The small island's principal town of Fira◹ forms a dense cluster of white dwellings overlooking the Caldera. In the light of a late spring evening, the white shades of the hillside town turn to golden hues.
Santorini has little land that is suitable for cultivation and its people look to the sea and to tourism for their livelihoods.
Crete is a much larger Greek island. Its principal town of Heraklion◹ has been guarded by a Venetian fortress since the sixteenth century.
Far older than the fortress are the fabled ruins of Knossos◹ , a center of Minoan civilization dating to the Bronze Age. Greek mythology associates the sprawling palace with the labyrinth constructed on the order of the legendary King Minos to contain the Minotaur, a bloodthirsty creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull.
Today tourists explore the ruins of the palace where the Athenian hero Theseus is said to have killed the beast. Knossos was abandoned sometime between about 1380 and 1100 BC, possibly due to a series of environmental catastrophes.
Naturally, Crete has more to offer than its antiquities.