20 Mind-Blowingly Interesting Facts About Santorini
Historic Facts About Santorini
- Santorini has a volcanic past – Hundreds of years ago the beautiful island of Santorini did not have the characteristic shape that it has today, the island was round. That is before the volcanic eruption of 1600 BC (thought to be the largest in recorded history!) which collapsed the island and left the caldera we see today.
- Santorini is the only inhabited caldera in the world
- The volcanic eruption caused a tsunami so large that is thought to have contributed to the collapse of the Minoan civilisation in Crete 110 km away!
- Santorini is still an active volcano today and you can visit the volcanic island of Nea Kameni in the centre of the island and see the hot smoke and swim in the hot springs.
Some Interesting Facts About Santorini
- Why are the houses white? – This is a fact about Santorini that most people don’t know. The iconic whitewashed buildings of the Cyclades and Santorini have become instantly recognisable as Greek. But why? One reason is because it made the houses cooler! White paint absorbs less heat than darker colours, making the hot Greek summers more bearable (pre air conditioning days).
- The second reason was due to a cholera outbreak that occurred under the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas in 1938 painting your house white was enforced! This was because the white paint contained limestone which doubled as a disinfectant, helping to curb the spread of infection.
- Santorini has had many names – While you know it as Santorini the queen of the Aegean is officially called Thera. The name Santorini came about in the thirteenth century from the Venetians. It is a reference to Saint Irene – ‘Santa Irini’. Another fact about Santorini (and one that not many people know) is that it used to be known as storgilli (the round island) before the volcanic eruption.
- The Legend Of Atlantis – The legendary island of Atlantis was mentioned by Plato (the Greek philosopher) in two of his writings, but the whereabouts or possible existence has always been disputed. But many believe that this island was Santorini, having disappeared after the volcanic eruption. The similarities between the lost village of Akrotiri in Santorini and Atlantis might make you a believer.
- The prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri, in Santorini island, is one of the most important sites in the Aegean. Here you can unravel the mystery of Atlantis and learn about a settlement that can be traced all the way back to 4,000 BC during the Neolithic period.
- Skaros rock is a favourite for visitors – Here the headland sticks out from the island and into the Aegean, offering undisturbed views of the horizon. In medieval times this spot was once a fortress, protecting the village against pirates. Behind the rock and hidden from view is the Chapel of Panagia Theoskepasti, perched on the very edge of the cliff.
- The island has many exquisite beaches – a fact about Santorini that people don’t usually expect. Being a volcanic island Santorini doesn’t have the long stretches of golden sand that you’ll find on its cousin Mykonos. But the beaches it does have are a rare beauty, from the famous red beach and its richly coloured cliff faces or the quaint portside of Ammoudi, you will have an experience like no other.
☞ Related: The Top Beaches In Mykonos You Need To Visit
Fun Facts About Santorini
- Don’t be deceived by the deceptive aridness of the land, Santorini produces some excellent wines. These wines are especially unique to the volcanic soil which is high in acidity.
- Santorini even has a wine museum you can visit. Family owned and operated by the Koutsoyannopoulos’ the museum takes you through the process of wine making and back in history with various exhibits on display, while also allowing you to taste the vineyards own wine.
- Gialos port (or the old port as you might know it) used to be the main port in Santorini up until a few decades ago. But the small, quaint seaside location was quickly outgrown. You can see why when it is only by climbing down almost 500 winding steps! Climbing up is the hard part and you may want to opt for using the cable car to return to Fira! However you do it, the old port is worth a visit.
Surprising Facts About Santorini
- The population of Santorini sits just over 15,000 people, which is an astoundingly small number when compared to the number of visitors that come each year.
- Before 2020 Santorini was seeing an influx of 2 million visitors annually.
- In 2015 Santorini was the busiest port in all of Greece.
- In 1956 Santorini experienced a devastating earthquake – On the 9th of July, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake centred south of the neighbouring island of Amorgos hit the island and caused a tsunami. The disaster led to 53 deaths and over 100 people were injured. As many of the houses were destroyed a lot of people migrated from the island to the mainland.