There is a small island in the south-eastern corner of Greece. It has been destroyed by earthquakes, its people evacuated, and abandoned building the mainland, but some of them remained on the island today. Nowadays it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. The 25th Island of Greece with about 500 inhabitants is called Santorini and it has a great deal to offer to both tourists and archaeologists.

Here are some interesting facts about this place:

  1. The oldest settlement on the island dates back to 3000 BC, the youngest is from 1878.
  2. The name of the 25th Island is Santorini and it was named after the Minoan, that lived on this island 4000 years ago. The name of the Minoan civilization is still used today as a prefix in several Greek place names. The legendary hero Heracles also came to this island, in order to find his wife and daughter, who had been kidnapped by the King of Crete and lived here for a while.
  3. Its shape and size are similar to a volcano crater with a diameter about 3 km and a height about 400 meters above sea level.
  4. The volcanic eruption in the island of Santorini started around 1800 BC. The volcano remained active for approximately 14,000 years.
  5. A red-wine, called “Chateau d’Ys” was written by a French writer, Robert L i v r e t and it is often said that this wine tastes like blood. It is believed that the inspiration for this wine he found in the city of Santorini.
  6. In the 17th century, the volcano Santorini started to collapse and it caused an enormous gas eruption that extinguished most of the towns around and buried them under layers of ash. The eruption destroyed at least 134 towns, villages and settlements on the island.
  7. The Magna Graecia was a historical term used by many classical historians to describe the Greek colonies in southern Italy (including Sicily and Calabria) which dominated Mediterranean trade for centuries, from about 500 BC until about 100 BC. It was named after a legend about a gold nugget, which archaeologists discovered in 1654 near Matina. [Wikipedia]
  8. A volcanic explosion destroyed the original city of Akrotiri at the beginning of the 20th century. The new coastal village was built in the centre of the caldera and it had to be rebuilt continuously because it was badly damaged by volcanic eruptions. [Wikipedia]
  9. The first visitors to Santorini were attracted by legends that said that this island is covered with a lot of blond-haired demons. When they arrived here, they were happy to see that the legend was not true.
  10. Santorini has been the inspiration for many writers and poets. The famous writer John Keats wrote a poem called ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn (1819)’ and Herman Melville used Santorini as an inspirational place for his novel Moby Dick (1851).
  11. The volcanic explosion in the island of Santorini was so strong that it caused several tsunamis around the Aegean Sea. These tsunamis are mentioned in ancient Greek mythology when Poseidon destroyed Atlantis with a giant earthquake and tsunami. [Wikipedia]
  12. The name of the Minoan civilization and the legend of Crete as a place of civilization, which is mentioned in several ancient Greek and Roman writings, were used by archaeologists to designate a period (1900-1400 BC) or a people. During this time they were probably making their economic base on the tin trade with Egypt; they also made commercial contacts with Egypt in order to get copper and tin. [Wikipedia]
  13. After an earthquake destroyed it around 1600 BC, there was another eruption that caused hundreds of mud-mortar buildings to collapse into the sea. The new village was built on top of this caldera and it is also called Akrotiri. [Wikipedia]