Santorini (Greek: Σαντορίνη) is an archipelago of volcanic islands located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 210 km southeast from Greece’s mainland. It is also known as Thera, forming the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 74 km² (29 mi²) and a 2011 census population of 15,990. It is composed of the Municipality of Thíra (pop. 12,440) and the Community of Oía, lying to the west. These have a total land area of 90.625 km², which also includes the uninhabited islands of Palaia Kameni , Nea Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana.
Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera. Its spectacular physical beauty, along with a dynamic nightlife, have made the island one of Europe’s tourist hotspots.
THERA, or Santorini, has attracted the world’s attention in recent years because of the amazing descoveries of the archaeological excavations. At the south end of the island, near the village of Acrotiri, a whole prehistoric Minoan city has been dug up, complete with its squares, streets and two-storied houses. The excavations began in 1967 and are still going on. So far, archaeologists have uncovered finds that attest to a great civilization that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. What really stands out from among these wonderful discoveries are the unique frescoes. They depict Springtime, Antelopes, Apes, Ladies, a fisherman, and many others, all of which have been painstakingly removed from Santorini and set in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Apart from the ruins, one can also visit Phira, the pretty township of Thera, with its white washed houses and panoramic views from the terraces. Little Kameni, the tiny isle which surfaced in the middle of the bay in 1573 A.D., still has a smouldering volcano in its centre.