40 Vacations - Travel Guides - Destination Santori
Greek Islands Of Santorini
Speak of the Greek Islands and you know you are headed for the cradle of modern human civilization. Santorini is the farthest island of the southern Cyclades in the Aegean Sea with a past full of myths and legends. The group of five islands, that is now Santorini, was originally a single island until a devastating volcano erupted, leaving a gaping hole in the center of the land.
In the medieval period of history, the island of Thira was renamed Santorini after St Irene, a fourth century Christian who was martyred on the island's soil. The entire island is a land of unparalleled beauty and exotic encounters. The white stone houses, modern churches and ancient temples, made by cutting into the sides of black and brown rocks, are dramatically striking. The several myths are the inspiration for Jules Verne's masterpieces ‘The Mysterious Island' and "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea", the place where Captain Nemo and his men witnessed the eruptions.
The ancient sights of the island include the perplexing ruins of Akrotiri that gives visitors no clues of who lived in the small houses and where they went when they abandoned their city. Not only wearisome travelers but also renowned archeologists have reported feeling a sense of impending doom when they visit these ruins. Other sites of cultural and historical significance in Santorini are Fira, Firostefani, Oia and Imerovigli, which despite ancient Greek influences next to splendid Byzantine architecture. Besides the demonstration of the history of human civilization, Santorini also offered more worldly pleasures. There are superb beaches of red and black that make every trip to the shore a romantic adventure. Then there is the sultry sun and the dry, yet moderate Mediterranean weather that gives travelers the maximum hours of light. The view of the sunset over the Caldera, seen from the streets of Fira and Io are indescribably wondrous.
The volcanic soil and the unpredictable effect it can have on plants may be unfavorable for agriculture, but it is certainly a delight for vineyards. Santorini is one of the foremost wine countries of the world, where grapes grow out of holes dug in the soil rather than from rows of vines. Other edible delights of the islands include Santorini tomatoes, white eggplant and huge capers.