Skaros: sad story, sensational sunset.

Flying around the world aplenty as I have a habit of doing, I find that – year after year, no matter where, and practically all the time – I come across all sorts of interesting stories about mankind. Sometimes they’re merry stories, but more often than not they’re sad. Why is that? I think it’s simply because throughout the whole history of humanity any upswing ended eventually turned in a downswing (or worse) – sometimes time and time again. But not only do upswings end in downswings; generally, sooner or later, all stories do.

So why all the negativity, you may ask. Well, I’ve just read the story of the ancient settlement-in-rock, Skaros, on the Aegean island of Santorini (where we’re helping out with the archeological digs). This rocky outcrop is part of an ancient ruined volcano – on the edge of the caldera. I’ve seen it many times, taken many a pic of it, and climbed up to its peak. But this here story I’ve only just heard.

Here’s Skaros:

And here are the views from it in good weather conditions:

On its outer sea-facing side – a small church:

The view from the other side:

Ok, but back to the sad story…

The volcano formed some 70,000 years ago (around the same time as when the Indonesian volcano Toba erupted and almost killed humanity off). In the early 13th century, Constantinople built on the rock a fortress. Later the Venetians arrived, then the Turks… but that doesn’t matter. In the 14th century there were around 200 houses on the rock, with several thousand folks living in them. All was well – until the mid-17th century the whole area started to shake, then shook violently, and the whole town came crashing down into the water of the caldera.

In 1207 it was built; in the mid-1800s there was nothing left. Only the pre-existing rock underneath remained, besides a few remnant ruins of the town. And nature didn’t blink once. Indifferent, disinterested, cold-hearted nature!

At least I had the sunset to cheer me up:

Actually, Santorini itself cheered me up too – just look at the place: serenely beautiful. Must-see. Or must-return, as is the case with me.

And in the middle of the caldera – a new volcano is growing. Btw, the caldera was formed after the Minoan eruption eons ago. It devastated Santorini and the whole Minoan civilization that lived there. This baby volcano started to peep its nose out of the sea in the 1500s. It occasionally emits steam and – once or twice every century – even lava. And sooner or later it’s going to blow its top once again good and proper. Eek.

That’s all from Santorini folks. Back soon!…

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