Often touted as the most picturesque village on the Greek island of Santorini, Oia looks like a terraced wedding cake perched upon the island’s craggy northwestern edges.
With its stunning views of the caldera and surrounding islands, blue and white church domes, and lack of power lines to clutter its panoramas, Oia is a shutterbug’s paradise. Red, white and black volcanic rock decorate curvy footpaths, and there are other delightful elements: whitewashed windmills, fuchsia bougainvillea blooms trailing on buildings, and the occasional mural or quirky shop decoration to inject a bit of whimsy.
Oia was most prosperous in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thanks to its merchant fleet, which engaged in trade in the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly from Alexandria to Russia.
The 1956 earthquake destroyed part of the village causing many residents to leave. In the 1980s, Oia witnessed a rebirth of sorts, with many villagers returning, and sensitive restoration taking place.
Prominent sites include Oia’s Fort Londsa, which is a ruined castle that plays host to the throngs of visitors that come to see the village’s legendary sunset. You can also still see Oia’s two-story captains’ mansions which were constructed on the highest part of the village in the 19th century.
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Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.