Santorini & Cyclades: 15 interesting facts about greek islands
Santorini is one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations, but what information about Santorini do we know? It is visited daily by tourists from Greece and abroad during the summer.
However, Santorini island is accessible year-round due to Santorini’s mild climate, and winter tourism is slowly growing. They are the two most renowned Greek islands, alongside Mykonos.
However, what do we know about this beautiful Cyclades island? Is there any information about Santorini that we are unaware of? Are there amusing and interesting facts about the island that will make our stay and vacation more enjoyable?
Ten information about Santorini to learn before visiting
- The White Houses
Why are most of the houses in Santorini and the Cyclades white? Initially, there are two reasons. The first reason is the Greek cholera epidemic of 1940. The dictator Ioannis Metaxas then ordered that all the houses be painted white as white paint contains limestone, which helps prevent the spread of cholera. White color absorbs less heat than darker hues, making homes more livable.
2. The lost city of Atlantis
At some point in your life, you probably heard that Santorini is the lost city of Atlantis and that the two are connected. In reality, no official historical evidence indicates that Atlantis is Santorini. However, the similarities between the histories of these two locations are readily apparent to all of us.
For instance, the lost village of Akrotiri in Santorini shares too many similarities with the legend of the lost Atlantis. However, is it the exact location? Nobody knows. The myth though attracts many individuals seeking a solution and connection between these two places.
- The history of Akrotiri
Akrotiri is a prehistoric settlement on the island of Santorini and one of the most critical sites in the Aegean. There, you can uncover the secrets of Atlantis and learn about a Neolithic-era settlement that dates back to 4,000 B.C.
- The Volcanic eruption
The volcano is one of the most popular attractions in Santorini. Thousands of years ago, a massive volcanic eruption on Santorini shaped the island’s structure and coastline. This eruption occurred in 1600 B.C., is considered one of the largest in world history, and significantly shaped the Cyclades as we know them, nowadays.
- The Tsunami
The volcanic eruption shapes the Cyclades and the Aegean as they are today. However, the tsunami that occurred immediately after the volcanic eruption and reached Crete 110 kilometers away was also decisive in the development of the current map of the Aegean. According to many historians, it was the cause of the destruction and disappearance of the Minoan civilization in Crete.
In addition, the volcano is active today, and you can visit it by the island of Nea Kameni in the center of Santorini.
- Thira and Strongili
Strongili was the first known name for Santorini due to its shape before the volcanic eruption. Strongili means spherical, so ancient Santorini had an entirely different form than it does today.
Additionally, Santorini is well-known in Greece as Thira, a name that may be unfamiliar to many foreigners. During Venetian rule in the Aegean and primarily in the Cyclades during the 13th century, the name Santorini was adopted, and if you separate the word, you get Saint Irene.
- The Weddings
Before the Pandemic, Santorini hosted between 1,000 and 4,000 weddings annually, primarily in the summer, as numerous couples visited the island’s idyllic landscapes and tied the knot there.
- The tourists
According to the 2011 census, there are 15,250 permanent residents in Santorini. This number is negligible compared to the number of people who visit the place annually.Τhe island’s traffic increased by 35% in June 2022 compared to June 2019. This is a significant difference since there was no Pandemic in 2019, and tourism was at its peak.
- The earthquake
On June 9, 1956, a significant earthquake occurred. It measured 7.7 on the Richter scale near the island of Santorini’s neighbor, Amorgos.
Nevertheless, it primarily struck Santorini, causing a massive tsunami that resulted in 53 deaths and hundreds of injuries. Simultaneously, many homes were destroyed, and many residents left the island for other Aegean islands or Athens.
- The Wine Museum
Santorini has several museums and archaeological sites. But there is one that jumps out, the Wine Museum! Santorini’s wines are well-known and celebrated throughout Greece and beyond. In the island’s wine museum you can view a more general overview of the history of wine on the island and sample a variety of local wines.
5 Interesting facts about the Cyclades:
- The Cyclades consist of approximately 220 islands, some of which are large, including Naxos, Paros, Andros, Milos, and Tinos. Nevertheless, the Cyclades are smaller than the Dodecanese and the Ionian Islands. As a result, they can be the ideal vacation destination for exploring the entire island. Moreover, you can still visit inhabited small islands such as Koufonisia, Donoussa, Schinousa, and Heraklia. These are known as the Small Cyclades.
- Most of the Cyclades Islands are uninhabited.
- Milos is another island of the Cyclades situated on a volcano, along with Santorini. The remaining islands of the Cyclades consisted of mountainous terrain.
- The Cyclades island with the largest population is Syros, with 21,000 people. In contrast, the Cyclades’ largest island is Naxos, but it has a population of 18,000.
- The weather in the Cyclades is ideal. It is estimated that 300 days per year are sunny, making visiting the Cyclades a perfect destination at any time possible. In addition, the Cyclades are home to many products, including abundant vegetables, wines, olive oil, and anything that can contribute to the Mediterranean diet.
The history of Santorini and the Cyclades spans a significant amount of time and contains numerous unique facts, some of which we are familiar with and others we are not. Santorini, known by various names, has been subject to highly severe natural disasters, such as tsunamis, the earthquake of 1956, and a volcanic eruption.
These three natural disasters shaped modern Santorini and the Cyclades, and their effects are still felt. In addition, the volcanic eruption prompted unconfirmed rumors that lost Atlantis and Santorini were identical as of the given date.
In addition, Santorini is a popular tourist destination, with many individuals planning vacations and a number of them arranging weddings on the island. The island’s popularity is partly attributable to its sunset, beautiful beaches, Akrotiri, traditional white houses, and numerous museums.
By reserving a villa from the Arivia Group for your vacation, you will find even more reasons to adore it. Santorini enchants its guests, who plan to return before departing.