Santorini was united with Greece in 1912. Its major settlements include Fira (Phira), Oia, Emporio, Kamari, Imerovigli, Pyrgos, and Therasia, and Akrotiri is a major archaeological site with ruins from the Minoan era. The island has no rivers and water is scarce; until the early 1990s locals filled water cisterns from the rain that fell on roofs and courts, from small springs, and with imported assistance from other areas of Greece. In recent years a desalination plant has provided running, yet non-potable, water to most houses. The island’s pumice quarries have been closed since 1986, in order to preserve the caldera, while it remains the home of a small, but flourishing, wine industry, based on the indigenous grape variety, Assyrtiko; vines of the Assyrtiko variety are extremely old and prove resistant to phylloxera, attributed by local winemakers to the well-drained volcanic soil and its chemistry, and the soil needed no replacement during the great phylloxera epidemic of the early 20th century. In their adaptation to their habitat, such vines are planted far apart, as their principal source of moisture is dew, and they often are trained in the shape of low-spiralling baskets, with the grapes hanging inside to protect them from the winds. Also unique to the island is the red, sweet, and extremely strong Vinsanto; white wines from the island are extremely dry with a strong, citrus scent, and the ashy volcanic soil gives the white wines a slightly sulphurous flavour much like Vinsanto. It is not easy to be a winegrower in Santorini; the hot and dry climatological conditions give the soil a low productivity. The yield per acre is only 10 to 20% of the yields that are common in France and California. The island’s primary industry is tourism, particularly in the summer months.
The capital is Thira. Santorini is 63 miles from the island of Crete. The total population is 13,600