Ancient Thera, the Classical city of the island is located on Mesa vouno, 396 m. above sea level. It was founded in the 9th century B.C. by Dorian colonists whose leader was Theras, and continued to be inhabited until the early Byzantine period. The preserved ruins belong to the Hellenistic and Roman phases of the city. The residential area and the larger part of the cemeteries were excavated by German archaeologists between 1895 and 1902. The cemeteries on the NE and NW slopes of Sellada were excavated by N. Zapheiropoulos in the years 1961-1982. The most important monuments of the site are: The Sanctuary of Artemidoros, The Agora, The Royal Stoa, Temple of Dionysos, The Sanctuary of Apollo Karneios and the The Theatre lies to the SE of the Agora.Ancient Thira Tours transfers tourists by mini-bus to the archeological site. You can rent a moto, rent a car, rent a quad or rent a bike to go there. We organize tours to Fira, Akrotiri, Perissa, Oia for the sunset.

Santorini Sightseeing: The Santorini Ancient Thera

Getting to Ancient Thera is not that easy. The best route is to travel to Kamari and then take the road from the southern end of town. Minibuses are available from the bottom. The thin road snakes up the steep hill. It’s quite rocky and not very well suited for scooters. Only in the final stages does the road become flat as you reach a small roundabout. You can park up here but when it’s busy you may have to leave your vehicle slightly down the hill. From here there’s a walk up a rocky path before you reach the basilica.

There’s a further walk, with a wonderful view down to Kamari beach and its black beach before the ancient city begins.

The town dates from the Archaic to the Roman era and has not yet been fully excavated. It’s not clear what the foundations once were without the aid of the signs. In fact the whole area would benefit from some in depth explanations of the site and its history. You can walk pretty freely, though some areas are roped off, as you look at the houses, a theatre and the temple of Apollo.

Our Impressions:

This is one of the islands ‘must see’ sights. The journey there may be a bit of a hassle but once you walk amid the ruins it’s all worthwhile. It is a historic site well maintained for tourists.

We recommend to rent a moto, rent a bike, rent a car, rent an atv a quad to go there.

Or you catch the Ancient Thira Tours mini-bus from Kamari to the archaeological site. You can do a tour around the island, Fira, Akrotiri excavations, Oia for the sunset, or a private transfer to airport and port organized by our travel agency.

Ancient Thera is located in the southern part of Santorini. It is between Kamari and Perissa in altimeter of 396 meters. Ancient Thera was named by the leader of the Dorian colony called Theras in the 9th century B.C. The ancient city was full of life until the early Byzantine period. However, the main area of the graveyard was excavated by German archaeologists between 1895 and 1902.

Among the tombs the most significant are:

The Agora.It almost covers the center of the city. In the north side, which was created in the Roman period, there are memorials and temple-like buildings in honour of eminent persons.

Temple of Dionysus. It is laid north of the Agora. Even if it is a small temple it is constructed in an artificial terrace. Both marble and local rocks were used to build this temple.

The Sanctuary of Artemidoros. It is a very remarkable sanctuary because it is utterly hewn in the rock. In the rocks epigrams and inscriptions are carved along with the symbols of the gods worshipped such as a dolphin for Poseidon.

Cemeteries of Ancient Thera. They are located on the slopes of Sellada, a place between Kamari and Perissa. The uncovered graves span the long period between the Geometric and Roman times.

The Royal Arcade. Along the axis of the building there is a Doric colonnade. In honour of Caesar statuses of his family are placed.

Gymnasium of the youths. The remaining of the original monument it is hewn cave. It is dedicated in Mercury and Hercules.

Sanctuaries at the SE edge of the city. In the square the inhabitants used to celebrate for Apollo of Karneios. A number of inscriptions are carved in the rocks which refer to deities and youths.

The Sanctuary of Apollo Karneios. What is remarkable about this monument is that it is both built in the rock and on an artificial terrace.

The Theatre. It was constructed in the Ptolemaic period (3rd century B.C.) and in its original form had a circular orchestra. During alterations in the 1st century A.D., the stage was extended and took over part of the original orchestra.

Our tourist agency Ancient Thira Tours do private transfers and tours from Kamari to Mesa Vouno by mini-bus, like taxi and you can see the archeological site by yourselves and enjoy the view to Perissa. You can also rent a moto or rent a car or rent a quad atv or rent a mountain bike. We organize tour to Fira, Oia, Kamari, Akrotiri, to airport, or port if you need a taxi.

