Map & Location
The history of Santorini is not just the history of people. It is the history of a place which has the unrealistic distinction of constantly evolving and taking shape by itself.
In order to understand this, try thinking back an Aegean with Cyclades but without Santorini. Then imagine the island one day emerging from the seabed, rising, drying out and gradually being inhabited to become the home of a major culture.
Next, picture another day on which half the island founders, taking its people and their achievements with it inder the ashes and the waves. When the turmoil dies down, new inhabitants come to the island, give it a name of their own and start again from the beginning . Now imagine another island rising from the sea, little by little, and taking the place of that which shank.
The history of Santorini is the history of a place which is not to be taken for granted and whose map must, from time to time, be scrapped and redrawn from the start. The first inhabitants of Santorini were pre- Hellenes who arrived around 3.000 BC.
The influence from Minoan Crete became clear when the excavations at Akrotiri began and an entire settlement with two - storey houses containing wall paintings similar to those of Minoan palaces, was revealed beneath a thick layer of volcanic ash.
During the 13th Century there was a Venetian occupation on the island.
Santorini was united with Greece in 1912. Its major settlements include Fira (Phira), Oia, Emporio, Kamari, Imerovigli, Pyrgos and Therasia, and Akrotiri is a major archaeological site with ruins from the Minoan era.
The island's pumice quarries have been closed since 1986, in order to preserve the caldera, while it remains the home of a small but flourishing wine industry, based on the indigenous grape variety, Assyrtiko ; vines of the Assyrtiko variety are extremely old and prove resistant to phylloxera, attributed by local winemakers to the well drained volcanic soil and its chemistry, and needed no replacement during the great phylloxera epidemic of the early 20th century. In their adaption to their habitat, such vines are planted far apart, as their principal source of moisture is dew, and are often trained in the shape of low spiralling baskets, with the grapes hanging inside to protect them from the winds.
Also unique to the island is the red, sweet and extremely strong Vinsanto; white wines from the island are extremely dry with a strong, citrus scent, and the ashy volcanic soil gives the white wines a slight sulphurous flavour much like Vinsanto. It is not easy to be a wine grower in Santorini; the hot and dry climatological conditions give the soil a low productivity. The yield per acre is only 10 to 20% of the yields that are common in France and California, and the island's primary industry is tourism, particularly in the summer months.
Mini markets, bakery and taverns are only 100 metres away. Free parking is available nearby. Santorini Mansion in Imerovigli is situated just 1.5 km from Fira town and 8 km from the airport. It is 10 km from the port.