All About Santorini Island in Greece

All About Santorini Island in Greece

Santorini, classically Thera, and officially Thira, is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece’s mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera.

It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 (28 sq mi) and a 2011 census population of 15,550. The municipality of Santorini includes the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2 (34.990 sq mi). Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit.

Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. On the fourth side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon is connected to the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest.

The depth of the caldera, at 400m, makes it impossible for any but the largest ships to anchor anywhere in the protected bay; there is also a fisherman’s harbour at Vlychada, on the southwestern coast. The island’s principal port is Athinias. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. The volcanic rocks present from the prior eruptions feature olivine and have a small presence of hornblende.

It is the most active volcanic centre in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, though what remains today is chiefly a water-filled caldera. The volcanic arc is approximately 500 km (310 mi) long and 20 to 40 km (12 to 25 mi) wide. The region first became volcanically active around 3–4 million years ago, though volcanism on Thera began around 2 million years ago with the extrusion of dacitic lavas from vents around the Akrotiri.

The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis.

Ancient Agora of Athens in Greece

Ancient Agora of Athens in Greece

The Ancient Agora of Classical Athens is the best-known example of an ancient Greek agora, located to the northwest of the Acropolis and bounded on the south by the hill of the Areopagus and on the west by the hill known as the Agoraios Kolonos, also called Market Hill.

As you walk through the ruins of the Agora in Athens (open market area and place of assembly), keep in mind that this was the magnificent citycenter of ancient Athens.

Philosopher Socrates and his disciples came daily to Agora for discourse. One of the first buildings you’ll see is the Temple of Hephaistos, named after the Vulcan God, who shared with Athena the honor of being a patron deity of the arts and crafts. The temple was built between 4th and 5th century B.C., and is the best preserved of all the Greek temples. Between the Theseum and the Stoa of Attalos, you’ll simply have to imagine that you are walking between other temples, government buildings, gymnasiums and stoas.

Ancient Agora of Athens in Greece

Buildings and Structures of the Classical Agora

Plan showing major buildings and structures of the agora of Athens as it was in the 5th century BC

Metroon
Peristyle Court
Mint
Enneakrounos
South Stoa I and South Stoa II
Aiakeion
Strategeion
Agoraios Kolonos
Tholos
Agora stone
Monument of the Eponymous Heroes
Metroon (Old Bouleuterion)
New Bouleuterion
Temple of Hephaestus (Hephaestion)
Temple of Apollo Patroos
Stoa of Zeus
Altar of the Twelve Gods
Stoa Basileios (Royal stoa)
Temple of Aphrodite Urania
Stoa of Hermes
Stoa Poikile

Other Notable Monuments

A number of other notable monuments were added to the agora. Some of these included:

The Middle stoa which was the most extensive monument built during the 100s B.C.E.
A small Roman temple was added in front of the Middle stoa.
An Altar of Zeus Agoraios was added just to the east of the Monument to the Eponymous Heroes.
The Temple of Ares, dedicated to Ares, the god of war, was added in the north half agora, just south of the Altar of the Twelve Gods.
The Odeon of Agrippa and accompanying gymnasium were added in the centre of the agora.
The substantial Stoa of Attalos was built along the eastern edge of the agora.
A collection of buildings were added to the south-east corner: the East stoa, the Library of Pantainos, the Nymphaeum and a temple.
There is evidence of a Synagogue in the Agora of Athens in the 3rd century.
A statue of the Roman emperor Hadrian was located near the metroon.
The Temple of Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria dated to the 300s B.C.E. and is located near the Temple of Apollo Patroos.
The south end of what is believed to be a Basilica has been uncovered near Hadrian Street and is dated to the mid 100s C.E.
The Monopteros was located south of the Basilica and also dated to the mid 100s C.E. It had no walls, was a dome supported by columns and was about 8 meters in diameter.
The Bema was a speakers platform and was located near the Stoa of Attalos.

Rhodes: Rich in archeological treasures and tourism

Rhodes: Rich in archeological treasures and tourism

Capital of the Dodecanese, Rhodes is an island of suberb natural beauty. It is famous as a holiday center. Rich in archeological treasures, with ruins covering the Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine periods, its main attraction is the walled medieval city of the Knights of Dt John.

The 15th century hospital is now an archeological museum containing the Aphrodite of Rhodes. Other points of interest include the ancient city of Lindos with the Temple of Athena; the Monastery of Philerimos and the excavated town of Kamiros. There are excellent sports facilities and duty-free shops. From 1 Jun – 30 September is the Annual Wine Festival and at Halkis religious festivities take place on 15 August.

From Rhodes you can visit the small islands of the Eastern Aegean. Kos is a fertile green island with golden beaches; good for fishing and small-game hunting. Birthplace of Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, it has a temple to Aesculapius, God of Healing and a museum. Nearby Patmos was where St John wrote down his Revelation; the 11th century monastery has a rich library. Lesbos was the birthplace of the poetess Sappho. It is the third largest island of Greece with enormous olive groves and a petrified forest.

Rhodes: Rich in archeological treasures and tourism

Corfu is the most beautiful of the Ionian Islands. Its spectacular scenery and sophisticated tourist amenities make it an internatioanl holiday center. There are beautiful villas, romantic Venetian castles and early 19th century Georgian architecture dating from the British occupation. The 16th century Cathedral is dedicated to St Spyridion, the island’s patron saint. Marvellous water sports facilities and an 18 hole golf course. Daily flights from Athens take less than two hours.

Mykonos is the most popular tourist island in the Cyclades and attracts many artists and international celebrities. It is a maze of winding streets, sparkling white-washed houses, domed churches, windmills and sun-drenched cliffs rising sheer from the sea. It is 5 hours by boat from Piraeus. Delos is five miles across the sea from Mykonos.

A small, arid island, it was important as the legendary birthplace of Apollo. Acres of ruins and statuary attract archeologists, and precious relics are preserved in the museum. Thira (Santorini); clmb up above its cliffs to the crater of the volcano whose mighty eruption buried Minoan civilization. Milos, where the Venus de Milo was found, and Paros, famous for its white marble, are also in the Cyclades group.