Photos of The Picturesque Villages of Thira, Santorini, Greece
Pictures, Images & Photos of Romantic Volcanic Island of Santorini, Greece.
Pictures, Images & Photos of Santorini Island and its dramatic volcanic crater & whitewashed villages & churches. High on any travel "must see" list of European destinations has to be the Greek Cyclades Island of Santorini and in particular the town of Oia. With good reason Oia is one of the most visited destinations in Greece. It has a captivating charm that combined with boutique hotels make it an obvious destination for the discerning traveler and those looking for a romantic destination to get married in.
Santorini Islands are located in the Aegean Sea about 200KM (120 miles) from the Greek mainland. They are the remnants of an old Volcanic island that exploded with such force about 3,600 years that the fall out probably caused the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the nearby island of Crete. Santorini is a crescent shaped archipelago of islands surrounding a central caldera. The largest island of Thira, next Therasia and the smallest Aspronisi. These surrounds a huge central lagoon about 12 x 7 km across with a small volcanic island, Nea Kameni, in the middle which has been dormant since 1950. The natural harbour of the caldera has high steep cliffs that rise out of the sea to create a natural defense for the island and a safe haven for shipping. High above the sea on the cliff tops are some of the most picturesque villages in Greece & Europe.
The Greeks have been clever with the development on Santorini and new buildings are made in the traditional Santorini style. This is so successful that often it is difficult to tell if a building is old or new.
The most famous town is of Santorini is Oia. It is at one end of the crescent shaped Thira Island at the point where there is a break in the archipelago between Thira and Therasia. The early inhabitants of Oia used the cliffs to good advantage to make cave dwellings in the soft volcanic rock. These stayed cool in the summer and warm in the winter and set high above the sea were hidden from the Saracen pirates that plundered the Mediterranean coast and islands for hundreds of years in the middle ages. In more peaceful times the buildings of Oia were extended outside the cliffs dwellings and a simple low square style of building developed with arched vaulted roofs. These are painted white to reflect the heat of the sun and hang precariously on the high cliffs shining out against dramatic black volcanic rock. Oia's buildings are linked by a maze of narrow lanes and steps just big enough for a donkey to carry goods up and down the village.
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