Our tourist agency Ancient Thira Tours do transfers and tours from Kamari to Mesa Vouno by mini-bus, like taxi and you can see the archeological site by yourselves and enjoy the view to Perissa. You can also rent a moto or rent a car or rent a quad atv or rent a mountain bike. We organize tour to Fira, Oia, Kamari, Akrotiri excavations, to airport, or port if you need a taxi. You can have a private transfer from our travel agency.

Thira is the main island of Santorini. Here, on a high rocky headland called Mesa Vouna, between the two popular beaches of Kamari and Perissa are the ruins of Ancient Thira. The dramatic site offers not only ancient ruins but spectacular views off the cliffs that drop precipitously to the sea on three sides.

History

The hilltop was first inhabited by the Dorians, whose leader was Theras, in the 9th century BC. Thira was later occupied in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras.

The ancient houses and larger part of the cemeteries were excavated by German archaeologists between 1895 and 1902, and the cemeteries on the northeast and northwest slopes of Sellada were excavated by N. Zapheiropoulos in 1961-1982.

What to See

Most of the ruins of Ancient Thira date from the Hellenistic era, but there are also extensive Roman and Byzantine remains.

One main street (intersected by many side-streets) runs the length of the site, passing first through two agoras, which include ruins of several Greek temples. The arc of the theater embraces the town of Kamari, Fira beyond, and the open Aegean. The extensive ruins also include Hellenistic shops, Roman baths, Byzantine walls, and the stone church of Agios Stefanos.

The Temple of Dionysos (3rd-century BC) is a small Doric temple with small cella and pronaos, built on an artificial terrace to the north of the Agora. The facade and roof were made of marble while the rest of the building was of local stone.

Founded by Artemidoros of Perge in the late 4th or early 3rd century BC, the Sanctuary of Artemidoros was entirely hewn from living rock. It includes various inscriptions and engravings of the wreathed Artemidoros as well as the symbols of gods: an eagle for Zeus, a lion for Apollo, a dolphin for Poseidon.

The Sanctuary of Apollo Karneios (6th century BC) is partially hewn from rock and partially constructed on an artificial terrace. It includes a temple with pronaos and cella, a square courtyard with an underground cistern (the roof of which was supported by six large monolithic pillars) and a small building, probably a repository.

There is a fine view from the large Terrace of the Festivals, where naked lads danced naked to honor Apollo. This may be related to the phallic graffiti visible nearby.

The cemeteries of Ancient Thira are on the slopes of the Sellada, either side of the roads that lead to the villages of Kamari and Perissa. The graves uncovered span the long period between the Geometric and Roman times.

Getting There

You can reach the site by taxi, but if fitness allows, it is better on foot. The walking route passes a cave that holds the only spring on the island. Allow several hours for Ancient Thira - at least four if you walk up and down. Your can also rent a moto , rent a car, rent a mountain bike or rent a quad atv. You can go by a private transfer organized by our travel agency.

We also do transfers up to 21 persons and

we are specialists in organising private guided tours all around island for 2 to 14 persons.

The tours are thoroughly designed for you and with you

to meet your expectations and your unique preferences.

We’ll guide you to traditional villages, original wineries, volcanic beaches, real local food and all the things you should not miss if you want to really have a good taste of Santorini. Even if you have a limited time to spend here, we know the best spots, we live here and we love this island.

ANCIENT THIRA TOURS is a familial enterprise that began her activity in Santorini in 1985. From then up to today with continuous effort, with love in our unique island and respect in our visitors, we accomplished to specialise itself in the benefit of services that covers the all spectrum of your stay in Santorini: stay – moto rental- excursions - transport - tickets - athletic activities Our office functions in Fira- the capital of island and in Kamari - the cosmopolitan beach. We are ready and with very good disposal you to transmit the knowledge and our love for beautiful Santorini, with the conviction that you will return and that you will be added in the big list of our friends per the world. ANCIENT THIRA TOURS Office of General Tourism.

Our travel agency was established in 1988 with the aim to provide a higher level of service and safety in car and motorcycle rentals. Today after 19 years of continuous effort we can offer the widest choice of top quality rental vehicles backed by the most complete service and we are recommended by the most exclusive hotels and the biggest tour operators on the island of Santorini.

