaic Egypt.
During the Medieval Period, Thera was ruled by the Romans, and, after the division of the Roman Empire, the island entered the Byzantine Empire. After the Fourth Crusade, the island was occupied by the Duchy of Naxos and in the second half of the twentieth century) it was reconquered from the Byzantines. In the periods 1318–1331 and 1345–1360, Santorini was raided by Ottomans. From the 15th century to the 18th century, the island was changing ownerships and suffered from raids by Venetians, Ottomans and Russians.
In the 19th century, Santorini had a very good naval fleet, although smaller than Hydra, Kefalonia, Spetses, Psara, Ithaca and Skopelos, and was densely inhabited. In the 1821 revolution against the Ottomans, Santorini did not participate directly, although helped with supplies and support. In 1830, under the London Protocol, Santorini became part of the Greek state. In 1831, the island rebelled against the government of Ioannis Kapodistrias and in 1832, Santorini became part of the independent Kingdom of Greece, with the Treaty of Constantinople.
The main industry of Santorini is tourism, while agriculture still holds a critical role in the local economy. The expansion of tourism in the last 15 years has resulted in the growth of the economy and the population. Around 2 million is the annual number of the visitors of Santorini today, and the island has been ranked as the world's top island by many magazines and travel sites. Since 2019, Santorini is also a destination for new couples from abroad that want to get married on the island, and they make it.
Santorini weather is semi-arid with special characteristics. Due to the unique ecology and climate - and especially its volcanic ash soil - Santorini is home to unique and prized produce such as the Santorini cherry tomato and the unique Santorini wine.
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Our Hotel Proposals
Astra Suites, having been listed in the Top 25 Hotels of the World and named Greece’s Leading All Suite Hotel 2016, 2017 and 2018 by the World Travel Awards, is a 4-stars hotel situated in the peaceful village of Imerovigli perched atop the stunning volcanic cliffs. The hotel offers studios, junior and family suites, superior suites with pool, and private villas.
Chromata 5-stars is one of the finest Imerovigli Santorini hotels, perched on the caldera's edge and acknowledged as a hip and eminent contemporary design hotel and resort. Organically cascading down the cliff side, the 26 sea view rooms, suites and villas, all pure, spare and white in essence, inspire the soul. Personalized services have been taken to new heights of elegance.
Photo by: Mstyslav Chernov, Oian coast waters (panoramic landscape). Santorini island (Thira), Greece, CC BY-SA 3.0
Fanari Villas is a 4-star luxury hotel in the unique Oia village, providing upscale accommodation in the unique amazing view of the volcano caldera, comprised of 16 luxurious suites, including junior, superior, family, horizon and honeymoon. Personal attention and high-quality services are top priority, and the needs of guests are attended to immediately and efficiently, ensuring a pleasant and relaxing stay.
Homeric Poems is a 5 stars hotel located in the caldera of Firostefani village. Inspired by the poetry of Homer, the hotel combines quality services with facilities designed to make vacations a unique experience. With the aim of making visitors' stay enjoyable and unforgettable, in keeping with their heritage, the people of Homeric Poems do their utmost to embody the lofty spirit of Greece’s legendary hospitality.
Mystique Hotel is a favored destination for honeymoons and romantic escapes. Linked by a network of cobbled pathways, all 41 suites and villas boast panoramic sea views across to the active volcano. The hotel provides individual journeys with its exquisite cuisine with Greek influences at Charisma restaurant right on the cliff edge. The Asian Spa embraces with treatments that draw on natural resources.
Santorini Princess Spa
Santorini Princess Spa Hotel is a 5 star hotel in Imerovigli village, offering its guests services of high quality. The hotel has 19 luxurious apartments, including a Honeymoon Suite with Jacuzzi and two Superior Suites. Visitors can spoil themselves with the exquisite spa services, the outdoor pool, the cocktails of the pool bar and the fine dining experience at the hotel's restaurant.