Santorini or Thera, Greece October 2015
Sailing into the Caldera of Thera is one of the more spectacular places to tick on the world sailing check list.
Santorini is perhaps one of the most famous and most visited of the Greek islands. It is breathtaking, a caldera, the remnants of an ancient volcano that blew in about 1450 BCE, which was one of the largest volcanic eruptions ever recorded in Earth’s history. Called the Minoan Eruption by scientists, it inspired Greek Myth (or history, who can say), wiped out the northern part of Crete, destroyed the Minoan civilization (speculated) and formed the stunningly beautiful island caldera that people flock to to take the famous photos. The photos you see of stark white houses clinging to a steep hillside, overlooking an almost navy deep blue sea, are of Santorini.
Santorini is not the name of Santorini. The island was named Thira, or Thera, by the Dorians when they settled here in the 8th century BC, and was renamed Santorini, after Santa Irene by the Venetians, who conquered this island in the 1300s. This island is the best candidate for the fabled lost kingdom of Atlantis. It was colonized by the Minoans from Crete in 3000 BC and is one of the more archaeologically interesting places in the world.
The current dig at Akrotiri has unearthed remains of both early primitive and later advanced civilizations, built one atop the other, the earliest remains date to the 5th millennium BC!! What is remarkable about the Akrotiri dig is that this is essentially a Minoan Pompeii, dated in the epoch of about 1500 BC. It is the only well-preserved settlement of the Bronze age, and the quality of the preservation was due to the complete covering in volcanic ash, like Pompeii. What is different is that scientists have determined that an earthquake (or several) preceded the eruption, so that the people had left the site before the eruption, so there are no dead bodies eternally preserved in agony, as there were at Pompeii. Where they went is not determined, maybe one day their remains will be found further inland.
This stuff is just pure nerd gravy for me.
This is the reward for sightseeing all day- a proper wine tasting. The snackies come for an additional 5 euros or so and dinner is done!