Skaros, the photogenic one…

By on July 9th    /    Culture, Cyclades, Islands, Photos, Tops Luxury & Tradition    /    0 Comments   /   show comments

Greek fishermen readers may wonder what I am going to write for this delicious fish of the Greek seas. But no. I do not plan to write about skaros, the fish (sparisoma cretense is its scientific name). I write for Skaros of Santorini, the medieval capital city of the island.

I was in Imerovigli for business. Late in the afternoon I was soaking in the pool of Astra Suites, staring at the volcanic rock, on which persistent walkers – who defied the hot sun – were trekking. Skaros

It is very difficult to imagine the rock as a capital city. And were the houses had been? For years, every time I came to Santorini the same question was turning into my head. Where was the houses of Skaros?


Σκάρος, Σαντορίνη


On this trip eventually I realized where they had been built, looking at an old lithography made by the traveller Fovel, showing how Skaros looked like during the 18th century. More than a hundred houses were crammed a bell-shaped red lava rock. An impregnable refuge, nest for seagulls and hawks not for people…

I kept reading on my balcony. With difficulty though. With much difficulty. A wedding procession was passing. It was a Korean couple who shouted and laughed wanting to be photographed in every corner of the caldera with Skaros’ monolith as a background. Laughter, jokes,  sweaty photographers and cameramen, wet wedding dresses and glasses with warm champagne…


Σκάρος, Σαντορίνη


Anyway Skaros today reminds nothing of the famous Upper Castle (Epano Kastro) fortified citadel, built in 1207  by the Venetian nobleman Giacomo Barrosi when he got Santorini island from Marco Sanudo. Barrosi had chosen an awesome location; pirates  fought for years to conquer the city and usually they broke their heads on the citadel’s walls and the frightening cliffs.

Earthquakes during the years 1650, 1701 and 1711 (and after 1866 till 1870) did in Skaros all that damage that the pirates did not. And so the Catholic families fled slowly during the 17th century to build Fira city, at a better location; flatter, safer and without rocks falling on their heads.

Skaros was finally abandoned during the 18th century. The houses literally evaporated, crumbled into stones that fell off the cliff. Today you can see traces them with tremendous difficulty. Only the tiny chapel of Agios Ioannis stands on the rock.

The newlyweds from Korea left and the neighborhood with the best hotels in Imerovigli, became quiet once again.

 Here are some images of Skaros that I took from my hotel.


Σκάρος, Σαντορίνη



Σκάρος, Σαντορίνη



Where am I?
…but in Santorini, the most famous travel destination in Greece! The quickest way to get here is by plane from Athens (and from a bunch of airports all around the world!).


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