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The explosive story of Santorini

The explosive story of Santorini

Santorini (Thira) lies at the southernmost part of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea and it is the largest of a complex of volcanic islands.

It is crescent shaped and engulfs the crater of the volcano which is actually underwater! The island complex came into existence as a result of intensive volcanic activity; twelve huge eruptions occurred, one every 20,000 years approximately, and each violent eruption caused the collapse of the volcano’s central part creating a large crater (caldera).

The last big eruption 3,600 years ago (during the Minoan Age) destroyed the local Minoan civilization and it said to have even affected the Minoan settlements in Crete leading to the decline of the Minoan civilization overall. Igneous material (mainly ash, pumice and lava stones) covered the island complex and even reached Crete. Archaeological evidence suggests that that same eruption generated a tsunami which devastated the coastal Cretan settlements.

Santorini is popular with tourists but the locals have maintained the traditional architecture and character of the area. The island remains lively throughout the year, but if you want to avoid the masses of tourists and visitors its best to pass the summer months.

Rocky and arid as it is, Santorini’s gastronomic culture is rich. The land is often affected by strong winds, so the vegetation is low but the volcanic soil rich in sodium and potassium influences the flavors of all the local vine, tomato and bean varieties. The vines grow almost horizontally to the ground but produce one of the best wines in the world. The tomato plants suffer from dehydration but the local cherry tomatoes are famous and hold a protected designation of origin. Local fava beans are amongst the most expensive but tastier in the world and have recently joined the EU’s list of products with a Protected Designation of Origin.

A gastronomic holiday in Santorini will offer you the chance to sample the wonderful local products, enjoy one of the most breathtaking views in the world and become part of a rare community at times that tourist activity is at its minimum.