Our next port of call is the Cycladic island, Santorini. I’ve been fortunate to go there twice and I still remember how excited I was the first time I went. It was research for my series, Servant of the Gods, but it was so much more. I wanted to see Akrotiri, the Bronze Age city that was buried when the volcano erupted but unfortunately it was closed to the public. I was so disappointed. I had travelled from Australia specially to see it, and I never got to step a foot near the place. I did later hear when I returned to Perth that someone, a tourist, was injured at the site.
I had to settle for checking out various locations on the island, which was great as it allowed me to get a sense of the place, and what it must have been like during the Bronze Age. The whole island is steeped in terraces, some of it still unoccupied. I had visited Perissa Beach, the sand was black and granulated, nothing like the beaches I was used to in West Australia. (Our beaches are way nicer than those in Queensland and New South Wales, and less populated. Just saying 😉)
I also spent hours at the Thira Museum and a little-known museum with amazing artefacts. I got into trouble for taking a photo in that little museum. The sign was in Greek, and well, my Greek is, well non-existent! In any case, it makes the trip to Santorini memorable. I didn’t go for a ride on a donkey, one of their main tourist attractions, instead I walked the zig-zagging path that goes from the harbour to the city. Except I did it the other way around and then took the cable car back to the top. The views were lovely.
A little history: the Minoans, with the exception of pre-Bronze Age peoples, had built settlements on Santorini in the 1700 BCE, the island’s location made it an important trading centre. The Phoenicians had settled there for a time (1200 BCE – 900 BCE), then the Dorians circa 900 BCE (the famed Spartan race) came along after visiting Pythia, and Thira was named after Spartan commander and king, Theras.
Santorini was also known as Kallisti—the beautiful one, and Strogyli—the round one. It was the Venetians who named the island Santorini when they occupied the region, after Saint Irene or Santa Irini around 1200 CE.
In keeping with Evan’s quest, he and his companions go to Thira as instructed by Pythia to search for the sacred relic of the Mother Goddess, however a visit from the ancient goddess reveals there’s more to find.
NB: Nea Kameni, the volcanic island at the centre of the caldera, is still active, and volcanologists are monitoring it. They have predicted when (not if) the volcano erupts, it will be more catastrophic than when it exploded and imploded over 3500 years ago. Even with this knowledge, I will be returning to Santorini so I can finally visit Akrotiri.
Thank you for your continued support and as always, I look forward to your comments and will respond.
Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet.