Santorini (Thira), Greece
Island of Santorini is one of the most popular tourist centers in the European Mediterranean. For many people it is quite well known, even if they were never there. The reason is that the landscapes and architecture of Santorini are present in many commercials, postcards, and it often represents the concept of Greece, with its white houses and beautiful white chapels with blue roofs, which are hanging over the blue waters of the Aegean Sea, contrary to all laws of the gravity. They are the most important monument on the island of Santorini.
Geographic location. The Greek island of Santorini is an island located in southern Aegean Sea and belongs to the group of the Cyclades. It is located at 36° north geographic latitude. It is situated about 110 kilometers north of Crete. The island’s territory is relatively small. The two most distant parts of the island are a little more than 17 kilometers. It consists of two large islands (Thirasia and Thira) and three very small, uninhabited islands.
Relief. The island is very rocky and mountainous. The altitude varies a lot, as most often varies between 200 and 300 meters, but in places exceeds 500. Quite often the banks are extremely steep and headlong descend to the sea. Santorini has a volcanic origin and it shows in the form of the island, which resembles the Latin letter “C” upside. The place where is located the sank volcano now has a deep bay with a small island in the center.
Climate. The climate on the island of Santorini, is subtropical Mediterranean. It is characterized by high temperatures and scarce rainfall. 8 months of the year (from April to November) the daytime temperatures are around and over 20°C. The hottest months are July and August, when the daytime temperatures are around 29 – 30°C in the shade. In this part of the year, the probability of rainfall is negligible. Fall no more than 1-2 mm. The winter is quite mild, even warm. In the coldest month – January – the daytime temperatures are about 15°C. December, January and February are relatively wet months with rainfall ranging between 50 and 70 millimeters, but the rest of the year is quite dry. For beach is suitable from April to November, but in April the sea water is still cold – only 16°C so it is suitable only for sunbathing.
Nature. The hot and dry climate of Santorini has its impact on the landscape, which is semi-arid. The vegetation is extremely scarce. It is mainly represented by some typical of the Mediterranean dry-loving bushes. Trees are very rarely seen and one can say that they almost completely absent. Exceptions are some small ornamental plant species.
Because of the volcanic origin of the island, the land in most places there is a specific reddish color. For the same reason and the beaches are dark. Some of them are red, others – brown, and some are almost black! However, the lack of vegetation makes it more haunting the contrast between the white buildings (all buildings on the island are white) and the very dark blue sea. The most beautiful of the island are the incredible panoramic views, which reveal almost any point on the coast because of the high altitude.
History. One of the most memorable moments in the history of Santorini is the devastating volcanic eruption that happened in 1400 A.D. It completely exterminate much of the island. After the volcanic eruption, more than half of the island wipe off the face of the earth forever. It is believed that this eruption has caused an equally devastating tsunami that has swept the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. To get an idea about the power of the eruption, one should mention that it was indicated as the main reason for the disappearance of one of the most advanced civilization in those times – the Minoan. It has flourished in Crete and approximately in the same time it mysteriously disappears!
Economy. The economy of the island of Santorini is very strongly related with the tourism industry. This architectural monument is cleverly transformed into a luxury resort. The majority of the buildings have been converted into hotels and restaurants. Everything is immersed in luxury and to the visitors are offered the most modern conveniences. Many old buildings are further equipped with swimming pools. However the main attraction here is the architecture, the sun and the water. Although the island is visited year round, the most active part of the year is the summer. During the summer months here are flocking crowds of tourists from all over the world. Some of them come here to spend their holidays, and others – with cruise ships, as part of the tourist route.