History of Santorini

Brief history of Santorini summarized

A brief look at the history of Santorini, one of the islands of Greece.

The origin of Santorini

According to Santorini records and excavations, the first human presence on the island dates back to the Neolithic. 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 on the island of Crete, with many ceramic and wall decorations showing naturalistic landscapes of animals and humans in the same ancient Minoan style.

The volcanic explosion

In ancient times, the island of Santorini was known as Strongyli, which means round in Greek. Strongyli was the victim of a huge volcanic eruption in 1500 BC

The eruption was so large that it is considered by many to be the main cause of the destruction of the great Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, located 70 nautical miles away.

Specialists believe that the explosion was so strong that it created gigantic waves that reached the coasts of the surrounding islands and Crete. After the explosion, the center of Santorini sank, and the many earthquakes that followed destroyed much of the rest of the island.

Santorini in ancient times

According to history, the Phoenicians settled in ancient Thera around 1,300 BC and stayed for five generations. Then, around 1100 BC, the island was occupied by the Lacedaemonians.

Around the year 825 BC, the inhabitants of the island, then called Thera, used the Phoenician alphabet. In the 7th and 6th centuries BC, Thera maintained trade relations with most of the islands and cities of Greece.

During the Hellenistic period, Thera, due to its central position in the Aegean, became an important trading center and an important naval base, due to its strategically perfect position.

Turkish domination

Between 1200 and 1579, the island was under Byzantine rule and the church of Episkopi Gonia was founded. In 1204 AD the island is handed over to the Venetian Marco Sanudo and becomes part of the Duke of the Aegean.

The name of the island was given by the Venetians after Santa Irini, the name of a Catholic church. During that time there is a strong battle between Venetians and pirates. During the Turkish domination (1579-1821), the island achieved a commercial development with the ports of the eastern Mediterranean. The period that follows is quite prosperous.

Santorini today

Due to the wars of the 20th century, Santorini’s economy declined and the inhabitants left the island after the catastrophic earthquake of 1956. Santorini’s tourism development began in the 1970s and today it is one of the best tourist destinations in the world.

Over the years, Santorini has also developed as a destination for weddings and honeymoons, while many international meetings and conferences take place there in the summer, at the Nomikos Conference Center or in luxurious hotels.

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