Sunday, September 24, 2017

Architecture of Santorini

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The traditional architecture of Santorini is similar to that of the other Cyclades, with low-lying cubical houses, made of local stone and whitewashed or limewashed with various volcanic ashes used as colours. The unique characteristic is the common utilisation of the hypóskapha: extensions of houses dug sideways or downwards into the surrounding pumice. These rooms are prized because of the high insulation provided by the air-filled pumice, and are used as living quarters of unique coolness in the summer and warmth in the winter. These are premium storage space for produce, especially for wine cellaring: the Kánava wineries of Santorini.

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Churches and Monasteries in Santorini

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It is estimated that 600 churches and country churches were built on the island -most of them after the 1956 earthquake.
Most of them are characterized by folk architecture of a unique style. Big all-white surfaces in the form of cubes, parallelograms, octagonal prisms, spheres, and cylinders dominate. There are no architectural ornaments, while openings are few and small. However, there are also several big churches built in the end of the 19th century. Typical examples include Panagia (Virgin Mary) of Bellonias in Fira and Aghios Georgios (Saint George) in Oia, before the earthquake. They are based on Byzantine and Classical Greek architectural standards.

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Books about Santorini

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The Cyclades- John Freely
Editions: I.B. Tauris Publishers
New York traveller John Freely compares the Cyclades to star dotted around the island of Delos- their mystical centre. In this wonderful book he trace the history, traditions and particular character of each island.

Oia in Santorini  - A Journey in Space and Time by Kadio Kolymva

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Festivals and Events in Santorini

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Santorini hosts a number of cultural, musical and religious festivals. The most prominent Santorini festivals are:
- The Santorini Jazz Festival in Kamari, some 10 km  from Fira, which lasts for three days in July and includes performance by both Greek and international musicians - something not to be missed under any circumstances.

-The "Ifaisteia" Festival, which takes place in August and includes various cultural events, music concerts, traditional dance performances and representation of a volcanic explosion with fireworks.

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Museums of Santorini

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Museums of international importance are the pride and joy of the cultural heritage of the island. In pole position stands the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, one of the most important museums in Greece. The town of Akrotíri and findings from it (bronze utensils, tools and weapons, plaster casts of wooden furniture, Linear A boards) are on display for visitors who would like to get a feel of what life was like in the prehistoric settlement just before its devastation by the volcanic eruption. Take the opportunity to see the three-dimensional images of the frescoes of Akrotiri, housed in the Congress Centre “Petros M. Nomikos”.

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