Santorini and the village of Oia: an introduction
SHEILA'S FAVOURITE PLACES ON SANTORINI:
Laokasti Villas & Restaurant
Terpsi en Oia
σπηλια: Cave is Clothing
Earth Vibes N' Spirit
Akrotiri Archaeological Site
Nostos Music Shop
Books & Style
Museum of Prehistoric Thera
When travellers envision Greece, one of the first images that inevitably pop into their minds is that of the white-washed buildings and blue-domed churches in the picturesque village of Oia (pronounced EE-ah). Located at the northern tip of the crescent-shaped island of Santorini, one of the southernmost Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, Oia is known around the world for its spectacular sunset and its fascinating history.
Oia was a major hub for Hellenic sea merchants. Ships’ captains built their lavish Venetian homes at the top of the cliffs and spent their downtime there between trade trips to Alexandria, Russia and various European ports.
Known to the Greeks as Thira, the island of Santorini offers a wonderful backdrop for the village of Oia. Rising sharply out of the sea, the island curls around an ancient and still-active volcano that dwells below the deep waters of a caldera. While much of Greece struggles with the current financial crisis, Santorini continues to thrive thanks to a busy tourism industry, the production of exceptional wine and the harvesting of delicious local foods. Artists also flock to the island for the abundant inspiration.
The island is also steeped in rich folklore. Many locals and historians suggest that Thira is intimately linked to the lost island of Atlantis. At the height of the Minoan civilization, trade routes had been established between many Aegean islands, including Santorini. A relic of that age – the island’s ancient ruins at Akrotiri – shows that people were living in multi-level structures that featured indoor plumbing and other supposedly modern luxuries more than 3600 years ago. Remnants of that time were preserved when the volcano erupted violently and buried the town. The stark similarities between ancient Akrotiri and the rumoured lifestyle on Atlantis suggest that the two communities were at least trading partners. Some people have gone so far as to speculate that Santorini could be what’s left of Atlantis itself.
Excerpt taken from Sunsets in Oia by Sheila Busteed