Saturday, 8 October 2016

Santorini - Thera

Santorini, classically Thera, is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece's mainland. It is the remnant of a volcanic caldera.

The eruption of Thera was a major catastrophic eruption which is estimated to have occurred some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. It was the largest volcanic event on Earth in recorded history. The eruption devastated the island of Thera, including the Minoan settlement at Akrotiri.
The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep and may have led to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete. There is some evidence that the myth of Atlantis, described by Plato, is based upon the Santorini eruption.

Excavations starting in 1967 at Akrotiri made Thera the best-known Minoan site outside of Crete. Only the southern tip of a large town has been uncovered, yet it has revealed complexes of multi-level buildings, streets, and squares with remains of walls standing as high as eight metres, all entombed in the solidified ash.

Pipes with running water and water closets found at Akrotiri are the oldest such utilities discovered. The advanced architecture, and the apparent layout of Akrotiri resemble Plato's description of the legendary lost city of Atlantis.
In 2015 a team of marine archaeologists discovered 39 ingots scattered across the sea floor near a 2,600-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Sicily. The ingots were made from orichalcum, a rare cast metal which ancient Greek philosopher Plato wrote was from the legendary city of Atlantis.

X-ray fluorescence analysis indicate the ingots were made from a mixture of zinc (15-20 per cent), charcoal and copper (75-80 per cent) with traces of nickel, lead and iron. Scholars suggest that orichalcum is a brass-like alloy, which was made in antiquity through the process of cementation, which was achieved through the reaction of zinc ore, charcoal and copper metal in a crucible.
Today tourism drives growth of the economy and population. Major settlements include Fira (Phira), Oia, Emporio, Kamari, Perissa, Imerovigli, Pyrgos, and Therasia.

In 2007, the cruise ship MS Sea Diamond ran aground and sank inside the caldera. Santorini is ranked as one of the world's top destination islands by many magazines and travel sites.