Nea Kameni - The Volcano, Santorini Island
The present-day funny shape of the island is created by a huge eruption of the ancient supervulcano, which dates back more than three thousand years.
The 30-40 kilometers high eruption cloud was seen from hundreds of kilometers and the thundering noise from the explosions must have been heard in almost the entire world.
The height of the following tsunami reached at least 200 meters. Meters of volcanic debris from the eruption buried one of the most highly developed civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Cycladic civilization creating the myth of lost Atlantis.
It was probably the most terrible natural catastrophe on Earth since the end of the dinosaurs.
According to Plato the Kingdom of Atlantis was formed by ten city-states on a bigger and a smaller island. Plato describes in his work both of them - Metropolis which is probably the island of Strongyli, the present Santorini and Vasiliki Politeia probably the island of Crete.
The activity of the volcano after this major eruption continues into the present. The result of eleven eruptions since 197 BC is two islets of black stone, Palea and Nea Kameni, being the living evidence of the volcanism within the caldera.
Favorite thing: Seeing the volcano close up was really interesting - you don't appreciate just how black the lava is til its staring you in the face, especially the newest part from the 1956 eruption. We saw this from the boat trip. also the strata in the tocks has some amazing colours.
Santorini used to be a round island, but during an earthquake and volcano-outbreak in the 15th century BC the middle of the island sunk and gave it the shape it has today.
The volcano that you can see opposite Fira is still active. The last eruption was in 1956, causing an earthquake that destroyed many villages on the island.
Today you can make a boat excursion to the volcano: walking on the lava and swimming in the hot springs.
The significance of this area is that it is the youngest volcanic landform in the Eastern Mediterranean. NEA KAMENIhas an active volcanic center with its oldest rock formations dating back 430 years and its most recent, a mere 50 years. The landscape has an unearthly natural beauty.
A visit to Nea Kameni was part of the Pirate Ship excursion. Many on board opted to take a walk along the rim of the crater where smoke rises up and the stones are too hot to touch. Remember to bring good walking shoes and a hat to protect you from the sun, if you decide to go here.
The earth on Kammeni (Greek for "Burned") is black volcanic lava stones and it is warm due to continuing underground activity. The island is just the tip of a gigantic underwater volcano, which erupted at about 1500 BC, in what is believed to be the most violent known volcanic eruption on earth, resulting in the collapse of most of Santorini into the sea. It is believed that the smoke and ashes from that eruption reached a height of 36 km above the surface of the earth, and that the prehistoric settlement of Acrotiri, at the southwestern tip of the island was buried under more than 40 meters of ash.
A 20-minute walk up the path from the quay will take you to the edge of the volcano, where it definitely is hot and you can have a panoramic view of Santorini from the west.
Favorite thing: The Volcano or Caldera is one of the favourite attractions of the island. These two small islands from lava called Palia Kameni and Nea Kameni (which mean Burned islands). When you arrived by the boat on the shore of the island of Nea Kameni you must walk about 20 minutes to see the volcano's crater and some holes where some steam come from. After the boat will arrive to Palia Kameni where there are some spring water.
Favorite thing: I normally steer clear or organised tours etc., but there's one by boat out to the centre of the volcano which is worth it. You can hike about on the centre of the volcano which is still steaming, and the boat also stops off in an area of the sea that is heated by sulphur being released below. It's very salty, but you'll come out feeling great.
Favorite thing: An active volcano with steam reaching 80 to 85 degrees Celsius can be seen at the highest point of the island, known as King George I Crater (about 100 meters high). The earth is hot in some areas and the smell of sulphur is very noticeable.
Nea Kameni is the biggest (and newest) of the volcanic islands in the middle of the bay.
The boat stops there for 1 hour, time for you to climb to the top, have a quick view and run down before the boat leaves...
Fondest memory: to go there by ship, seeing the parts of the island which remained after the explosion of the volcano some thousands of years ago, with the volcano in the middle