Have you heard of the Greek Island of Santorini? White sand beaches, pristine blue waters, sunsets that look like something out of a fairytale. Santorini isn’t just a single island but an archipelago. Legendary Atlantis and Santorini may have been the same place, according to some beliefs. This history of Santorini is rich and full of exciting myths, legends and folklore. After the great earthquake of 1956, Santorini fell into an economic crisis forcing many of its inhabitants to abandon the island. It did, however, began its long road to recovery in 1970. Tourists began to flock back to the island. Now it is one of the top destinations in the world. Let’s dive into the Mediterranean waters and find out 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Santorini.
1 – Santorini had an explosive beginning.
There are thousands of Greek islands but there are very few as popular as Santorini. While we call it Santorini, it has had several names in the past. Its official name is Fira and it’s a part of a cluster of over 8 islands. It rests just 120 miles of mainland Greece and it’s the largest island in the archipelago. Fira is the capital of Santorini and the main city of the island. The island sits in a water-filled caldera formed by violent volcanic blasts. Calderas are giant craters. The blast was so violent it may have been responsible for the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete 68 miles South. After the eruption the center of Santorini collapsed and this is where the first mention of Atlantis originated.
2 – Santorini is a booming tourist destination.
In 1956, many of the island’s inhabitants had to leave because of a catastrophic earthquake. However thanks to a steady trickle of tourists in the 1970s, the island slowly began to come back to life. Then in 2015 the Grecian economy took another hard-hit, leaving the country in dire straits. As a result, the cost of travelling to Greece drop significantly causing economy to slowly come back to life. Because of the influx of tourism, the island of Santorini strives to use as many natural resources as possible. From saving rainwater to feed their gardens and fill their pools, to passive solar systems to heat their homes in the colder months.
3 – It has some of the best wine in the world.
Despite the arid and hot climate, vineyards prosper on Santorini. Thanks to the volcanic surroundings the wine produced on the island has a very unique taste. The actual land on the island is made of volcanic ash, tiny pieces of solidified sand and lava and pumice stone. These minerals can’t be found in typical soil which makes it richer. While the wines are popular they are extremely hard to create because it doesn’t rain frequently on the island. They get moisture from somewhere completely unexpected: sea fog. The fog is a result of the air around the active volcano. The moisture is absorbed into the mineral-rich ground, creating some of the best tasting wines in the world.
4 – The legend of Atlantis draws people closer.
The story of Atlantis goes back thousands of years and everyone knows it. A very wealthy prosperous and forward-thinking civilization disappeared without a trace when their island sunk into the ocean. It remains as one of the oldest myths of history and it’s believed to have been taken by the ocean because of humans angering the gods. In the legend, Atlantis was a paradise. Now because of the lore, people often flock to the island in search of the lost city of paradise. They swim and explore the ruins that rest below the surface of the azure waters. The philosopher Plato describes a circular island with structures that could only be found on the supposed island of Atlantis. Throughout the centuries excavation has revealed more and more of the curious islands past. These stories draw people in from all over the globe, making it one of the most visited destinations in the world
5 – Santorini hasn’t always been a hot tourist destination.
The volcanic eruption isn’t the only disaster that Santorini has endured. In 1956 there was a 7.7 magnitude earthquake. Santorini had significant damages but that wasn’t all that was happening that day. Minutes after the first earthquake shook the island another with a magnitude of 7.2 happened closer to Santorini. As a result, a massive nearly 100-foot tsunami was unleashed. 53 people lost their lives and 100 were injured. It was the most catastrophic event since the volcanic eruption.
6 – Santorini has some of the best luxury restaurants in Greece.
If you are going to enjoy a luxurious trip to Santorini, it is not enough to stay at high-end hotels. You need to find some of the best restaurants money has to offer. And Santorini is just the place for one of a kind dining experiences. Ambrosia restaurant is the place you’re looking for if you want unforgettable Greek cuisine. Perched high above the caldera cliff, this grecian restaurant offers the best of the best. At Ambrosia, if you’re planning on making a visit you will need to make a reservation. From top to bottom, if you’re looking for the best place to eat, Ambrosia is the place to be.
7 – It’s not all picturesque.
While the cobalt blue waters and the breathtaking sunsets certainly draw people to the island of Santorini, it’s most definitely not without its flaws. Santorini has a disturbing amount of trash. The islands of Santorini have no system in place to recycle. With the constant influx of tourists around the globe, recycling, unfortunately, isn’t very high on their list of priorities. Some of the streets are littered with crushed cans, discarded food cartons, wrappers and plastic bottles. Capitalism has led to the current state of the ground on the island. It’s becoming a bigger issue because of the toxicity of the waste, as many crops are struggling to survive.
8 – Santorini may be in trouble.
Last summer has carried the most tourists to the archipelago in history. As of June 2018, a record-breaking 32 million people have landed on the shores of Santorini. It has many people wondering if the island can handle the rapid influx. It is one of the only European destinations to reach such heights. While the growth has brought back to its glorious state and out of it an economical crisis, the growth is beginning to have damaging effects. The government is beginning to grow concerns if tourism continues to grow at such a rate. The integrity of the historical aspects, as well as local homes, are in question. Tension is rising between the locals and tourists.
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