Santorini is full of history, from its famous caldera to the traditional Cycladic architecture that fills the island with many archeological sites and large churches.
Apart from the famous archeological sites, some of the most fascinating examples of the richly preserved history of Santorini are found in the many castles that still stand there. They represent different time periods and sometimes even different cultures.
Known as one of the oldest and most important archeological sites of the Aegean, Akrotiri is a notorious prehistoric settlement.
The following article refers to visitors who are interested in discovering the top historical sights in Santorini and touring the most historic trails. The experienced guides who undertake the excursions to the specific points will tell you in detail all the details and the conditions that were created.
1) Castle of Pyrgos
Pyrgos as a village in recent years receives a lot of tourist traffic as villages as Fira and Oia of Santorini. This is because the picturesqueness of this village combined with the panoramic view of the island and, of course, its castle makes it one of the top historical sites of Santorini.
To get to the castle of Pyrgos, you will probably need to rent a car or ATV. The Tower is not only inland, but is in an elevated position. The castle is located at the top of the hill with incredible views across the island.
The castle itself is a medieval construction built to protect and fortify the Tower. Therefore, it is not the typical image of a tall, towering castle, but an imposing walled structure. Near the castle walls are two 10th century churches. There is also a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary within the walls of the castle dating from the 17th century.
There is a service of Lamentations every year on Good Friday. The castle has seen many additions over the years, but its original history is well preserved, though not untouched. An earthquake in 1956 caused severe damage to many of the structures inside the castle. However, what stands out is impressive and the village of Pyrgos offers a charming visit.
2) Castle of Emporio
Emporio Castle is more than the kind of castle one would expect, including a tall Venetian tower from 1400. This tower is located on the west end of the castle. There are also two massive gullies connected to the castle by a tunnel.
This is one of the best preserved castles in Santorini and although it is not very well known it is one of the most beautiful historical sites of the island. It is rumored that it was built by the same monks who built the Monastery of Agios Ioannis the Theologian on Patmos. Inside the castle is a chapel dedicated to the martyr Christodoulos, who founded the abbey on Patmos.
The castle can only be reached on foot. You can leave your means of transport in the central square of the village and follow the path that starts from there and ends at the traditional settlement of Emporio.
The narrow alleys, the well-preserved houses and the traditional courtyards will take you to another era. As you approach the top of the castle the view of the beach of Perissa is amazing especially at sunset.
3) Castle of Agios Nikolas in Oia
The Castle of Agios Nikolaos in Oia is certainly not missing from history. It was built, after all, in 1400 to be inhabited by descendants of a Byzantine emperor. Occupied by Turkish invaders in 1500, it provided shelter against pirates and provided housing for Catholic churches and important nobles.
Nevertheless, the largest number of visitors do not visit it for its historical significance but for the unique view it offers during the sunset. The island of Santorini is known for one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world and the best place to watch it is none other than this castle in Oia of Santorini.
To approach the castle you can follow an easy hike from the beginning of the village crossing the well-known pedestrian street along the caldera. If you choose to visit the castle during the sunset you will meet thousands of tourists.
4) Visit Akrotiri Excavations
The buildings of Akrotiri are a unique example of impressive architecture. Located on the southern side of the island, between the village of Akrotiri and the famous Red Beach. Magnificent structures with carved facades housed communal services. Private houses included workshops and warehouses besides the rooms for the family.
The building materials came from the island itself or were imported from other areas. Stone from the quarries of Thira was the main building material. Pebbles and gravels were collected and used for walls and floors. Valuable timber from Crete was used for wooden frameworks in the walls providing antiseismic reinforcement. Slabs of plaster from Knossos quarries were placed on the floor over a layer of crushed purple shells.
As soon as you step foot on the archaeological site of Akrotiri you will be taken a back by the complexity of the structures.
5) Skaros Rock
Skaros Rock is a large rock cape on the island of Santorini in the Aegean. The formation was created through the volcanic activity of Santorini and has since been further shaped by erosion and earthquakes.
By the middle of the 16th century, Santorini had been the target of numerous raids by the Ottomans. The location of Skaros high on the rocks protected the city from invaders.
Skaros remained a prominent settlement until the Santorini volcano became active and began to erupt in 1650. This eruption caused several strong earthquakes that collapsed part of the city at sea.
The eruptions of the 18th century were particularly impressive, as they made most of the inhabitants of Skaros move to Fira or the nearby village of Imerovigli. The old Venetian fortress then fell into disuse and in the early 19th century consisted of only a few obsolete ruins.
The ruins of Skaros are today a popular destination for hiking and photography. The point is accessible through the nearby village of Imerovigli. A monastery, known as the Chapel of Panagia Theoskepasti, remains in use on the rocks below the characteristic rock.
Skaros is especially popular as a stopover between the famous hike between Fira and Oia. Nevertheless, we advise all visitors who are interested in discovering the top historical places of the island to include it in their list.
For lovers of history, Santorini should not be an indifferent destination. Their visit to the top historical places of the island will add a special experience to their trip. As all the above places offer a great view, we advise you to visit them at sunset. The atmosphere that is created is out of reality.