Santorini is the largest island of a small circular archipelago in the south of the Aegean Sea. The Santorini islands (out of which only 2 are inhabited) in fact sit in a circle surrounding a large caldera (the largest on in Europe I believe) with a volcano in the very centre of it. Yet it hasn’t always been like that. Although the volcano is now dormant, it has seen a number of major eruptions over the past millenniums, the most recent one being in the year 1645 BC. These eruptions have has a significant impact on the formation of the islands on the top of tectonic plates in this area. Whilst the islands been sinking and rising, and sinking and rising again, these tectonic movements have caused a number of at the time difficult to grasp changes to the environment and people’s lives. This is where the mythological stories begin.
Because of the tragic rising and sinking of the islands, it is believed that Santorini is in fact the legendary Atlantis. The Minoan civilization which used to live on the islands prior to the most recent eruptions was swept of the island by massive tsunami-like waves, the islands sank and here you go – the Atlantis was born. Other stories from the Greek mythology include the rage of Poseidon being in fact massive sea waves created by the volcanic eruptions and even the 10 plagues of Egypt being the aftermath of tectonic movements underneath the Volcano.
Whilst pondering about these amazing stories you can be climbing up on the Volcano yourself to experience the real deal. Just about everywhere in Santorini you can book a day (or even just a morning) trip to the Volcano – including a boat trip on the caldera, swimming in the volcanic springs and visiting the other inhabited island in the Santorini archipelago called Thirassia. The Volcano is just a massive pile of rocks and I can see why many people get rather disappointed by this. At the same time you have to realize that because of the dormant magmatic chambers just underneath the ground of the volcano you feet will be burning even through the soles of your flip flops, you will see sulphuric streams coming out of the cracks in the boulders around you and the sea will have an acidic green tinge to it. Which is, let’s be honest, pretty awesome.
Have you ever been on the top of a volcano before?