When you hire a car ,motorcycle, quad bike or dune buggy from our agency, you can be certain that a new, safe and fresh cleaned vehicle will be delivered on time by personnel that is professional, helpful and friendly . Anciet Thira Tours offers various services like ATV (Quad Bike ) and mountain bike tours, wedding car rentals ,mini bus and limousine services

At our rental company we are committed to offer the best, because we believe that safety is the result of overall quality.

Driving a car in Santorini info

Santorini is a small island but a car is very convenient way to go around if you don't want to waist your time waiting for buses and taxis. When you rent a car in Santorini you have the freedom to move and see places that public transportation will not take you to. The streets of Santorini are not highways but are in good shape and if you drive sensibly they are quite safe.

PARKING. Many people are concerned about the parking but the last years the municipality of the island has opened many free parking places in all the places that tourists want to visit. There are 5 open parking places around the main square in Fira town,3 in Oia village center, 3 in Kamari beach, 1 outside the excavation site in Akrotiri and at the airport. You will notice that a lot of drivers still choose to park their cars in restricted areas but don't be tempted to do the same; the police will give you a fine that you have to pay and is quite expensive at 64.00 euros. If you park on a yellow line the police might remove the registration plates of the car and you have to go the police station to pick them up and pay an even heavier fine. The municipality of Santorini island has opened lately many free parking lots within short walking distance around all the frequented places like Fira centre , Kamari beach , Oia and the excavations in Akrotiri. The only place that still remains difficult to find a place to park your car is the port of Athinios where you might have to park a long walk from the embarkation point. For those that don't obey the no parking signs the fine is quite expensive at 64.00 euro.

SAFETY TIPS.

  1. Drive slowly, Santorini Island is small and there is absolutely no reason to speed.

  2. Drive defensively and look out for scooter and ATV drivers

  3. If you drive at home an automatic, rent an automatic car in Santorini too, this way you will not have the additional distraction of the gear change and concentrate more on the street.

  4. Don't leave valuables in the car. Criminality is quite low in Santorini but there are incidents of cars being broken into for stealing cameras, I pods etc.

  5. Don't drive on non paved roads even if you have rented a 4x4. There might be big holes or other hazards that are invisible and since the soil of Santorini is sandy you might very easily get stuck. Ancient Thira Tours does not permit off- road driving for any vehicle and our insurance will not cover damages while, or resulting from off-road driving.

Scooter driving safety tips

Motor scooters are a style of motorcycle that have a step through frame and have become a very popular method of travelling small distances like an island or city centres. They are legal vehicles to drive on public roads and the rider must follow road regulations like any other vehicle. Scooter driver must assume him self as invisible to other drivers and act accordingly. If you don't have any experience on a scooter or motorcycle you should not rent a scooter in a place like Santorini.
Here is a list of some safe riding tips

  1. PROTECTIVE CLOTHING. Wearing a helmet is a must as well as closed shoes (no sandals) bright clothes that cover the legs and arms and sunglasses or visor.

  2. SPEED .Scooters and mopeds are designed for lower speeds than cars and motorcycles and although they handle very well and are quite forgiving at low speed they become hazardous if you exceed the speed they are designed for. As a general rule small size scooters must not exceed 50 km/h and larger scooters 70km/h.

  3. KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE. Most common reason for accidents is following up to close to the vehicle ahead, so leave a safe distance and keep to the right side of the road. If another driver is following up on you to close move to the side and let them overtake you.

  4. BRAKING. Use both front and rear brakes. When braking the weight is transferred to the front wheel so the rear will lock up and slide very easily. One of the main advantages of the scooter's fat wheels is that they are easier and more forgiving to brake with the front wheel (the disadvantage is that they are not so stable and precise at high speeds). When going down a steep hill, do not stay on the brakes on all the time, this can cause the brakes to overheat. It is better to brake harder then release the brakes and apply again. The scooter's automatic transmission will automatically disengage when the speed drops below approx. 5 km/h and you will then have no engine braking. This happens when you go around a tight corner on a winding road so after you exit the curve give a little bit of gas, just enough to engage the transmission again and restore engine breaking.

