SANTORINI



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Santorini - The South of the Island - Emboreio, Perissa and Vlychada

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Emboreio, Perissa and Vlychada
As soon as the road south from Chora crosses the ridge above the new port of Athinios, the south of the island spreads out below; a patchwork of fields which are stippled with a pointillism of green against a pale background. These are the vine yards of Santorini, which are unique in their method of cultivation: each green dot is an individual vine, which is never husbanded in order to create the usual contiguous lines stand above the ground, but is instead wound round and round upon itself, and kept as low as possible to the ground so as to remain undamaged by the strong winds. Santorini had no particular tradition of viticulture in antiquity that we know of, but since the 16th century has produced wine on a large scale.
   Five kilometres from Chora the road reaches Megalochori (5km), the centre of the island’s wine production. It is a pleas ant village, relatively unvisited, with several fine neoclassical mansions. From the village centre a path leads (southwest, past the Hotel Artemis) to Thermi, a point far below on the shore of the caldera where there are natural hot springs. The path here gains the rim of the caldera, descends past the church of Aghios Nikolaos, cut into the cliff, and eventually arrives at a building made of a series of vaulted chambers. Down the steps beyond, at the shore, the springs rise in a small improvised cabin at c. 35Β°C.

   Beyond Megalochori, the road turns east and heads for the south coast at Peri­ssa. To the left-hand side of the road, level with the village boundary sign of Emboreio, is the curious chapel of Aghios Nikolaos Marmaritis- (key held in the adjacent house), which is in effect an exceptionally well preserved marble shrine or temple of the 3rd century bc, dedicated, according to an inscription still in situ, to the goddess Basi­leia. This is an unusual place to find such a building; its size suggests that it may have functioned also as a family tomb.
   The beautifully cut and laid, silver-grey limestone slabs of the walls have been partially cemented and re-pointed, but otherwise the building is a whole, ancient structure, complete with its marble roof supported by the original monolithic stone beams. The dimensions are diminutive (4.20m by 3.60m), with a dignified door frame in the south wall, and a small aedicule or niche on the inside of the north wall, framed by carved Ionic pilasters and a Doric entablature and pediment. The dedicatory inscription is engraved below. Basi­leia is a curious divinity, whose cult is associated with that of Cybele, the Phrygian mother goddess: she was the daughter of Uranus and Titaia, she married Hyperion (her broth er), and was mother to Selene and Helios. Her cult became popular in the Hellenistic period which was characterised by a restless search for new and ambiguous divinities, many of foreign origin.
   Visible on the hill east of Aghios Nikolaos Marmaritis are the ruins of a four-square, Venetian pyrgos, known as a ‘Goulas’ (from the Turkish kule, a tower). The design, which would suggest a construction date of the late 16th century, is similar to those found on naxos, except that here, the heavy buttressing in the form of a pronounced talus is strongly reminiscent of the Monastery of St John on Patmos and of its dependency on Naxos , the Monastery of Christos Fotodoti. The connection is further emphasised by the tradition that the tower had a chapel in side dedicated to the Blessed Christodoulos who founded St John on Patmos, and that it was at one time inhabited by Patmian monks. It was built as a fortified residence probably by the Venetian, d’Argenta family.

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Santorini Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.


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access

Santorini Island, Greece.

By air: Santorini is wellconnected with four daily flights to Athens with both Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines, and three to Thessaloniki with Aegean. Aegean also operates a once-weekly direct flight to and from Milan and Rome, from July to September. The airport takes large aircraft, and is four and a half kilometres from Chora.
By boat: At Santorini the (new) ferry port (Athiniós) is seven and a half kilometres from Chora. There are generally two or three daily boat connections to Piraeus, taking nine hours by car-ferry and five hours by high-speed vessel; most stop at Paros and/or Naxos en route.
There are links to Anaphi, Folegandros, Sikinos and Ios , and with Crete, five or six times weekly (these drop to twice-weekly in the winter).
There are direct links to Milos twice-weekly throughout the year.
Boats for Therasia leave from the port of Oia at Amoudi (12 km from Chora), daily at 8 am and midday, to Riva. A connecting local bus to Potamos and Manolas (Chora) – 10 mins. Sometimes the boat route includes Korfos harbour, directly below Manolas, in addition to Riva

Santorini Travel Guide

eating

Santorini Island, Greece.

