The 20 Best Santorini Tours. See More!

Hotels

Tours

Caldera FLY

Things to Do

Villages

The island that is renowned for its sublime natural beauty is also known by many names which have been characterizing it throughout the years. According to the prominent Greek historian Herodotus, in the prehistoric times the island was initially called Strogili due to its shape. Strogili means round and it is how the island used to look like before the catastrophic volcanic eruption that changed the form of the island completely. The result of this great eruption was the creation of three separate islands, Aspronisi, Therasia and Santorini and two residual volcanic islands, Palaia Kammeni and Nea Kammeni. It also led to the formation of the extraordinary caldera that played an important role to the development of Santorini. A long time after this event the Phoenicians settled in Santorini as they were enchanted by its unexampled beauty. Subsequently, they named the island Kallisti (it means the most beautiful), a name that definitely represents the island to date since the crowds of people that visit it every year are mesmerized by its unique characteristics that compose a stunning scenery. At the end of the 12th century BC, the Dorians from Sparta created a colony on the island and they named it after their king Theras, son of Autesion. The name Santorini was given afterwards by the Crusaders after a chapel of Saint Irene (Santa Irini-Santorini) which was located in Perissa or less likely, as stated in some other sources, in Riba at Therasia. The names Thera and, of course, Santorini are the predominant and the most well-known. During the Ottoman Rule, the Turks conquered the island and named it Dermetzik or Dirmetzik which means a small mill, probably from the series of windmills that existed on the island. However, they never actually dwelled on the island. Nowadays, the official name of the island is Thera, but it is mainly known as Santorini which is how the Greeks refer to it, too.
Top