The Abandoned Party Island: Santorini
Santorini Travel Blog› entry 6 of 8 › view all entries
Santorini's Troubled Past What better place for a party place than an island created by one of the world's most powerful volcanic eruptions?
Santorini was formed into its present crescent shape during the Minoan era (approximately 1450 BC) when the volcano on which it sits erupted. The center of the island sunk into the sea (the crater or caldera), changing Santorini from a circular volcano into a cluster of islands with Santorini as the main island. The eruption was so powerful that it exterminated all of the life on the island and produced a tidal wave approximately 820 feet (250 m) high, which traveled at a spead of 217 miles per hour (350 kph), and claimed the lives of the entire Minoan civilization on the island of Crete.
The last major earthquake in Santorini was in 1956. That earthquake devastated Fira, the island's capital with about 2,000 residents located 890 feet (270 m) above the ocean in the middle of the island. The residents rebuilt Fira, however, creating the beautiful white-washed homes and blue-domed churches which now cover the volcanic cliffs.
Abandoned? Okay, well the island wasn't "abandoned" when I was there, it just looked like I had arrived at the morning after the big blowout. Hillside bars and cafes had chairs on their sides with empty glasses and bottles on the ground, and the island was so quiet. I felt like I had arrived off my party boat only to find that the party island was closed for the season.
First Impressions As a side note, I have to admit that when the ship first pulled into the caldera and started tendering passengers, I looked up the cliffs at Fira and thought -- this place looks like that crazy alien bar located on Tatooine in the Star Wars movie is roosted somewhere on the top of that hill... And then I rememberd that Santorini is party-til-ya-drop paradise with beautiful sunsets and I pushed the alien-infested bar in the desert out of my mind.
Getting from Skala to Fira There are essentially two ways to get to Fira from Skala -- either by cable car or by trail.