Santorini Celebrates the 150th Anniverary of 1866 Eruption

The island revisits its explosive birth with cultural events and fireworks


Almost every year Santorini celebrates its destructive origins by paying homage to the volcano which brought it into existence, and organizes a spectacular event: a representation of the explosion through fireworks on the island of Nea Kameni.

This year is the 150th anniversary of the great disaster of 1866. That was when the “sleeping giant” awakened, the sea turned red and volcanic matter was expelled up to 700 meters away, while the fumes caused problems not only for the residents of the island itself but also for those of the nearby Anafi island. The phenomenon turned Europe’s scientific gaze to Santorini and marked it as the significant event being celebrated until today.

As part of this anniversary, a week of events, from September 10-17 is being put on. The events are designed to encompass Santorini’s territory, its dramatic scenery, its impressive architecture, unique wines and magnificent agricultural products, including the famous Santorinian cherry tomatoes. From Fira to Pyrgos, Imerovigli, Oia and Emporio, Greek artists will hold concerts, photographic and art exhibitions and lectures on the volcano.

Of course, 1866 was not the year of Santorini’s birth. That can be traced to the catastrophic Minoan eruption 3,500 years ago which went down in history for its sheer size. Some 30 billion cubic meters of magma were ejected into the air, sinking a large part of the island. Excavations at the settlement of Akrotiri revealed the great civilization that was buried, one of the most advanced in the Mediterranean.


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