Santorini is one of those barren, yet beautifully alluring places where the sky, land and sea connect. Viewed from above this island is a broken and barren ring about ten miles in diameter. It was not always this way. The circular shape is because the island is a caldera, the remnant of a not-so-ancient volcano. The most recent explosion for his one was about four thousand years ago.
In the time before the eruption, a broad volcanic peak rose thousands of feet above the deep green Mediterranean waters. Before the eruption, heat from the magma trapped beneath the island generated high humidity and very different weather patterns for the entire region. The volcano’s sloping sides were a patchwork of verdant fields, connected by fast flowing streams, hot springs and lakes. Great mineral wealth lay within the deep fractures of the mountain’s igneous bedrock. In conjunction with nearby Crete, this was the heart of a maritime empire, a crossroads between Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
This was the sea ruled by Minos and the culture which attracted artisans and alchemists from neighboring lands, including an architect named Daedalus. According to legend he built the first dance floor, and then a complex labyrinth beneath the palace of his benefactor, Minos, to house a half-man, half bull . . . for an Athenian warrior/prince named Theseus to one-day slay. But Daedalus’ life’s work, his masterpiece was to design and build something akin to a modern day hang glider and to use his invention to flee the island of Crete and fly to freedom, together with his son, Icarus.
They are the archetypal father and son. Their story has been a continuing source of awe and inspiration for artists, musicians, and audiences ever since.