  5. DRINKING AND DRIVING. Don't even think about it! It's deadly wrong. If you had a couple of drinks ,lock the scooter wherever it is, note where you are (so we can find it)and take a taxi, find a lift, walk or give our agency a call. We'd rather pick you up for free before you have had an accident

Quad bike driving safety tips

Quad bikes are not toys. They are road legal vehicles and must be driven with care and respect to the road regulations. Quad drivers must assume themselves as invisible to other road users and drive defensively. Operating a quad is easy and when accidents happen it is either a result of neglecting basic regulations or incorrect tyre pressure.

  1. TYRE PRESSURE. Quad tyres are big and soft and should be inflated at low pressures that standard petrol station gauges cannot measure accurately. Motor inn checks tyre pressure before every rental but if you are in doubt ask us to check them again for you. This is the most important thing on quad safety since over inflated tyres will cause the Quad bike to bounce out of control when you hit a stone or go over a hole.

  2. HELMETS . Must be worn when driving a quad bike. It is quite rare to fall of a Quad but if an accident happens the riders are not strapped to their seat and will fly of the vehicle .Sunglasses or a visor and closed shoes are necessary too.

  3. KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE. You don't want to crash on the vehicle in front of you if the driver slams on the brakes. Because quad bikes are quite slow (especially 50cc ones) other drivers are anxious to overtake .Check your rear view mirror and move to the side to let others overtake you.

  4. NO OFF-ROAD DRIVING. Some people call the quad bikes All Terrain Vehicles (ATV's) but driving off-road requires special skills and good knowledge of the terrain. There might be big holes or other hazards that are invisible. Anciet Thira Tours does not permit off road driving for any vehicle and our insurance will not cover damages while off-road.

Our travel agency organizes private guided tours around Santorini, to all beautiful beaches Kamari, Perissa, Perivolos to Fira, Oia for the sunset to archeological sites of Akrotiri and Old Thira, we do transfers, we rent cars, bikes, motorbikes, quads and mountain bikes.

A giant central lagoon, more or less rectangular, and measuring about 12 km by 7 km (8 mi by 4 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (984 ft) high steep cliffs on three sides. The island slopes downward from the cliffs to the surrounding Aegean Sea. On the fourth side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon merges with the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest. The water in the centre of the lagoon is nearly 400 m (1300 ft) deep, thus making it a safe harbour for all kinds of shipping. The island's harbours all lie in the lagoon and there are no ports on the outer perimeter of the island; 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 notably 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 long and 20-40 km 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 region of Akrotiri. The name Santorini was given to it by the Latin empire in the thirteenth century, and is a reference to Saint Irene. Before then it was known as Kallistē (Καλλίστη, "the most beautiful one"), Strongylē (Στρογγύλη, "the circular one"), or Thera.

The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions the planet has ever seen: 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 feet deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (70 miles) to the south, through the creation of a gigantic tsunami. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis.

Santorini (Greek: Σαντορίνη, pronounced [ˌsa(n)do̞ˈrini]) is a small, circular archipelago of volcanic islands located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast from Greece's mainland. It is also known as Thera (or Thira, Greek Θήρα [ˈθira]), forming the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km² (28 mi²) and a 2001 census population of 13,670. It is composed of the Municipality of Thíra (pop. 12,440) and the Community of Oía (Οία, pop. 1,230, which includes 268 inhabitants resident on the offshore island of Therasia, lying to the west). These have a total land area of 90.623 km², which also includes the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana (all part of the Municipality of Thira).

Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera. Its spectacular physical beauty, along with a dynamic nightlife, have made the island one of Europe's tourist hotspots.

[edit] Minoan Akrotiri

Excavations starting in 1967 at the site called Akrotiri under the late Professor Spyridon Marinatos have made Thera the best-known "Minoan" site outside of Crete, the homeland of the culture. The island was not known as Thera at this time. Only the southern tip of a large town has been uncovered, yet it has revealed complexes of multi-level buildings, streets, and squares with remains of walls standing as high as eight meters, all entombed in the solidified ash of the famous eruption of Thera. The site was not a palace-complex such as are found in Crete, but its excellent masonry and fine wall-paintings show that this was certainly no conglomeration of merchants' warehousing either. A loom-workshop suggests organized textile weaving for export. This Bronze Age civilization throve between 3000 to 2000 BC, and reached its peak in the period 2000 to 1580 BC.[3]

Some of the houses in Akrotiri are major structures, some amongst them three stories high. Its streets, squares, and walls were preserved in the layers of ejecta, sometimes as tall as eight meters, and indicating this was a major town. In many houses stone staircases are still intact, and they contain huge ceramic storage jars (pithoi), mills, and pottery. Noted archaeological remains found in Akrotiri are wall paintings or frescoes, which have kept their original colour well, as they were preserved under many meters of volcanic ash. The town also had a highly developed drainage system and, judging from the fine artwork, its citizens were clearly sophisticated and relatively wealthy people.

