Last modified: 2014-10-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: santorini | thira |
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Flag of Thira - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 6 October 2013
The municipality of Thira (15,550 inhabitants in 2011, 9,069 ha) was formed in the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities of Ola (Οία, 3,376 inh.) and Thera. The municipality covers all settlements on the islands of Santorini (Σαντορίνη) and Therasia (Θηρασία) and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni (Νέα Καμένη), Palaia Kameni (Παλαιά Καμένη), Aspronisi (Ασπρονήσι), and Christiana (Χριστιανά).
The island of Santorini is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption, which occurred some 3600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km to the south, through a gigantic tsunami.
Excavations starting in 1967 at the site called Akrotiri have made Thera the best-known Minoan site outside of Crete. The island was not known as Thera at this time. Only the southern tip of a large town has been uncovered, yet it has revealed complexes of multi-level buildings, streets, and squares with remains of walls standing as high as eight metres, all entombed in the solidified ash of the eruption, which is estimated to have occurred in the mid second millennium BC.
Santorini remained unoccupied throughout the rest of the Bronze Age, during which time the Greeks took over Crete. Probably after what is called the Bronze Age collapse, Phoenicians founded a site on Thera. Herodotus reports that they called the island Callista and lived on it for eight generations. In the 9th century BC, Dorians founded the main Hellenic city on Mesa Vouno, 396 m above sea level. This group later claimed that they had named the city and the island after their leader, Theras. Today, that city is referred to as Ancient Thera.
According to Herodotus, following a drought of seven years, Thera sent out colonists who founded a number of cities in northern Africa, including Cyrene. In the 5th century BC, Dorian Thera did not join the Delian League with Athens; and during the Peloponnesian War, Thera sided with Dorian Sparta, against Athens. The Athenians took the island during the war, but lost it again after the Battle of Aegospotami. During the Hellenistic period, the island was a major naval base for the Ptolemaic Egypt.
As with other Greek territories, Thera then was ruled by the Romans. When the Roman Empire was divided, the island passed to the Byzantine Empire. According to George Cedrenus, the volcano erupted again in the summer of 727, the tenth year of the reign of Leo III the Isaurian.
During the Crusades, the Franks annexed the isle to the Duchy of Naxos and renamed it "Santorini", that is "Saint Irene". Santorini came under Ottoman rule in 1579. Santorini became independent from Ottoman rule in 1821, during the Greek War of Independence and was united with Greece in 1830 under the Treaty of London.
In 1956 a major earthquake near Amorgos island resulted in the demolishing of many buildings in the north of Santorini, leading to the desertion of many of its villages.
The expansion of tourism has resulted in the growth of the economy and population. The major settlements include Fira (Phira), Oia, Emporio, Kamari, Perissa, Imerovigli, Pyrgos, and Therasia. Santorini has wery beautiful landscapes and its primary industry is tourism, particularly in the summer months.
Olivier Touzeau, 6 October 2013
The flag of the former municipality of Thira (Kokkonis website) was blue with the municipal emblem, which features the map of the island. The new municipality uses the same emblem, with different colours.
Olivier Touzeau, 6 October 2013
Flag display at Fira and close-up of the emblem - Photos by Eli Gutterman, 2 August 2009
The photo shows thre flags hoisted in the port of Fira: the "Vergina sun" flag (attributed to Greek Macedonia but seen in almost any place in Greece), the European Union flag, and a the flag of Thira Municipal Port Authority. The flag iswhite, bordered blue-green and charged with a Marine emblem. There is an inscription in Greek in a ring around the emblem, reading "Thira Municipal Port Authority" .
Dov Gutterman, André Coutanche & Ivan Sache, 2 August 2009