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Countries shown in this late winter satellite image of the southern Balkan Peninsula include Italy (left center edge), Greece (below center), and Turkey (right edge). At upper right is the Black Sea, at center is the Aegean Sea, at upper left is the Adriatic Sea, and at bottom left is the Mediterranean Sea. North of Turkey are Bulgaria and Romania. Moving clockwise from top left are Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, and Albania. North of Albania is Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Scattered fires appear as red dots. Image courtesy of NASA.
This northwest-looking photo displays the rugged, mountainous landscape of Greece. Two major landform regions are captured in the photo - the northwest-southeast-trending Pindus Mtns. in central Greece north of the Gulf of Corinth and the Peloponnese Peninsula south of the Gulf (center of the photo). This rugged terrain caused the Greeks to become a seafaring people, second only to the Norwegians in Europe. The capital of Athens (lighter area) is barely discernible along the southern edge of the broad peninsula near the eastern edge of the photograph. Image courtesy of NASA.
This image includes many of the islands of the East Aegean as well as part of mainland Turkey. The largest modern city in the Aegean coast is Izmir, Turkey, situated about one quarter of the image length from the top. The city is the bright coastal area near the greenish waters of Izmir Bay and southeast of the roughly triangular-shaped island of Lesvos. The lengthy island at the bottom of the photo is Crete. North of Crete, the small broken ring of islands are the remnants of the collapsed caldera of Santorini Volcano. Image courtesy of NASA.
The islands in this photo - located approximately 120 km (75 mi) north of Crete in the Aegean Sea - are arranged in an oval shape. They are all that remains of what was once a large, circular volcano. The largest island in the ring is the tourist mecca of Santorini (also known as Thera), while the other islands are Thirasia and Aspronisi. The three pieces are what remains after an enormous eruption destroyed most of a volcanic island. Water from the Aegean Sea rushed in to fill the void, forming the central, 12 km-long (7.5 mi) lagoon.

The lagoon is surrounded by high, steep cliffs on three sides. Several towns occupy the top of these impressive, near-vertical cliffs (roughly 300 m or 1,000 ft), appearing as white stipple patterns. Santorini is one of the most famous tourist islands on Earth. Ships arrive at the bottom of the cliffs near the town of Fira. Tourists then climb a switchback road up the cliffs to the town - a classic Greek village on a cliff face looking out into the great lagoon.

The caldera explosion that made this lagoon is one of the largest known to geologists. An estimated 100 cu km of material blew out of the volcano, four times as much as the well-recorded eruption by Krakatoa in 1883. Santorini has been designated a “Decade Volcano” because it poses more than one volcanic hazard to people living near it. The date of the Santorini explosion has been carefully researched and is now known to have taken place between 1600 and 1627 B.C. Archaeological excavations at the town of Akrotiri are revealing exciting remains of a Minoan-age town with streets, three-story houses, and frescoes well preserved under ash layers, much like those preserved at Pompeii.

Since the volcano is still active, the central peak has grown and then erupted repeatedly. Nea Kameni is the most recent peak of the underwater volcano to appear above water (popping up in 1707). There have been three eruptions in the 20th century alone. Image courtesy of NASA.
Mount Olympus is featured in this photo from the International Space Station. Mount Olympus is the highest peak (2,917 m) in Greece, as well as the mountain chain that runs north into Bulgaria and south, via the Cyclades Islands, into Turkey. In this winter view, Olympus is the only peak with a dusting of snow. The slopes of the peaks of Olympus and its neighboring peaks drop sheer into the Thermaikos Gulf, a northern arm of the Aegean Sea. White cirrus clouds obscure the shoreline near the city of Thessaloniki. This major port is spread along the shores of a small and well-protected bay at the north end of the gulf. Image courtesy of NASA.
The Parthenon crowns the Acropolis in Athens. The Acropolis is a citadel on a flat, high, rocky outcrop 150 m (490 ft) above sea level and is the highest point in Athens. It preserves a number of ancient structures.
Close up of the front of the Parthenon - the temple to ancient Athens' patron deity, Athena.
Another view of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens. Built in the 5th century B.C., it is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece.
The Parthenon in Athens undergoing restoration.
Sculpted processional riders from the marble frieze of the Parthenon.
View of the rear of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens. The temple, dedicated to the goddess Athena, was built between 447 and 438 B.C. The Acropolis is a citadel on a flat, high, rocky outcrop 150 m (490 ft) above sea level and is the highest point in Athens. It preserves a number of ancient structures.
A view from the south of the Erechtheum temple on the Acropolis in Athens.
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