Santorini also known as Thera (Thira) is a astonishing Isle situated in the southern Aegean Sea. Nowadays Santorini is actually what’s left of an gigantic volcanic blast one of the largest in planet history, which wipe out the initial colony of the ones united Isle. This particular blast formed the today geological caldera. Santorini caldera is a huge central lake with approximately rectangular shape surrounded by toll vertical cliffs on three sides. On the last fourth side, the pond is estranged from the sea by an extra tiny island named Therasia.
During excavation in 1967 at Akrotiri the Professor Spyridon Marinatos exposed to the world the Thera which is the second known, outside of Crete, “Minoan” culture. However the Isle was named differently at those times. According to S. Marinators only the southern tip of a large town has been uncovered, but the findings were fascinating: many complexes of multi-level buildings, streets, and squares which are show the advance technology of this civilization. The truth is that the discovered site was not equal in complexity with the one founded in Crete, but they have many in common and especially in fabulous masonry and fine wall-paintings. The remains signify that the so called Bronze Age which is dated between 3000 to 2000 BC, reached its peak in the period 2000 to 1580 BC.
The first signs of human settlement are dated at Late Neolithic era, however it is acknowledged that in the 2000–1650 BC the Akrotiri became one of the Aegean’s main Bronze Age ports. This hypothesis is based on the recovered objects that had come, from Crete, Anatolia, Cyprus, Syria, and Egypt as well as from the Dodecanese and the Greek mainland. Santorini remained unoccupied during the rest of the Bronze Age, although the Greeks conquered the Crete.
The Minoan volcano blast is often used by archeologist as a base point for the chronology of the second millennium BC in the Aegean. The eruption occurred during the “Late Minoan IA” period at Crete and the “Late Cycladic I” period in the surrounding islands. An archaeological finding dates the eruption to around 1500 BC. These dates, however, conflict with Radiocarbon dating which indicates that the eruption occurred about 1645–1600 BC. Around the time of the radiocarbon-indicated date of the eruption, there is evidence for a significant climatic event in the Northern Hemisphere. The evidence includes failure of crops in China, as well as evidence from tree rings.
Akrotiri included huge variety of structures, some amongst them three storey high. The amazing architecture of the streets, squares, and walls were preserved in the layers of ejecta, sometimes as tall as eight metres, and indicating this was a major town. Numerous of Akrotiri houses had stone staircases which remained till today intact, and they contain enormous ceramic storage jars (pithoi), mills, and pottery. The archaeological remains founded in Akrotiri included wall paintings or frescoes, which have retained their unique color, as they were conserved below many meters of volcanic ash. It is worth to mention that this town had a very sophisticated sewer system which along with eclectic artwork make scientist to believe that the citizens were superior and prosperous people.
Plumbing with running water and water closets discovered at Akrotiri are the oldest discovered ever. The pipes run in double systems, suggesting that the Therans utilized both hot and cold water supplies. The hot water most likely come from geothermic sources, due to the volcano’s closeness. The twin pipe system indicating hot and cold running water, the superior architecture, and the obvious layout of the Akrotiri find mimic Plato’s outline of the famous lost city of Atlantis, additional suggesting the Minoans as the traditions which largely influenced the Atlantis legend.
The well preserved ruins of the ancient town often are compared to the spectacular ruins at Pompeii in Italy. The canopy covering the ruins collapsed in an accident in September 2005, killing one tourist and injuring seven more. The site remains closed while a new canopy is being built. The Akrotiri wall-paintings strangely were not affected by religion or mythology which was very common in Classical Greek décor. Rather, the Minoan frescoes were showing the Saffron-Gatherers, who offer their crocus-stamens to a seated lady, probably a goddess. The Theran’s warship the Crocus which proved to have great medicinal values but the most of all for the relief of menstrual pain.
After the catastrophes of 1200 BC, finally Phoenicians established a site on Thera. According to Herodotus the Phoenicians named the island Callista and thrived there for eight generations. Later on, in the 9th century BC, Dorians built the main Greek city – on Mesa Vouno, at the highest point of 396 m above sea level. Dorians soon after stated that the name of the city and finally of the whole island come after their chief, Theras. The Dorians have left numerous inscriptions incised in stone, in the location of the temple of Apollo. Nowadays, that city is known as Ancient Thera. Again, based on transcriptions of Herodotus, following a drought of seven years, Thera sent out colonists who established numerous of cities in northern Africa, including Cyrene.
During the 5th century BC, Dorian Thera for some reasons did not enroll in the Delian League with Athens; and during the Peloponnesian War, Thera sided with Dorian Sparta, against Athens. The Athenians took the island in the course of the war, but lost it again after the Battle of Aegospotami. Throughout the hellenistic period, the Isle was a significant naval base for the Ptolemaic Egypt.
Eventually, Thera was ruled by the Romans as with other Greek territories. It was the part of the eastern side of the Empire when it split to the Byzantine Empire.
In accordance to George Cedrenus, the volcano blasted during the summer of 727, the 10th year of the reign of Leo III the Isaurian.
In the course of the Crusades, the “Franks” settled it, while in the 13th century AD, the Venetians annexed the island to the Duchy of Naxos and renamed it “Santorini”, that is “Saint Irene”. Santorini came under Ottoman rule in 1579.
Eventually Santorini became independent from Ottoman rule in 1821, while in the Greek War of Independence and was united with Greece in 1830 under the Treaty of London.
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