Island of Santorini

Thira (Greek: Θήρα, also – Fira, Santorin, Santorini) is the island of volcanic origin in the Aegean Sea, the part of the Cyclades group of islands. The area is 76 km², the coastline is 70 km. Thira, together with Therasia, Palea Kameni, Nea Kameni and Aspronisi, form the group of islands in the form of a ring, called Santorini (Santorin, Greek: Σαντορίνη), which gave the second name to the island itself.

The Venetian fortress in Oia
The ancient Venetian fortress perhaps is one of the most important attractions on the island of Santorini. It is located in the North-Western part of the island and is situated on the very edge of the cape, attracting attention of many tourists.

The fortress played the role of outlook in the old days. When pirate ships were approaching, the entire population of the island immediately knew about that. Nowadays the half-ruined fortress is no longer used as intended. It became one of the main tourist spots on the island.

It is constantly used as a viewing point; as magnificent views are opening from the fortress. One can view the fortress not only from the seaside, but also from the city side. In the evening, the construction becomes a real romantic centre. It is impossible to visit the island and not to see the beautiful sunset from the viewing point of the Venetian fortress.

The architecture and surroundings of the fortress are so attractive, that in due time that was the place where one of the scenes of the famous movie “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” had been filmed. Choice of the directors shows once again how picturesque are the attractions of the island of Santorini.
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“Kamari” black beach
Though the beaches of the island of Santorini are not tourist centres, this is where one can really relax. And a vivid example of that is “Kamari” black beach, which is a kind of legacy of the past associated with the volcano. This is not the only “black beach” on the island, but the best known is “Kamari”. In many respects, large size helped that part of the coast to become a place of interest.

A fine black sand is always under the feet of tourists. However, nothing will come of sprawling out on the beach – the sand is densely mixed with pebbles. And will you have time to sunbathe? Different water sports are practicing on the beach; they can take you a good part of time. More than that, a small village with the same name of Kamari has developed along the coast. Nowadays it is a kind of tourist beach centre. You can find everything in it, from shops and souvenirs to hotels, bars and other entertainment venues.

Though many tourists visit the beach, you can always find a quiet nook where you can really stay alone with nature. You can get to that wonderful place by direct bus from Thira – the capital of Santorini.
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Oia Mills
Many people consider that beautiful sunsets are a landmark of Oia city on the island of Santorini. In fact, this Northern corner of the island is so unique that there are several landmarks in its range at the same time. One of them are widely regarded Oia mills.

They appeared in XII-XIII centuries and their cost was not low. Building of one such construction was almost equal to the cost of a large sailing ship. Those towers couldn’t be built on any place of the island. The experts who determined the place of the strongest wind flow chose the construction site. Precise calculations also included the distance from settlements to the construction, access to pack animals and other factors that could influence the mill operation.

The windmills are placed throughout the city and overtop all houses of the city. It is interesting to note, that they are built in a single style, so they completely merge with the urban pattern and form an incredible architectural setting.

The best time to view Oia windmills is in the evening during sunset. Many tourists specially visit the city with cameras in order to photograph amazing shots.
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Oia City
Oia is the northernmost city on the island of Santorini. A small romantic place is also called other name: Ia. Since 2011 it has become a part of municipality of Santorini.

Though the city itself is a kind of the island tourist attraction, there are also many places worth visiting. That only is the Naval Museum or half-ruined castle known as “Fort Londsa”.

This romantic corner is just created for leisure and interesting time spending. It is characterized by narrow streets with lots of stairs, walls and blind alleys. You can find the old mills, arches and domes in it. Moreover, availability of small budget hotels allows absolutely everyone to stay in this beautiful corner on the brink of Santorini.

It is worth noting that most of the island visiting tourist photographs are the photographs from Oia. Especially expected of them are indescribable sunsets, that can be seen in the Western part of the city. Just there a magnificent view of the bay of Ammoudi opens. Many people also like to visit the Eastern part of the city – it also offers excellent view of the bay of Armenia, but without the sunsets.

Zest of paradise place is lack of vehicle traffic; it is prohibited in the city. You can travel by car only from the centre to the fishing port of Ammoudi. It is simply impossible to not to get to Oia visiting the island of Santorini.
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The Monastery of Prophet Elias
There are lots of attractions on the island of Santorini, they annually attract tourists. One of them is the Monastery of Prophet Elias. It is situated 4 km away from Pyrgos. The Monastery stands at an altitude of 586 meters above sea level on the highest point of the mountain of Prophet Elias. It was built in 1712, that’s why it is not only a tourist attraction, but also an architectural monument.

Immediately after construction, the monastery became a strong economic place, also playing political and cultural role on the island. During Ottoman domination there was an underground school in the monastery, it was teaching people Greek language and literature. Since 1860 the monastery gradually began to lose its influence. In 1956 there was a strong earthquake on the island, which severely damaged the building.

Nowadays the monastery is a museum of religious art. A large collection of icons and relics is worth noting among its treasures. It also has its own library with rare manuscripts and other valuable records.

While visiting the monastery you can also stay at the top of the mountain to enjoy fascinating landscapes of Santorini and other islands. And if the day is sunny and clear, the tourists will be able to see outlines of the Crete peak.
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