Santorini 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. The island was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption, which occurred about 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization.
The traditional architecture of Santorini is similar to that of the other Cyclades, with low-lying cubical houses, made of local stone and whitewashed or limewashed with various volcanic ashes used as colours. These colors, in recent years, tend to replace white in the color of house facades, according to the traditional architecture of the island as it was developed until the great earthquake of 1956. The unique characteristic is the common utilisation of the hypóskapha: extensions of houses dug sideways or downwards into the surrounding pumice.