Pipes with running water and water closets found at Akrotiri are the oldest such utilities discovered. The pipes run in twin systems, indicating that the Therans used both hot and cold water supplies; the origin of the hot water probably was geothermic, given the volcano's proximity. The dual pipe system suggesting hot and cold running water, the advanced architecture, and the apparent layout of the Akrotiri find resemble Plato's description of the legendary lost city of Atlantis, further indicating the Minoans as the culture which primarily inspired the Atlantis legend.[citation needed]

Fragmentary wall-paintings at Akrotiri lack the insistent religious or mythological content familiar in Classical Greek decor. Instead, the Minoan frescoes depict "Saffron-Gatherers", who offer their crocus-stamens to a seated lady, perhaps a goddess. (Crocus has been discovered to have many medicinal values including the relief of menstrual pain. This has led many archaeologists to believe that the fresco of the saffron/crocus gatherers is a coming of age fresco dealing with female pubescence.) In another house are two antelopes, painted with a kind of confident, flowing, decorative, calligraphic line, the famous fresco of a fisherman with his double strings of fish strung by their gills, and the flotilla of pleasure boats, accompanied by leaping dolphins, where ladies take their ease in the shade of light canopies, among other frescoes.

The well preserved ruins of the ancient town often are compared to the spectacular ruins at Pompeii in Italy. The canopy covering the ruins collapsed in an accident in September 2005, tragically killing one tourist and injuring seven more. The site remains closed while a new canopy is built.

The oldest signs of human settlement are Late Neolithic (4th millennium BC or earlier), but ca. 2000–1650 BC Akrotiri developed into one of the Aegean's major Bronze Age ports, with recovered objects that had come, not just from Crete, but also from Anatolia, Cyprus, Syria, and Egypt as well as from the Dodecanese and the Greek mainland.

 

The Minoan eruption provides a fixed point for the chronology of the second millennium BC in the Aegean, because evidence of the eruption occurs throughout the region and the site itself contains material culture from outside. The eruption occurred during the "Late Minoan IA" period at Crete and the "Late Cycladic I" period in the surrounding islands.

The exact date of the eruption, however, is unknown. Radiocarbon dating indicates that the eruption occurred about 1645—1600 BC.[4] These dates, however, conflict with the usual date range from archaeological evidence, which is between about 1550 and 1500 BC.For more discussion, see the article on the Minoan eruption.

 

Ancient and Medieval Santorini

Santorini remained unoccupied throughout the rest of the Bronze Age, during which time the Greeks took over Crete. At Knossos, in a LMIIIA context (14th century BC), seven Linear B texts while calling upon "all the gods" make sure to grant primacy to an elsewhere-unattested entity called qe-ra-si-ja and, once, qe-ra-si-jo. If the endings -ia[s] and -ios represent an ethnikonic suffix, then this means "The One From Qeras[os]". If aspirated, *Qhera- would have become "Thera-" in later Greek. "Therasia" and its ethnikon "Therasios" are both attested in later Greek; and, since -sos was itself a genitive suffix in the Aegean Sprachbund, *Qeras[os] could also shrink to *Qera. (An alternate view takes qe-ra-si-ja and qe-ra-si-jo as proof of androgyny, and applies this name by similar arguments to the legendary seer, Tiresias, but these views are not mutually exclusive of one another.) If qe-ra-si-ja was an ethnikon first, then in following him/her/it the Cretans also feared whence it came.

Over the centuries after the general catastrophes of 1200 BC,[vague] Phoenicians founded a site on Thera. Herodotus reports that the Phoenicians called the island Callista and lived on it for eight generations Then, in the 9th century BC, Dorians founded the main Hellenic city - on Mesa Vouno, 396 m above sea level. This group later claimed that they had named the city and the island after their leader, Theras. Today, that city is referred to as Ancient Thera.

