Renting a car we set about exploring the island for the day.  The main destination was the ancient Minoan ruins of Akrotiri located on the southern end of the island.  Santorini’s current geological shape came into being in 1628 BC when the entire center of the island blew up in a volcanic eruption, forming the caldera we see today.

The city of Akrotiri was buried in ash, leaving itself in excellent condition, just like Pompeii, but ~1700 years older.  Though a small town (the main square is pictured above), the site of Akrotiri was inhabited for many centuries before the eruption, serving as an important seafaring trading post.  No evidence of bodies has been found and so the current theory is the people of Akrotiri got out while the getting was good.

The dating of the eruption has very recently been moved back about 100 years to 1628 which has caused a fairly severe disruption in the accepted history of the Minoan civilization, especially on Crete.  Previously it was thought the eruption was likely to coincide with the Minoan palace destructions on Crete that took place at the height of its civilization.  No more.  Other reasons must be found.

After our explorations we made our way back to Oia for a swim at what became our favorite spot and took in the sunset.