Santorini Greece

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Sights and attractions in Santorini

Santorini is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands of Greece and gets top billing among the 3 most famous island destinations in Europe. It was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions which affected the whole Aegean sea and even the coasts of Crete. The original name of Santorini was Kallisti, which means the most beautiful, and Strogyli which means round. The inhabitation of the island starts before the 16th century BC, when the Minoans settled on it. Since then Santorini became an important trade centre of the Minoans. The world famous settlement of Akrotiri dates back to the Minoan era. Around 1550 - 1500 B.C. a violent volcanic explosion caused the submergence of the central part of Santorini, creating the Caldera and the 2 smaller islands in the Caldera, Thirasia and Nea Kameni, where the top of the volcano is found. After the Fall of Constantinople, Santorini came under the Venetian rule and by this time the island was named Santorini, after Santa Irini. For the next 6 centuries the island came under the rule of the Duke of Naxos, and the Othomans until it joined the Greek Republic. In 1956, Santrorini suffered another severe volcanic eruption which destroyed completely many of the villages and caused severe problems to the others. However the island managed to rebuild and develop one of the most popular cultural destinations in the world.

Popular sights you should visit during your stay in Santorini.

The volcano

There are everyday cruises to the volcano and the hot springs where guests can swim. Boats to the volcano leave every morning from Athinios port or from Fira's old port and the usual route is climbing the volcano, stoping at the hot springs for swimming, a stop of about 2 hours at Thirasia for swimming or lunch and return Santorini. The cost is about 20 to 25€ according to the route. Children under 12 years old pay a reduced price. If you decide to depart from Fira's old port you can walk down to the port for about 45min on a rough route, or choose between taking the cable car, which run every 15 minutes from 7:30 am to 9:00pm or riding a mule. Both the mule riding and the cable car cost about 3.5€.

Santorini Akrotiri settlement: Akrotiri: tel +302286081366

tickets: Special ticketing package for the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Prehistoric Thira and the Archaeological Sites of Akrotiri and Ancient Thira: € 8 (reduced: € 4).

Akrotiri is located south of Fira, near the village of Akrotiri. It is one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean as the very first habitation dates back to the late Neolithic era. The large extent of the settlement, the elaborate drainage system, the multi-storeyed buildings with the extraordinary wall-paintings, furniture and vessels, show its great development and prosperity. Akrotiri was in contact with other regions such as Crete, the Greek Mainland, the Dodecanese, Cyprus, Syria and Egypt. Severe earthquakes and the volcano explosion which followed signaled the end of the settlement, in the last quarter of the 17th century BC. The volcanic materials which covered the entire island and the town itself have protected up to date the buildings and their contents, just like in Pompei.

Museum of Prehistoric Thira: Fira, tel: +302286023217

The Museum of Prehistoric Thira houses findings from the excavations at Akrtotiri, the earliest excavations at Potamos and rescue excavations at various other sites on the island. The exhibition makes a tour of prehistoric Thira through selected findings.

Thira Archaeological Museum, Fira, tel: +302286022217

Thira Archaeological Musuem was built in 1960 in order to replace the old museum, which was destroyed by the earthquakes in 1956. The main exhibits of the Museum are sculptures ranging from the Archaic to the Roman period, inscriptions ranging from the Archaic to the Roman period and vases and clay figurines, dating from the Geometric to the Hellenistic periods.

Santorini Panagia Episkopi, Mesa Gonia

Byzantine church of the 11th century BC with wonderful wall paintings. The church managed to survive various invasions as well as earthquakes. There is a large feast on August 15th.

George Emanuel Argyros Mansion, Messaria, tel: +302103223100

Operating hours-days: there are daily programms from April to October Tickets: 3€ with a guide. One of the most distinguished recent monuments of Santorini. It combines the traditional architecture of Santorini with elements and influences of eclecticism. The exceptional ceiling paintings and all the upper floor's furniture and utensils are conserved and attended to as in a museum. Visitor can get familiarized with the residence of 19th century landowner of Santorini. The ground-floor serves as a five star hostel while there are guided tours for the public on the upper floor. By a ministerial decree of 1985, the building was identified as a work of art encircled by a 50 meters protection zone. additional phone numbers:, +302103216855 (Athens) and +30286031669, +302286033064 (Santorini)

Ancient Thira: on the mountain between Kamari and Perissa

Operating hours-days (during winter-October 15th, 2006 - March 31st, 2007): Monday: closed, Tuesday-Sunday: 08.30-15.00 Tickets: 2€ (reduced admission: 1€) Ancient Thira settlement was founded in the 9th century BC. by Dorian colonists whose leader was Thiras, and continued to be inhabited until the early Byzantine period. The preserved ruins belong to Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Megaron Gyzi: Fira, tel: +30286022244, fax: +30286022428

Operating hours-days: From May to September: Daily 10:30 - 13:30 and 17:00 - 20:00, Sundays 10:30 - 16:30, in October : Daily 10:00 - 16:00, Sundays 10:00 - 16:00 Megaron Gyzi, housed in an awesome old mansion, has exhibits of the 16th through the 19th century with traditional costumes, maps and photos of Santorini before the devastating earthquake of 1956 as well as old manuscripts from the catholic church.

Boutari Winery: Megalochori, tel: +302286081011, fax: +0302286081606

The famous Greek wine maker, Boutari, has created a winery, where visitors can attend the wine-making process and of course taste and buy wine. Here you can discover the secrets of the wine history in Santorini throughout a unique overview.

Oia Naval Museum: Ia, tel: +302286071156, fax: +302286071271

Housed in Ia, at the ruins of a Venetian fortress, the museum exhibits several historic maritime items including ancient naval artefacts and a great library.

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