Greece Map | Home Page 1 of 2 | Page Down
Three thousand five hundred years ago a volcanic explosion caused the whole center of the circular island to sink into the sea.  Some believe the island is part of the lost continent of Atlantis.  Today Santorini  is a large crescent shaped island encompassing a vast bay some 6 miles across at it's widest point and 4 at the narrowest.  The volcanic islands of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni lie in the largest caldera in the world


The Caldera from The Rocka Imerovigli looking towards Oia

Looking from Oia  to Imerovigli, the highest point on the Caldera and along the cliff to Fira

The official name of the island is Thira  but it is known the world over as Santorini.  The name given to it by the Venetian crusaders in honour of Saint  Irene,  their patron.  It was they who built two castles to guard the Western entrance to the island, one sits atop this rock or Rocka.   A second at its base where the Venetian nobles and Catholic bishops lived.  Several castles were built by the islanders to ward off attacks by pirates but the Skaros built by the Venetian crusaders on The Rocka at Imerovigli were the most powerful .  The flag was raised on the Rocka in 1207

Rocca Bay Apts., Imerovigli

The airport cab dropped us off a few yards from the gate, this was our first sight of our home away from home on Santorini.   .   We arrived at 6.30 am  to a very warm welcome and found our rooms ready and waiting as promised

The barrel roofed apartments originally belonged to a sea captain and are immaculately maintained.   Located on the edge of the caldera at it's highest point,  from here there is a wonderful pathway skirting the edge of the cliff.  It is mostly lined with  hotels, apartments restaurants and shops

 That first morning, a low level mist floated on the ocean, rising above it in the distance we could see the Island of Crete.  It was sublimely peaceful,
the only sound, that of Vangelis playing the theme from Chariots Of Fire.  It  drifted quietly on the still morning air and will forever remind us of that perfect moment

We had two bedrooms, two bathrooms a living dining area and tiny kitchen for about $60US.  Just steps behind us was a small supermarket with all the staples.   Two minutes away is the bus stop into Fira.  We were thrilled with our choice

Imerovigli from the Rocka.  The row of white umbrellas on the  terrace of Rocca Bay can be seen in the top left.  

In the center is the church of  Panaghia Maltesa

The only disappointment to me as a photographer was the mass of heavy hydro cables strung across the middle of our view.   These cables are everywhere but are particularly obtrusive here.  I just had to try a little harder to compose my pictures without them

Pretty little house we passed on the way down to the Rocka


Our neighbour and her grandson cleaning fish
Imerovigli to Fira
White and Blue are the predominant colours of the island.   In Greek and many other ancient cultures the colour of the sky is thought to repel evil spirits.  Hence the abundance of blue church cupolas, doors windows, walls, staircases, fences and gates

There is no shortage of wonderful little churches & homes to photograph


There are no gardens along the caldera but many plants grow in containers

Conditions on Santorini are probably ideal for this cactus.  There is very little rain

One man's paradise

Row upon row of houses and hotels cling to the cliff all reached by narrow winding paths and staircases.  Getting around in the heat of mid day can be exhausting.  Best to sit under an umbrella, sip a glass of wine and get lost in the view

Italian restaurant in a windmill

The views along the path from Imerovigi to Fira are spectacular.  This may be Firostefani, it is hard to remember where one village ends and the next one begins

A favourite spot with  wedding photographers

Fira is situated 890' above the ocean.  Visitors arriving at the port of Skala have three choices.   Walk up the 566 winding steps, ride on the cable car or hire a mule.  A percentage of the profits from the cable car goes to owners of the mules

The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. Fira

  The sun on the water is real enough but I must confess the colour is a filter

Every evening we walked to a vantage point and waited for the renowned Santorini sunset but it was not to be.  The sun would begin to drop but long before it set, it disappeared behind a bank of cloud
We came across this wonderful exhibition of The frescoes of  Akrotiri at the exhibition held in the cellars of the Conference Center in Fira.  They are faithful recreations of the originals.  The process was discovered by Kodak and developed by the French company Transfer Relief.  The frescoes are chromatometricaly measured then photographed to produce high quality negatives.  After calibrating and developing the colour photographs the photographic emulsion is taken off.  The resulting gelatin of the image is naturally elastic and can be transferred to a reconstituted surface.  The result is remarkably realistic

The  gentleman selling tickets made our visit unforgettable.   He was very knowledgeable about Akrotiri, the frescoes and Greek history in general 


He enthusiastically explained their significance then sent us back again and again to 'observe'.  We were enchanted

Just as Blue was  used in ancient civilizations to  decorate  buildings to ward off evil, it was also common on special occasions like birthdays and the  initiation of adolescence  to  shave parts of their heads and  smear them with blue paint.  Although the mineral colours in the paintings were remarkably well preserved the colour green is absent.   The  organic egg and saffron used to create it evaporated in the intense heat.

This painting of a young fisherman is one of the most famous found on the site.  Another is of two boys boxing

Removed from the so called 'Captains House' this fresco is thought to depict a sea battle between the Minoans and Libyans


Pithi, large storage jars, some still containing traces of fish, oil and onion.

On the Southwest tip of the island is the remains of the Minoan city of Akrotiri.   Now covered by a protective modern roof it predate Christ by 1500 years. The whole site had been wonderfully preserved under a layer of volcanic ash for 3500 until its discovery in 1967.  No human remains have been found, so it is assumed the inhabitants had enough warning to make good their escape, 
Greece Map | Home Page 1 of 2 | Page Down