By Themis Badas
Santorini is an island located in the southern Aegean Sea, in the Cycladic islands, and is one of the most famous touristic centers in the world.
The name Santorini comes from the passing Frankish Crusaders who, during their passage, stood for refueling near the church of Agia Irini, located in the current area of Perissa behind the Holy Temple of the Holy Cross (called Santa Irina), which existed on the island.
Originally it was believed that this church was the chapel of Saint Irene that existed in Thirasia. Today it is considered more likely to be the magnificent early Christian three-aisled basilica of Agia Irini in Thira, the ruins of which were discovered in 1992.
Before the great volcanic destruction of the prehistoric times, the island was round and was named Strogili, and later acquired the names Kallisti or Kallisto (from the ancient calistis “the most beautiful”), Filisteres or Filotas, Kalavria, Kariste, Théassia, Theramenis as well Rinia.
The later classic name of Thira Island came from the ancient Spartan Thira, who was the first to colonize this island.
In the center of the caldera of Santorini you can find Nea Kameni, a volcanic island, the “volcano” for the locals, which began to be created in 1570 (or 1573), with the initiation of Mikri Kameni.
Nea Kameni is the most recently created land section in the Mediterranean Sea. Its area today is 340 hectares and its highest point is 127 meters above sea level.
The view of Nea Kameni nowadays is unusually spectacular as a part of the volcano is green and stands out in the volcanic black color.
Usually the green side of the volcano is observed in the early days of spring.
Visitors of the island who wish to admire this stunning scenery can take part in daily boat tours made from Mesa Gialos, the old harbor of Fira, to the volcanic islands of Palea and Nea Kameni.
In this boat visitors will initially stop behind Palea Kameni where the hot sulfur springs are located, having the opportunity to swim in the warm waters, which are said to have healing benefits.
Visitors are given the opportunity to enjoy the volcanic scenery of the island on a short walk that ends up in the crater where one can observe the gasses to flow from the depths of the earth and travel for a while back in the prehistoric years and the “creation” of Santorini.
For the more adventurous and athletic, there is the opportunity to enjoy both the Santorini and the volcano scenery, by taking part in the “Santorini Experience” freestyle swimming races that will take place in Santorini for the 5th consecutive year on 4-6 October 2019.
Registration for the “Santorini Experience” opens 10 months before its implementation in order to serve the high demand from abroad in the best possible way.( http://www.santorini-experience.com/)
The swimming route of Santorini Experience will be 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and will be between the volcano and the old port of Fira.
The start will be given in the water at the volcano’s harbor.
Finish will take place at the pier of the old port of Fira in a specially designed shuttle.
Additionally, for those who do not like water sports there are also running races of 5, 10 and 15 km on spectacular routes that pass through the villages of Santorini with a breathtaking view of the caldera and the volcano!
The history and natural scenery of Santorini can satisfy even the most demanding visitor while offering the opportunity for a variety of activities and experiences!
An unforgettable experience awaits everyone in Santorini. Discover it!