Santorini is one of the 220 Cyclades Islands scattered in the Aegean Sea. The island is one large volcanic rock, cumulatively formed from previous eruptions. The stunning formations that Santorini is known for include rocky headlands and a caldera that strikes a perfect complement to the crystal blue ocean.
What Is Santorini Known For?
Santorini is best known for its sandy beaches, white-washed houses, photogenic blue domes, and enchanting sunsets. Adding onto its magical nature, the island is believed to be the lost city of Atlantis that sunk into the Atlantic Ocean. Furthermore, Santorini is famous for its ancient ruins and local Greek cuisine, including wineries and seafood best enjoyed with a view of the quaint villages.
History, Culture, And Traditions Santorini Is Known For
Santorini is famous for being made from a series of volcanic eruptions that have overlapped over the last thousands of years.
The largest of these, named the Minoan Eruption, took place in 1646 BC. Subsequently, tsunamis and earthquakes dominated the land as an aftermath. The consequence of this disaster was so large that it destroyed the settlers both on the island and the ones nearby.
However, these disasters are what have shaped Santorini’s geological formations today.
The Lost City of Atlantis
One of the most widely-believed legends about Santorini is that Atlantis, the lost city, is actually the same island. Atlantis was destroyed when it sank to the bottom of the sea, that is, if it was real in the first place.
Atlantis was first mentioned by Plato, the legendary Greek philosopher. In Critias, a long dialogue written 360 BCE, it is narrated that Atlantis had plans to overtake Athens.
Overall, historians state that Atlantis should be found in the Mediterranean, which coincides with the beliefs that Santorini is famous for. Controversially, some claim it should be in the Atlantic Ocean. Regardless, it is one of the more interesting mythical facts about Greece.
Caldera Of Santorini
A fun fact about Santorini is that it has the only inhabited caldera in the world. Essentially, this is a large cauldron-shaped pit that is formed after a volcanic eruption due to the emptying of magma.
It is crescent-shaped and partially submerged. Other examples of calderas around the world include Crater Lake in Oregon, and the largest, Apolaki Caldera, in the Philippines. In contrast, they are all uninhabited.
Over 2 million people visit Santorini every year on their holidays, especially during the summer. Similarly, the locals have a rather chilled mindset. This means that a huge part of the culture is based on resting and unwinding.
Of course, wine plays a huge role when it comes to relaxing. It is, after all, a popular drink in Greece for meals or socializing.
Santorini is more prominently known for white wines such as Assyrtiko, a grape indigenous to the island.
If you are interested in the wines Santorini is famous for, be sure to visit the Santorini Wine Museum. It exhibits various vineyards and wine-making processes popular since the 1600s.
Districts And Areas Santorini Is Known For
Fira is the largest town on the island as well as the capital. As a result, it is home to many of the best Greek landmarks.
Most well-known is the Three Bells of Fira, a striking 18th-century Church that Santorini is famous for, credit to its beautiful features. It looks like a stereotypical blue-and-white Greek church, complete with a scenic view of the nearby sea.
You can also explore the Museum of Prehistoric Thera which is built on the remains of an old church. Here, you can explore various ancient artifacts of Santorini.
Oia is a charming village best known for its stunning white houses and traditional streets. It is located in the northern part of the island and, despite its charming feel, is the second-largest village.
No matter where you travel in Santorini, you will not find a more magical sunset than in Oia. The contrast between the white churches and houses, blue sea, and orange sky makes it the perfect backdrop. That is one reason why it’s such a popular destination for wedding photo shoots.
Imerovigli has some of the best natural landmarks in Santorini because of its impeccable location on the highest point of the island. Consequently, its geological formations are also truly unique to the village.
Skaros Rock is a rocky headland in Imerovigli that also has a hiking trail, castle ruins, and Agios Giorgis Church. Although the climb may be exciting for thrill-seekers, it is just as common to explore the surrounding path.
Some of the historical landmarks that are famous in Greece are located in Akrotiri. This includes the important prehistorical Akrotiri Archaeological Site, featuring the remains of an ancient city.
On the other hand, Akrotiri is also famous for Red Beach. It is named after its tinted red sand that is caused by the iron left behind from volcanic eruptions. The beach is also encapsulated by stark red cliffs, contributing to its name and contrasting with the blue waters.
The long, sandy coastline, along with the water sports and refreshing cafes, make it imperative to visit!
