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The history and fate of Santorini were totally defined by the island’s volcanic activity. Through centuries the constant-changing island acquired various names, such as Stroggili (=round shape), Thera, Kallisti (=the most beautiful), Santorini etc. and it was connected with the tragic fate of the mythical island of Atlantis and other myths. Researchers, geologists and archaeologists tried to study its awe-inspiring evolution throughout the years, starting from its creation. Santorini has been rightly characterized as “the Pompeii of the Aegean Sea”. We have to go back millions of years to understand the start of its creation.

Initially, Greece was covered by water. Gradually, some parts of land extruded water and Aigeis was created, a large land that extended from Ionian Sea to Asian Minor and Crete. Later it was covered by water again and the part where the Aegean Sea is located today was sunk, apart from the tops of the mountains. In Santorini’s place used to be a rocky islet, whose size corresponded to Prophet Elias along with the village of Pyrgos.

From that point on, the evolution and shape of the island were the result of the long-lasting volcanic activity. Thus, the creation of the first craters happened around two million years ago, which were gradually connected together and formed the village of Akrotiri, the first settlement of Santorini. In the next years, more craters were created from the continuous volcanic explosions and they were connected with the existing islet with the materials from the explosions. The result was the creation of a big round island; hence the name Stroggili.

The volcanic activity was so intense that it took thousands of years for Santorini to gain flora and fauna. The first inhabitants seemed to appear in the Neolithic Period, probably because of the fertile, volcanic land. During the Bronze Age more settlements were developed and people were mainly occupied with agriculture and trade, whose prosperity was notable. Santorini was greatly affected by the Minoan civilization of Crete, which was destroyed completely after one of the most severe volcanic eruptions in the history of mankind, in 1613 BC, when the volcano of Santorini revealed its entire power.

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