Over the last few years, Santorini has managed to make its presence felt in the tourist industry, becoming one of the most famous destinations worldwide. The main reasons why it’s popular, are its unique sunsets over the caldera and the scenic streets full of white-washed houses. Plenty of people, choose Santorini as their marriage or honeymoon destination, as its impressive vistas, and photogenic landscapes always create a romantic setting. All of the above, probably you already knew, this is why, in this blog post, we gathered some peculiar and interesting facts about Santorini.
1. NAME ORIGIN
During the Neolithic era, the island was called Strongoli (meaning “of round shape”).
Years later, the island’s name was changed to the Kalliste (meaning “the most beautiful one”) and then, after the Greek independence, it was referred to as Thira after its capital city.
The name ‘Santorini’ is a contraction of the words “Santa” and “Irene” from the name of the old cathedral in the village of Perissa. Although,
“Thira” remains the official name of the island.
According to the 2011 census, the population of the island is 15,550. This local population expands in the summer months especially in the peak time of July and August. But despite its few residents, over 2 million tourists are estimated to visit Santorini each year.
3. NUMBER OF CHURCHES
As is the case throughout all of the islands of the Cyclades, Santorini is abundant with more than 600 temples of all shapes and sizes. Although most of them are quite small, it is believed that there are more churches than residential houses on the island. A lot of them are also private.
4. THE CALDERA
Another interesting fact about Santorini is that the caldera of Santorini is the only one inhabited caldera in the whole world. It is one of the few places on earth where cave houses and architectures are saved on volcanic soil.
5. WINE VARIETIES
In proportion to the size of the island, Santorini is the only place on the whole planet with so many wineries. Nine indigenous grape varieties are cultivated, including the famous Assyrtiko (the most sought-after greek wine). Actually, there is so little rain on the island during the year, that wine is more abundant than water.
6. THE LOST ATLANTIS
Santorini is thought to be one of the possible locations for Atlantis. This is likely because historians have noticed the Minoan settlement of Akrotiri, discovered on the island of Santorini, was a developed settlement that was destroyed around 1,500 BC due to the strong eruption of the Santorini volcano matching the myth of Plato.
7. HOT SPRINGS
The island of Nea Kameni, also known as the Santorini volcano, is a volcanic island at the center of the impressive Santorini caldera. Nea Kameni is surrounded by warm dark waters which are known for their therapeutic benefits. The healing waters of Nea Kameni consist of iron and manganese which act against many diseases that older people usually suffer from.
8. VOLCANIC ROCK
The entire island of Santorini is actually a volcanic rock. It has taken thousands of volcanic eruptions for the island to be formed. In the last 400.000 years, the Santorini volcano had erupted over 100 times. Due to its volcanic nature, you can enjoy spending time on multi-colored beaches during your holidays. There are the famous Red Beach, and also black and white beaches!
Of course, there is so much more to discover on our beautiful island, like its gastronomy, its beaches, the castle ruins, the lighthouse, etc… If you want to find out more, you can read our articles Santorini from A to Z or 4 Santorini Tips from Insiders to get to know interesting facts about Santorini that most people miss.