SANTORINI



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Santorini - Fira, The Kameni Islets and the north of the islandFira/Chora: northern sector & old Archaeological Museum - Old Archaeological Museum

Fira/Chora: northern sector & Old Archaeological Museum
A short climb from the centre, following the main pedestrian street, brings you to the (Old) Archaeological Museum (open daily 8.30–3, except Mon), close to the cable car terminal. Although there are some prehistoric finds on show, the collection principally exhibits objects of the historic periods from around the island.

   The entrance area displays those prehistoric finds from Akrotiri which were made between 1899 and 1908, with their characteristic clear and open, decorative designs: a fine Middle Cycladic pithos with lily-design stands opposite the entrance, beside two others with abstract designs. By comparison with them, the designs on the objects from the Late Geometric period, and 8th and 7th centuries bc, in the first main gallery (to the left), are tight and methodical, lacking the spontaneity and fluidity of their Bronze Age predecessors: it is instructive to see the two epochs juxtaposed here. The many examples of slip-painted, large burial amphora exhibited along the walls of the gallery, which were produced locally on the island, are decorated with particularly fine geometric designs nonetheless.One exceptional pithos (at the left end), dating from c. 675 bc and of typical Cycladic design, has an embossed, relief decoration, depicting (on the neck of the vase) a swan preening its tail-feathers, and below, winged horses drawing chariots. The centrepiece of the collection of artefacts which come from the cemeteries of Ancient Thera (see p. 55), is the clay figurine of a mourning woman- of Daedalic style (no. 392, in a case on its own, immediately on the left on entering), dating from the late 7th century bc. It has survived intact, with the colours and features excellently preserved: it is decorated only on the front face. The gesture of the hands raised to the head expresses lamentation. The several fragmentary and eroded kouroi in the room, which have often vigorous modelling of the hair, show how in the 7th century bc artistic creativity was at its most powerful in the plastic arts of carving and modelling. These kouroi would have stood, larger than life, as grave-markers.
   In the second gallery (to the right), the central case dis plays some very fine, late 6th-century bc, ceramic-ware imported from Attica: a black-figure kylix, exquisitely decorated with ships around the rim, and mythical and battle scenes, designed with a perfect overall balance of intricate figures and empty space. The piece is inscribed with the name of its owner on the outer rim. next to it a vase unusually depicts horses, both in profile, and viewed front-on. The last case displays votive and funerary offerings, including many zoomorphic vases and perfume-jars in the forms of dolphins, ducks and doves. The collection concludes with a number of marble Hellenistic busts and heads from the public spaces of Ancient Thera.


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


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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