Numerous books and articles have been written about Santorini’s volcano. It is one of the world’s most intensively researched volcanoes, as well as one of the world’s most intriguing enigmas. Together with the small islands Therasia, Palaia and Nea Kameni, Aspronisi and Christiana, Santorini forms an archipelago, dominated by the large, water-filled crater of the Thera volcano. Towards the northwest, about twenty submarine volcanic cones form a row, of which the Kolumbo crater is the most active today. However, the most devastating eruption of the volcano’s two million year existence, sometimes also referred to as the Minoan eruption, took place during the Late Cycladic I period (17th century B.C.). It destroyed a flourishing settlement on the island and has been consideredin the past by some researchers as a possible cause of the downfall of the entire Minoan civilization, as an enormous tsunami and climatological change may have had great impact on the economy of Minoan Crete. Some people believe that the myth of the sunken island of Atlantis, mentioned by Plato in his dialogues Timaeusand Critias, was inspired by the Thira eruption or that Atlantis might even be identified with the island of Santorini itself.
   The volcano is one of Santorini’s most important sight-seeing spots, attracting tourists, scientists and even local inhabitants of the island. On the volcanic islands of Nea Kameni and Palaia Kameni, which are located in the center of the caldera, steam and sulfurous gasses emerge from several spots; these hot springs have therapeutic qualities and their mud is said to nourish and rejuvenate the skin. During the summer months, excursions to Santorini’s famous volcano and hot springs depart from the old harbor of Fira, whose bay you can reach either by descending 588 steps, either by choosing a donkey to carry you, or by using a cable car. Be equipped with comfortable shoes, a hat, a bathing suit and water and choose the time of day when the heat of the sun is less intense, so you can leisurely enjoy the experience of your visit.

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