Apollonius Rhodius' Argonautica, written in Hellenistic Egypt in the 3rd century BC, includes an origin and sovereignty myth of Thera being given by Triton in Libya to the Greek Argonaut Euphemus, son of Poseidon, in the form of a clod of dirt. After carrying the dirt next to his heart for several days, Euphemus dreamt that he nursed the dirt with milk from his breast, and that the dirt turned into a beautiful woman with whom he had sex. The woman then told him that she was a daughter of Triton named Kalliste, and that when he threw the dirt into the sea it would grow into an island for his descendants to live on. The poem goes on to claim that the island was named Thera after Euphemus' descendant Theras, son of Autesion, the leader of a group of refugee settlers from Lemnos.

The Dorians have left a number of inscriptions incised in stone, in the vicinity of the temple of Apollo, attesting to pederastic relations between the authors and their eromenoi. These inscriptions, found by Friedrich Hiller von Gaertringen, have been thought by some archaeologists to be of a ritual, celebratory nature, due to their large size, careful construction and - in some cases - execution by craftsmen other than the authors. Other historians, such as Dover and Henri-Irénée Marrou, have considered them to be pornographic in nature.[8]

According to Herodotus (4.149-165), following a drought of seven years, Thera sent out colonists who founded a number of cities in northern Africa, including Cyrene.

In the 5th century BC, Dorian Thera did not join the Delian League with Athens; and during the Peloponnesian War, Thera sided with Dorian Sparta, against Athens. The Athenians took the island during the war, but lost it again after the Battle of Aegospotami.

As with other Greek territories, Thera then was ruled by the Romans; it passed to the eastern side of the Empire when it divided - which now is known as the Byzantine Empire.

During the Crusades, the Franks settled it, while in the 13th century AD, the Venetians annexed the isle to the Duchy of Naxos and renamed it "Santorini", that is "Saint Irene". Santorini came under Ottoman rule in 1579.

 

Modern Santorini

Santorini was united with Greece in 1912. Its major settlements include Fira (Phira), Oia, Emporio, Kamari, Perissa, Imerovigli, Pyrgos, and Therasia. Akrotiri is a major archaeological site, with ruins from the Minoan era. Santorini's primary industry is tourism, particularly in the summer months. The island's pumice quarries have been closed since 1986, in order to preserve the caldera.

Santorini has no rivers, and water is scarce. Until the early 1990s locals filled water cisterns from the rain that fell on roofs and courts, from small springs, and with imported assistance from other areas of Greece. In recent years a desalination plant has provided running, yet non-potable, water to most houses.

The island remains the home of a small, but flourishing, wine industry, based on the indigenous grape variety, Assyrtiko. Vines of the Assyrtiko variety are extremely old and prove resistant to phylloxera, attributed by local winemakers to the well-drained volcanic soil and its chemistry, and the soil needed no replacement during the great phylloxera epidemic of the early 20th century. In their adaptation to their habitat, such vines are planted far apart, as their principal source of moisture is dew, and they often are trained in the shape of low-spiralling baskets, with the grapes hanging inside to protect them from the winds. Also unique to the island is the red, sweet, and extremely strong Vinsanto. White wines from the island are extremely dry with a strong, citrus scent, and the ashy volcanic soil gives the white wines a slightly sulfurous flavour much like Vinsanto. It is not easy to be a winegrower in Santorini; the hot and dry conditions give the soil a low productivity. The yield per acre is only 10 to 20% of the yields that are common in France and California.

In 1707 an undersea volcano breached the sea surface, forming the current centre of activity at Nea Kameni in the centre of the lagoon, and eruptions centred on it continue — the twentieth century saw three such, the last in 1950. At some time in the future, it will almost certainly erupt violently again. Santorini was also struck by a devastating earthquake in 1956. Although the volcano is quiescent at the present time, at the current active crater (there are several former craters on Nea Kameni), steam and sulphur dioxide are given off.

 

Volcanic eruption

 

The physical eruption

The devastating volcanic eruption of Thera has become the most famous single event in the Aegean before the fall of Troy. This may have been one of the largest volcanic eruptions on Earth in the last few thousand years with an estimated 6 on the VEI (volcanic explosivity index).

