HISTORY AND MYTHS
Santorini or classically Thira 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 is surrounded by high, steep cliffs.
The eruption of the volcano during the 2nd millennium b.c, was actually responsible for the sinking of the western part of the island and many claim it’s also responsible for the total destruction of the Minoan civilization due to tidal waves. Some theories support that Thira was the site of the capital of Atlantis the lost civilization.
History of the Island: According to searches and excavations on Santorini, the first human presence on the island is situated back to the Neolithic Period. Santorini hosted an important civilization around 3600 BC. Discoveries made in an important city near Akrotiri and the famous Red Beach show the existence of an ancient Minoan colony. The city was very similar to those found in the island of Crete, with many wall ornaments and pottery showing naturalistic landscapes of animals and humans of the same ancient Minoan style. In Ancient times, Santorini Island was known as Stongili, which means round in Greek. Strongili was the victim of an enormous volcano eruption in 1,500 BC. The eruption was so huge that many consider it to be the main cause of the destruction of the great Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, situated 70 nautical miles away. The specialists believe that the explosion was so strong that it created gigantic waves that reached the shores of the surrounding islands and Crete. After the explosion, the centre of Santorini sank, and the many earthquakes that followed destroyed a big part of the rest of the island. Many studies and researches have been presented in our days about the volcano of Santorini, including a series of documentaries in the National Geographic. In some ancient myths, the destruction of the island is closely associated to the legend of Atlantis.
The mythological creation of Santorini Island: According to an ancient Greek myth, Santorini was formed out of a miracle. The ancient Greeks had invented an imaginary story over the creation of Santorini island, a story that is connected to the Argonaut expedition. They said that Jason and his fellow companions were on their way home, they landed on Anaphe, a small island of the Aegean Sea. There Euphemus saw a dream that he was making love to a nymph, the daughter of the sea god Triton, in particular. After making love, that woman told him that she got pregnant to his child and that her father would become angry if he knew that. That is why she needed a place to hide and give birth to her child. She then told Euphemus to get a clod of earth from Anaphe and throw it into the sea. When Euphemus woke up, he decided to take the woman's advice and when they sailed, he indeed threw a clod of earth onto the open sea. Suddenly, as a miracle, an island emerged to provide a safe place for the pregnant nymph. Euphemus named this island either Calliste, which means the most beautiful, either Strogyli, due to its round shape. The son of Euphemus, who was born there, was named Theras and the island finally got his name, Thera.