Santorini (Greek: Σαντορίνη, pronounced [sandoˈrini]), officially Thira (Greek: Θήρα [ˈθira]) and classic Greek Thera (English pronunciation /ˈθɪərə/), is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast from the Greek mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago, which bears the same name and is the remnant of a caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 (28 sq mi) and a 2011 census population of 15,550. The municipality of Santorini includes the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia, as well as the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2 (34.990 sq mi). Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit.
The island was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred about 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep.
It is the most active volcanic centre in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, though what remains today is chiefly a water-filled caldera. The volcanic arc is approximately 500 km (300 mi) long and 20 to 40 km (12 to 25 mi) wide. The region first became volcanically active around 3–4 million years ago, though volcanism on Thera began around 2 million years ago with the extrusion of dacitic lavas from vents around Akrotiri.
The expansion of tourism in recent years has resulted in the growth of the economy and population. Santorini was ranked the world’s top island by many magazines and travel sites, including the Travel+Leisure Magazine, the BBC, as well as the US News. An estimated 2 million tourists visit annually.
The island’s pumice quarries have been closed since 1986, in order to preserve the caldera. In 2007, the cruise ship MS Sea Diamond ran aground and sank inside the caldera. As of 2019, Santorini is a particular draw for Asian couples who come to Santorini to have pre-wedding photos taken against the backdrop of the island’s landscape.