Landmarks And Architecture Santorini Is Known For
Akrotiri Archaeological Site
Akrotiri is a prehistoric city that was the home of Minoan settlers somewhere between 1620 and 1530 BC. Whilst the precise years are unknown, a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC destroyed the area and killed its inhabitants.
In the 1860s, Akrotiri was discovered by construction workers, and a century later, excavations began. Nowadays, you can visit the archaeological site where you can explore abandoned artifacts like streets, squares, and art. As a result, it is one of the most unique things to do in Santorini.
Three Bells Of Fira
The Three Bells of Fira is a religious attraction, also known as The Catholic Church of the Dormition. It is one of the most stunning landmarks in Santorini because of how incredibly photogenic it is. The defining characteristics are the blue dome and three bells.
The 18th-century Church reflects the historical agenda of the island, whereby all buildings needed to be painted blue and white. Additionally, from the top of the building, you can see the calm Aegean Sea waters.
The Castle of Agios Nikolas is a historical attraction in Oia.
Constructed in 1450, it served as a military defense strategically built on one of the highest points of Santorini. Hence, you can panoramically observe your surroundings from the castle, which at the time was critical in defending against pirates.
The culturally significant landmark has suffered many natural disasters over the years, mainly earthquakes that Santorini is famous for experiencing. Nevertheless, the castle is still standing, and the watchtower is fortunately preserved.
Food Santorini Is Known For
Fava, otherwise known as broad bean, is native to Mediterranean counties such as Santorini. It is abundant, and hundreds of hectares of land are reserved simply for legumes. This is due to its nutritional value and pleasing nutty taste.
As a result, fava is incredibly versatile and can feature in different meals, from a filling Greek breakfast to a hearty dinner. For a vegetarian option, you can boil them and top them with feta and lemon juice. On the other hand, they are complemented by beef or other meats and made into a stew.
Greek food and cuisine would be incomplete without a tomato dish. Because of the great climate for growing them, they are used in a variety of dishes, whether cooked or thrown in a salad.
Tomato fritters, called tomatokeftedes by the locals, are a refreshing side dish option. The appetizing Greek starter is served in restaurants as well as family functions and celebrations.
Crushed tomatoes are simply fried in oil and shaped into balls. They can be dipped in a yogurt dip and onions, making for a great street snack in Greece.
Another common appetizer is Melitzanosalata, an eggplant dip. The primary ingredient used is roasted eggplant, a staple in Santorini. It is roasted to release the sweet flavors and create a tender texture, as opposed to its bitterness when raw.
Added to the eggplant are feta, red onion, olives, and lemon juice. This is diced and mixed. This smoky dish can be eaten alone as a salad or paired with bread to dip.
The mother of all Greek desserts is undoubtedly baklava. It can be found anywhere but is best at the markets where you can find other traditional Greek street food.
As opposed to Turkish baklava, which is sweeter and ladled with syrup, the baklava here is nuttier. Chopped pistachio and walnut are sprinkled over the divine pastry, and less syrup is used.
As a result, this is the perfect dessert to end your traditional Greek culinary experience.
Famous People From Santorini
Yiannis Chryssomallis, nicknamed Yanni, is a Greek musician. He has an array of roles in the industry from composing to playing piano.
During college where he studied psychology, Yanni played in a rock band and continued to pursue his real dreams. Over the span of his career, Yanni has been nominated for Grammy Awards and also won World’s Best Selling Greek Artist.
He has taken inspiration from the island many times in his music. What is Santorini known for if not its song, Santorini, that has been performed in live concerts worldwide.
Mariza Koch is a folk singer who is best known for performing in Eurovision. She sang Panayia Mou, Panayia Mou, translated to My Lady, My Lady.
Although being born in Athens, Koch grew up in Santorini where she pursued her music career. Initially, she adored traditional Greek music such as Byzantine, typical of Orthodox churches. In later times has grown famous for infusing it with Jazz and creating a unique sound.
Discovering More Things Santorini Is Known For
Santorini is famous for its mesmerizing sunsets and calm beaches. However, once you get to know the island, you will discover it has so much more to offer.
The unique history of Santorini allows it to offer convincing legends, diverse rock formations, and ancient archaeological sites. In addition to this, the healthy cuisine and friendly locals create a relaxing atmosphere. It truly is a fairytale-like vacation spot.