Oia in Santorini: A journey in space and time

Kadio Kolymva

Armos 2002
A book review by Danny Yee © 2017 http://dannyreviews.com/
Oia in Santorini is a brief but engaging overview of the history and geography and culture of the settlement of Oia, on the island of Santorini in the Greek Cyclades. Oia is a hugely popular tourist destination, even more so now than when this was published fifteen years ago, but there is more to it than sunsets and caldera views.

Santorini was Venetian from 1204, then part of a Latin Duchy of the Aegean down to 1566, when it became Ottoman; it "became a province of the newly founded Greek State in 1827". Getting to Oia now involves a road journey from the port at Athinios, but its historical links are to the sea, through the now bypassed-by-the-ferry port at Armeni: it was a major shipping centre in the 19th century.

Along with the volcanic geology of the island, this history has left its traces in the geography and architecture of the town: the kapetanospita or sea captain's houses and the hyposkapha houses built into the rock, the desalination plant and the marbled main street and the maritime museum, and the distinct neighbourhoods and ports and beaches around Oia. Kolymva also touches on vine-growing and pressing, the celebration of marriages and Easter, and the proliferation of little churches.

Kolymva verges on the poetical but never overdoes that, and he doesn't go into too much detail. I recommend Oia in Santorini to anyone visiting Oia and not there just for the two hours of sunset (when there are effectively tidal flows of tourists along the main street): I wish I had read it before our stay there instead of afterwards.

September 2017

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%T Oia in Santorini
%S A journey in space and time
%A Kolymva, Kadio
%I Armos
%D 2002
%O paperback
%G ISBN 960527230X
%P 139pp