Between the twin traps of the expensively pretentious and the indifferently touristic, there are still a few good places to eat on Santorini.
Ta Delphinia the water’s edge in the Bay of Akrotiri is a family run fish-taverna, which largely serves its own catch of fish accompanied by its own local wine (from March to August), and an array of traditional mezés, which include a delicious Santorinian fava and tomatokeftedes. The taverna Aktaion (often known as ‘Roussos’) at the very beginning of Firostefáni (as you arrive by foot from Chora), though small, serves local food, including a good prassopitta – a pie made with mixed greens and leeks.
50m north of it, is the best and most genuine Italian eatery in the Aegean (run by Italians), called Il Cantuccio. For a more highly-wrought cuisine, still based on Greek ingredients, Selene at the southern extremity of Chora offers peace and a beautiful view in addition to some interesting dishes.
Franco’s Bar in Chora merits mention as a historic institution: one of the first bars of the 1970’s on Santorini, it still serves (expensive, but wellprepared) cocktails to the accompaniment of classical music, in front of one of the most dramatic sunsets in Europe.
On Therasia, Taverna Panorama in Manolas, at the top of the steps from the harbour of Korfos, has an excellent view, passable food, but wayward prices.

Santorini Travel Guide

further reading

Santorini Island, Greece.

Ferdinand Fouqué, whose book Santorini et Ses Eruptions was first published in French in 1879, and reissued in an English translation by Alexander McBirney in 1999 by Johns Hopkins university Press, is the first comprehensive study of the island’s geology and volcanic history. J.V. Luce, The End of Atlantis (first published by Thames & Hudson, London, 1969; reprinted by Efstathiadis & Sons, Athens, 1982) is indebted to Fouqué, but follows the theme of Plato’s legend of Atlantis and its relation to Santorini. Nanno Marinatos, in Art & Religion in Thera: Reconstructing a Bronze Age Society (Athens, 1984) lays out a clear and cogent explanation of the paintings from Akrotiri. The Wall Paintings of Thera (Athens, 1992) by Christos Doumas,the current head of excavations at Akrotiri, is also authoritative and clear on the subject – as are all his many excellent articles and writings on Theran matters. For the lat est debate on the dating of the eruption of Thera, see: Acts of the Minoan Eruption Chronology Workshop in Sandjberg, Denmark in november 2007, published by the Danish Institute in Athens in 2009 as Time’s Up! Dating the Minoan Eruption of Santorini.

Santorini Travel Guide

lodging

Santorini Island, Greece.

On Santorini, the Kavalari Hotel (T.22860 22347, fax 22603, www.kavalari.com) is one of the older hotels on the island, centrally placed, with magnificent views, created from traditional Santorinian houses cut into the native lava at the top of the cliff above the caldera. It is simple, friendly, unpretentious, and beautiful: there is no elevator, however, and the rooms are reached down precipitous flights of steps.
For greater ease of access (also near the Metropolitan Church) is the Theoxenia Hotel (T.22860 22740, fax 22950, www.theoxenia.net): panoramic and very pleasant, with a good breakfast served in the rooms. The island’s oldest hotel, the Atlantis (T.22860 22111, fax 22821, www.atlantishotel. gr) is practical, straightforward, welcoming and superbly sited; it is one of Santorini: practical informati on 97 the few hotels open all year round.
The Aressana Hotel (T.22860 22860, fax 23902, www.aressana.gr), opposite the Atlantis, is also comfortably appointed and convenient. On one of the highest points of the cliff, with views directly over the caldera, Anteliz Apartments Hotel (T.22860 28842, fax 28843, www. anteliz.gr) is modern and attractive, with spacious rooms and a pool. For ‘boutique chic’, Homeric Poems (T.22860 24661, fax 24660; www.homericpoems. gr) offers a luxurious and rarified atmosphere.Oia is generally more tranquil than Chora; it also has the most delightful place to stay on the island – Chelidonia Villas (T.22860 71827, fax 71649, www. chelidonia.com),which combines simplicity with good taste, friendliness and a perfect position (T.22860 71827, fax 71649, www. chelidonia.com), which combines simplicity with good taste, friendliness and a perfect position. On Therasia there are rooms to rent at Zacharo, just above Manolas to the south, T.22860 29102.

Santorini Travel Guide

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