Traditionally known in Greek as Thira (or Thera in Classic Greek), this island, which is part of a caldera born from a massive volcanic eruption 3600 years ago, didn’t get its more commonly known of Santorini until about eight centuries ago.

Born from a volcanic eruption, Santorini sits atop a Mediterranean caldera, between sky and sea.

Conquered and dominated over the millennia by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, the Latin Empire, Ottomans, and evening Russians, this rugged mass that is charmingly decorated with a collage of whitewashed homes and the three celestial blue domes of Anastasi Church has most recently been conquered by tourists.

When I was last here, finding a singular moment alone to simply breathe the sea air and to contemplate this geological phenomenon and its timeline of human history felt like such a luxury. It is surprising to me that despite the overcrowding that can happen on this island on any given day (Santorini’s population of 15,550 can increase by half when the cruise ships are in town), there is a kind of resilient timelessness that permeates through its rocks, its buildings, its cuisine, and its people.

Watch a sunset from Oia and witness constellations of stars appear and you’ll swear you’re back in Ancient Greece. To feel so connected to the sea, to the land, and to the cosmos all at once, you’ll understand how Santorini has charmed so many for so long.

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