“Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic explosion that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera”
The island of Santorini or Thira belongs to the complex of Cyclades islands, in the southern Aegean Sea.
Santorini belongs to the Aegean volcanic arc and is characterized as an active volcano.
The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (or Thera eruption) which occurred some 3600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of meters deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami.
“Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis”
The ground slopes outwards and downwards towards the outer perimeter, and the outer beaches are smooth and shallow. Beach sand color depends on which geologic layer is exposed; there are beaches with sand or pebbles made of solidified lava of various colors: the Red Beach, the Black Beach, the White Beach, etc.
The water at the darker colored beaches is significantly warmer because the lava acts as a heat absorber.
“A giant central, rectangular lagoon”
Santorini was named by the Latin Empire in the thirteenth century, and is a reference to Saint Irene, from the name of the old cathedral in the village of Perissa.
Before then, it was known as Kallístē (Καλλίστη, “the most beautiful one”), Strongýlē (Greek: Στρογγύλη, “the circular one”), or Thēra.
The name Thera was revived in the nineteenth century as the official name of the island and its main city, but the colloquial name Santorini is still in popular use.