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Santorini

The island of Santorini is among the most beautiful islands on the European continent. Its unique and breathtaking geological features, as well as its rich history and cultural heritage, draws in crowds from all over the world. Santorini is one of the most important tourist destinations, not only in Greece but also in Europe.

Santorini is located in southern Aegean Sea. It is a territory that belongs to Greece, and it is the southernmost part of what is known as the Cyclades islands. The island of Santorini lies to the southeast of mainland Greece and north of Crete.

Santorini is a part of a five islands complex. The biggest island is Santorini or Thera, followed by Thirasia, Nea Kameni (New Kameni) and Palea Kameni (Old Kameni). Palea and Nea Kameni are volcanic islands and they are uninhabited.

These islands give life to the saying that disaster can lead to beauty. The works left behind by ancient Greeks like Herodotus give proof that Santorini was once a single, circular island known as Strongyle or Stroggili (The Round One). The area, however, was prone to seismic activity and experiences volcanic eruptions that change the landscape every few thousands of years.

The largest and the most devastating volcanic eruption that made the islands the way they are today happened in 1500 BC. The eruption caused the dome of the volcano in the middle of the island to sink, leading to the creation of the present-day caldera of Santorini. Because of the eruption, what once was a single island was broken into fragments. The remnants of the volcano can be seen in Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni, which is the more recently created island of the Aegean sea.

The volcanic eruption that changed Santorini is recorded in history as the Minoan eruption. Archaeological experts claim that this volcanic eruption also led to the destruction of the ancient Minoan civilisation, whose centre is the palace of Knossos in nearby Crete.

Despite this geologic disaster that fell upon Santorini, this disaster left behind a group of islands that is utterly beautiful and breathtaking. Santorini enjoys the unique status of having the only caldera in the world that is part of the sea. The coastline of the island is blessed with gorgeous beaches and the waters lapping up the coastline are warm and streaked with various colours. A boat ride across the caldera can take a visitor close to the volcano that created Santorini.

Indeed, Santorini is just like a diamond, borne of extreme pressure and hardship.