The violent eruption was centered on a small island just north of the existing island of Nea Kameni in the centre of the caldera; the caldera itself was formed several hundred thousand years ago by the collapse of the centre of a circular island, caused by the emptying of the magma chamber during an eruption. It has been filled several times by ignimbrite since then, and the process repeated itself, most recently 21,000 years ago. The northern part of the caldera was refilled by the volcano, then collapsing once more during the Minoan eruption. Before the Minoan eruption, the caldera formed a nearly continuous ring with the only entrance between the tiny island of Aspronisi and Thera; the eruption destroyed the sections of the ring between Aspronisi and Therasia, and between Therasia and Thera, creating two new channels.

On Santorini, a deposit of white tephra thrown from the eruption is to be found, lying up to 60 metres thick overlying the soil marking the ground level before the eruption, and forming a layer divided into three fairly distinct bands indicating different phases of the eruption. New archaeological discoveries by a team of international scientists, in 2006, have revealed that the Santorini event was much more massive than previously thought; it expelled 61 km³ of magma and rock into Earth's atmosphere, compared to previous estimates of only 39 cubic kilometres in 1991,[9][10] producing an estimated 100 cubic kilometres of tephra. Only the Mount Tambora volcanic eruption of 1815, the 181 AD eruption of Lake Taupo, and possibly Baekdu Mountain's 969 AD eruption released more material into the atmosphere during the past 5,000 years.

Speculation on an Exodus connection

A 2006 documentary created by filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici called The Exodus Decoded [11] suggests that the eruption of the Santorini Island volcano (c. 1623 BC, +/-25) caused all the biblical plagues described against Egypt, re-dating the eruption to c. 1500 BC. The film claims the Hyksos were the Israelites and that some of them may have originally been from Mycenae. The film also claims that these original Mycenaean Israelites fled Egypt (which they had in fact ruled for some time) after the eruption, back to Mycenae. The pharaoh with whom they identify the Pharaoh of the Exodus is Ahmose I. Rather than crossing the Red Sea, Jacobovici argued a marshy area in northern Egypt known as the "Reed Sea" would have been alternately drained and flooded by tsunamis caused by the caldera collapse, and could have been crossed during the Exodus.

Speculation on an Atlantis connection

It is easy to see why this location was added to the list of possible locations for the fabled city of Atlantis. As with most myths, connections to real places are usually dubious and many scientists often are skeptical. However some archaeological, seismological, and vulcanological evidence [12] [13] [14] (popularized on The History Channel programme Lost Worlds episode "Atlantis" [15]) regarding Crete, Santorini, and the description of Atlantis from Plato, has been presented linking the Atlantis myth to Santorini. For more discussion, see the article on Location hypotheses of Atlantis.

Sea Diamond sinking

On April 6, 2007, the 469-foot cruise ship MS Sea Diamond struck a volcanic reef within the crater and sank the following day, resulting in the loss of two passengers. The Sea Diamond was operated by Louis Cruise Lines, part of a Cyprus-based tourism group. The Merchant Marine Ministry said 1,195 passengers and 391 crew members were on board. The ship settled to the bottom near the port of Athenios. The wreck contains 200 tons of fuel oil and poses a serious threat to the waters of the caldera. Plans are currently being made to salvage the ship, which is resting precariously on an undersea ledge.

We are a Santorini Private Tour agency with friendly and experienced English speaking tour guides.  All our vehicles are fully air-conditioned or heated and offer superb comfortable seating.

We specialize in private tours using friendly and experienced English speaking drivers and tour guides in Santorini. Our vehicles are clean, certified roadworthy and safe with full air-conditioning / heating so our clients truly enjoy their private tour of Santorini

Santorini is one of the most beautiful island in Greece and Nikos and all of our staff  like to give you what this island worth.

The private tours,  sightseeing and shore excursions in Santorini last about  five hours. It is advisable that those clients arriving on cruise ships start the tour at 10 am and end the tour around 3.00 pm so they can enjoy some free time whilst exploring Fira, the capital of Santorini.

 As every person is different so go on the private tour that fit for you.  All you have to do, is to take a look below, see what we suggest and then send us an email with the places you wish to see wile you in Santorini. The private tours the we offer is the standard sightseeing tours for Santorini,   but if some of our costumers like to go differed way we more than happy to do so.